Jamie Atkinson has stepped down as Hong Kong captain after his team's eight-wicket win over Namibia in a one-dayer on May 17. Fast-bowling allrounder Tanwir Afzal was named Atkinson's temporary replacement for the remainder of the Namibia tour and he led the side in their 59-run win in the first T20, in which Atkinson made an unbeaten 37-ball 64.
Wicketkeeper batsman Atkinson, 24, had made history as the first person born in the 1990s to play ODI cricket when he made his debut against Pakistan in the 2008 Asia Cup at age 17.
He cited a slump in his form over the past few series as the main reason for stepping down. "It has been a pleasure to lead this side over the last three and a half years and the win over Bangladesh in their own backyard and gaining ODI status were the biggest highlights of my term as captain," Atkinson said. "It is a tough job and it has taken its toll on me. My performances over the last few series haven't been the standard I set for myself or the team. I think it's the perfect time to have a fresh outlook with a new captain."
"I'm looking forward to supporting the incoming captain and to helping the team with my performances as a top-order batsmen and keeper as well as supporting the younger guys coming into the team which will help the incoming captain."
Hong Kong Cricket Association Director of Cricket and Head Coach Charlie Burke praised Atkinson for his contribution as captain and player. "I would go as far to say he probably is the most successful Hong Kong captain by gaining ODI status, qualifying for a World T20 and playing off for bronze in the 2014 Asian Games," Burke said. "I will never forget his leadership against Bangladesh in the World T20 and the way he put so much faith and belief in his bowlers.
HKCA are expected to announce a permanent successor to Atkinson shortly.