Mind Your Head: The Hong Kong Sixes returns on Nov. 6-7

By Ranajit S. Dam

The games may be short at the Hong Kong Cricket Sixes, but the hitting will most certainly be big.

A format that has been injecting thrill into cricket long before anyone had even thought of Twenty20, Sixes features five-over innings, short boundaries, lollipop bowling and – unsurprisingly, given its name – a large number of hits over the fence.

Of the numerous Sixes tournaments held around the globe annually, the Hong Kong Cricket Sixes is the tournament that attracts the most amount of attention, and largest number of bona fide cricket stars.

This year’s tournament, to be held at the Kowloon Cricket Club on November 6 and 7, will feature internationals like New Zealand’s Scott Styris and Nathan McCullum, Pakistan’s Shoaib Malik, Imran Nazir and Shabbir Ahmed, and the legendary Indian spinner Anil Kumble.

Star power is hardly new to the tournament, though. Previous editions have been graced by players of the caliber of Viv Richards, Andrew Flintoff, Sachin Tendulkar, Steve and Mark Waugh brothers, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Adam Gilchrist, Jonty Rhodes and Wasim Akram.

Some of them took part in the event while they were young and unknown. This year’s tournament could similarly feature future stars from among the likes of Rory Hamilton-Brown and Jos Buttler of England, and IPL regulars Ambati Rayudu and B. Akhil of India.

England have been drawn in the tougher of the two pool in this year’s competition, the other teams being Australia and 2009 finalists South Africa and Hong Kong.

Despite their lack of cricketing pedigree, Hong Kong are a dangerous side when it comes to this tiny format, boasting inventive hitters and canny bowlers, not to mention raucous home support.

The second group consists of New Zealand Sri Lanka, Anil Kumble’s India, and four-time winners Pakistan.

The Chinese national cricket team will also make an appearance, although they won’t be participating. China will play a game against a Hong Kong development team at around noon on Nov. 7.

Aside from the hitting, the biggest draw of the Hong Kong Cricket Sixes is the atmosphere, which, while not getting as manic as the Rugby Sevens, allows for a great weekend out with family and friends. However, with the ball flying about all the time, just remember to mind your head.

For ticket information, visit http://www.cricket.com.hk/db/ARCHIVE/2010-11/OTHERS/HKG_LOCAL/HKSIXES2010-TICKETS.html

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