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Ashes Hero Matthew Hoggard signs up for 2008 Hong Kong Cricket Sixes

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Ashes hero Matthew Hoggard has become the latest big name player to sign up for the Hong Kong Cricket Sixes. The England fast bowler has been named in the All-Stars team for the showpiece at Kowloon Cricket Club on 8-9 November.

He will be part of a squad that already boasts test greats Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Justin Langer and Stephen Fleming.

“It will be an honour teaming up with such world class players as Shiv, Justin and Stephen for what promises to be a great tournament,” said Hoggard, 31. “We’re going to enjoy ourselves and have plenty of fun, but at the same time we’ll be deadly serious about trying to win the tournament. The All-Stars were runners up in 2007 and we’d like nothing more than to improve on that and lift the trophy this year.”

Hoggard has played 67 tests for England, capturing 248 wickets, and played a key role in the team’s memorable Ashes series victory over Australia in 2005.

He was named Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 2006 and made his county debut for Yorkshire 12 years ago.

“Matthew is one of the most recognisable players in world cricket and we are delighted he will be appearing at the Sixes for the first time this year,” said Sixes tournament director Mark Burns. “He is an outstanding fast bowler and will be the perfect complement to the All-Stars’ powerful batting line-up. I’m certain Hong Kong fans are going to enjoy watching him.”

In the draw for the 2008 Sixes held at the Kowloon Cricket Club last week, arch-rivals India and Pakistan were paired in the same group, setting the stage for a thrilling showdown on day one of the tournament.

The two Asian giants are joined in the Bradman Group by four-time Sixes champions England and 2006 winners South Africa.

The Sobers Group will feature the All-Stars, defending champions Sri Lanka, Australia and hosts Hong Kong.

“Naturally, there will be plenty of excitement and anticipation surrounding the India-Pakistan game, but England and South Africa are both sending strong squads so we can expect some fantastic battles in that group,” said Burns. “In the Sobers Group, Hong Kong have been handed a dream match-up against the All-Stars and I’m sure the players are already looking forward to the challenge.”

South Africa will be captained by Tyron Henderson, whose bowling and batting heroics inspired Middlesex to victory over Kent in the final of English county cricket’s Twenty20 Cup in July.

England have chosen a powerful team that includes explosive Essex batsman Graham Napier, who hammered an astonishing 152 – including a world record 16 sixes – in a Twenty20 game against Sussex in June.

Sri Lanka beat the 2007 All-Stars by 16 runs in last year’s pulsating final – their maiden victory in 11 visits to the Sixes.

Tickets for the 2008 Sixes – priced at HK$780 for adults and HK$450 for children – went on sale to the public on Friday, 10 October.

Fans in Hong Kong will also be able to watch the Sixes on now tv (channels 634 and 678, broadcasting from 08:30 to 17:15 each day) and, in a first for the tournament, commentary will be available in Cantonese.

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