After the greatest finish in Hong Kong Cricket Sixes history, planning for the 2009 tournament is already underway and Australian legend Justin
Langer has marked it in his dairy.
“I’d love to come back next year, I’m just waiting for the invitation!” said Langer, a member of the All-Stars team that proved such a hit with fans.
“It’s a fantastic concept – there’s a lot of excitement, the crowd get into it and the players really enjoy it. It’s been a brilliant weekend. And the
hospitality in Hong Kong has been amazing.”
Fellow All-Star Matthew Hoggard agreed. “I’ve enjoyed every moment of it – just an awesome weekend,” said the England fast bowler.
“Hong Kong has a niche. It’s the only big six-a-side tournament in world cricket. An exciting event, a superb venue, the people have been great –
it all adds up to a fantastic occasion.”
The two-day tournament, held from 8-9 November at the Kowloon Cricket Club, provided non-stop entertainment for those in the ground and the
tens of millions of cricket fans around the world who watched it live on TV thanks to a global distribution deal with Ten Sports.
The All-Stars – featuring Langer, Hoggard, West Indies ace Shivnarine Chanderpaul, South African allrounder Tyron Henderson, former New
Zealand captain Stephen Fleming and Sri Lankan duo Sanath Jayasuriya and Chaminda Vaas – proved massively popular with cricket fans.
They also played their part in promoting cricket in Hong Kong by visiting a school for a cricket lesson with youngsters and travelling to Mission
Road Cricket Ground and Hong Kong Cricket Club to conduct coaching clinics for promising young players, both boys and girls.
In the tournament itself, home team Hong Kong pulled off two stunning victories over the All-Stars and defending champions Sri Lanka and
wound up fourth – their best ever finish in the Sixes.
Pakistan carried off the Plate after a thrilling final against the All-Stars that went down to the last delivery.
And then England and Australia staged the greatest Cup final in the tournament’s 17-year history, England winning on fewer wickets conceded
after a last-ball runout of Australian batsman Stephen O’Keefe left the scores tied.
Tournament director Mark Burns hailed the 2008 Sixes as a huge success in the wake of a financial recession that left the tournament without a
title sponsor, causing the Hong Kong Cricket Association to underwrite the event.
“It's been a difficult sponsorship market to operate in this year considering the global financial situation,” he said.
“But the HKCA and the Government made the decision to invest in Hong Kong cricket's showpiece tournament and that decision was totally
vindicated by the thrilling events at the weekend.”
Sixes organisers were buoyed by a strong turnout from Hong Kong’s cricket fans. “With 10% more public seating available this year,
ground capacity was just over 4,000 and we estimate that on Sunday afternoon we had about 3,800 people watching,” said Burns.
The Sixes was shown live on NOW TV in Hong Kong and, for the first time, had Cantonese commentary.
“It was a fantastic tournament, perhaps the most memorable yet and capped by the greatest finish ever, and the feedback from everybody –
players, fans, sponsors and officials – about this year's Sixes is extremely positive,” added Burns.
“Obviously, securing a title sponsor for next year and beyond is the priority and we do have some interested parties we are speaking with.
“Given the support of strong corporate and ticket sales, the incredible excitement and quality of play on the field during the 2008 tournament
and the global audience of over 100 million for the event, we are very optimistic looking ahead to the 2009 Sixes.”
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