CROFT LEADS ENGLAND’S HAT-TRICK BID IN CATHAY PACIFIC STANDARD CHARTERED HONG KONG INTERNATIONAL CRICKET SIXES
| Robert Croft will lead England's quest for a hat-trick of Sixes titles © Getty Images
Hong Kong, September 27: Robert Croft will captain the defending champions at this year’s Cathay Pacific/Standard Chartered Hong Kong International Cricket Sixes as a powerful England team aim to continue riding the victory wave.
Croft, a veteran of 21 Test matches, will spearhead his country’s bid for a third successive triumph at the Kowloon Cricket Club on October 22-23 in the 11th edition of the world’s premier Sixes event.
Man-of-the-match in the defeat of Pakistan in the 2003 final, Croft will be determined to maintain England’s proud recent record in the Hong Kong showpiece that this year boasts record prize money of US$280,000, with the winners receiving US$100,000.
English cricket is on a high following the country’s dramatic 2-1 series triumph over Australia to regain the Ashes earlier this month. And with David Graveney, chairman of the England selectors, again managing the team in Hong Kong, they are sure to set out as favourites.
Joining Croft in a seven-strong squad brimming with experience and talent will be three members of last year's victorious team – Kabir Ali, Darren Maddy and Dimitri Mascarenhas.
Completing the power-packed line-up are paceman Alex Wharf, a one-day international player, and Dominic Cork and Chris Read, both of whom have represented England in Test matches.
Clive Howard, Chairman of the Hong Kong Cricket Association (HKCA), said: "It's a tremendous team that England have put together and is a clear indication of how seriously they want to win the tournament.
"I'm sure the fans will enjoy seeing so many big-name stars in action in this thrilling form of cricket.
"The strength of the England team underlines the status of the Cathay Pacific/Standard Chartered Hong Kong International Cricket Sixes as the outstanding event of its kind in the world."
England, who have been drawn in Pool 1, will commence their title defence against Hong Kong on the Saturday morning (October 22) before facing Sri Lanka, the team they beat in last year’s final, in the early afternoon.
They will complete their Pool matches against Ashes rivals Australia in the penultimate clash of what promises to be a memorable opening day.
Pool 2 is made up of four-time champions Pakistan, India, South Africa and West Indies, returning to the Sixes for the first time since 1997.
In all, England have won the tournament on four occasions – 1993, 1994, 2003 and 2004. That feat is matched by Pakistan, while South Africa (1995) and West Indies (1996) are the only other countries to have savoured success in the Sixes.
The all-action short form version of the game has been thrilling the SAR crowds since its inception in 1992 and HKCA officials are confident that this year will be the best yet.
Tickets for next month’s Cathay Pacific/Standard Chartered Hong Kong International Cricket Sixes are now available. Two-day ticket prices have been set at HK$300 for adults and HK$150 for children aged 15 and under.
Games are played in five-over innings, with each team member, other than the wicketkeeper, bowling one over. The eight competing teams are split into two groups of four and will play each other on a round-robin basis on day one.
The top two teams in each pool will progress to the Cup competition knockout stages, while the bottom two teams in each of the pools will compete for the Plate.
ENGLAND SQUAD: Kabir Ali, Dominic Cork, Robert Croft (captain), Darren Maddy, Dimitri Mascarenhas, Chris Read, Alex Wharf. Manager: David Graveney.
The 2005 Cathay Pacific/Standard Chartered Hong Kong International Cricket Sixes will take place at Kowloon Cricket Club, 10 Cox’s Road, Kowloon on October 22-23. Two-day passes cost HK$300 for adults and HK$150 for children aged 15 and under, and are on sale through Cityline at (www.cityline.com) as well as at the following outlets: Hong Kong Cricket Club (137 Wong Nai Chung Gap Road, Happy Valley, 2574 6266); Kowloon Cricket Club (10 Cox’s Road, Jordan, 2367 4141); Dot Cod Seafood Restaurant & Oyster Bar (Prince’s Building, Central 2810 6988). Further ticket information is available at the Hong Kong Cricket Association website www.hkca.cricket.org
Provided by the Hong Kong Cricket Association. For further information, please contact Dave Poon or Danny Lai at (852) 2504-8101.