By Hans Ebert

The news that Tim Cutler will vacate his role as CEO of CricketHK as soon as the end of this month has surprised many, especially those overseas, whereas in Hong Kong, it’s been taken in stride and without any “padding up”. Hong Kong is a strange place when it comes to secrets and trying to keep a lid on things. Somewhere, somehow, a bird chirps and soon there’s a murder of crows.

As the first CEO of CricketHK, Tim Cutler had a blank canvas to work with, and no one and nothing with whom to be compared. In other words, whatever he did would be better than anything that had come before because everything was starting from scratch. And judging by the amount of good English press garnered, Hong Kong cricket has arrived on the world stage. This happened under Cutler’s watch and he is rightfully being applauded for his efforts.

What became a bit of a talking point was the constant trumpeting of online views- apparently over 11 million- and the amount of streaming of the recent T20 Blitz matches sponsored by a little known company called DTC.

With sometimes no comments on YouTube despite over 10,000 views, there were the occasional harsh comments about the size of the pitch and full tossers being lobbed by amateur players to world class names who easily struck these for sixes. These online figures have also been the subject of talk amongst other sporting officials and media watchers. Why? Because those are some amazing numbers- if correct- and from overseas, mainly from the cricket mad sub-continent.

How do these numbers stack up when compared to the actual attendance figures in Hong Kong? Don’t really know as these are hardly mentioned. Did the sponsors, who must have paid some huge dollars to bring out all those world famous names in cricket receive a return on their investment? Or were they happy to take a loss as their financial support was based purely on the love of the game? More radio silence.

Having met Tim Cutler several times, and always happy to offer him support and advice on how the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Charities Trust were interested in supporting cricket by offering CricketHK the grounds it so desperately needs, but only IF it could help bring together ethnic minority groups with Hong Kong Chinese through the sport, he seems a nice enough guy. Dedicated and passionate about the sport and excited about what cricket might be able to do for Hong Kong. Did anything materialise with the HKJC? Were there any presentations and were they strategic and persuasive enough? Only The Shadow knows.

After almost ten meetings with Cutler, and reminding myself that there’s no such thing as a free lunch, I moved on. Below was my last piece on the subject.

IS CRICKET HONG KONG BEING HONG KONG ENOUGH?
http://www.fasttrack.hk/93312/is-cricket-hong-kong-being-hong-kong-enough/

And now we’ve come to this and lots of twittering going on, where else, but on social media. Tim Cutler seems happy to send out almost coy tweets about his future plans whereas CricketHK adopts a Silence Of The Lambs attitude.

Is there a new CEO for CricketHK waiting in the wings? Who’s the “big sponsor” mentioned in one recent tweet ready to support the next T20 Blitz? Will there even be another T20 Blitz? What’s the status of the Hong Kong Sixes? Who’s going to move forward what has already been started? Will they have the right team behind them and with a tail that can wag? As CEO, did Tim Cutler have the right team behind him, or was it just a title with little or no backup to help him lead on the front foot?

Though wishing both parties well in their future endeavours, there are those in Hong Kong who would still like some clarity as to what happened. Really happened. Why the sudden departure after what looked like a great portfolio of successes under the leadership of Cutler and acknowledged by everyone…including CricketHK?

For cricket in Hong Kong, it’s a very strange and untimely Adieu. With the future of CricketHK being IN Hong Kong, and all about how the sport can benefit Hong Kong, some simple answers to those earlier questions would be nice. The more radio silence, the more those murder of crows start flapping.