Kumble to headline India team for 2009 Hong Kong Cricket Sixes
The Hong Kong Cricket Sixes will welcome one of the sport's biggest names to its annual carnival of elite cricket, when Anil Kumble plays for traditional crowd favourites India at the Kowloon Cricket Club from October 31-November 1.
First played in 1992, the Hong Kong Cricket Sixes is the longest-running international tournament of its kind and will this year celebrate its 15th edition. As such, the Sixes has been included by the International Cricket Council (ICC) as a 'Catch the Spirit' event to celebrate the global governing body's centenary celebrations.
Kumble, India's leading wicket taker in both Test and one-day cricket, is one of the legends of the international game. Ranked third amongst all-time Test wicket-takers with 619 dismissals, the 38-year-old leg-spinner is also an inspirational captain. Under his leadership, the Royal Challengers Bangalore reached the IPL final in 2009.
Kumble, who played at the Sixes two years ago, said: "I am looking forward to returning to Hong Kong for one of the most exciting sporting events in the world. I had a great time in 2007 and to play here once again is very exciting for me."
The 2009 Hong Kong Cricket Sixes will feature a new pool system with teams grouped into a Northern Hemisphere Pool and a Southern Hemisphere Pool of four teams each. The Northern Hemisphere will feature defending champions England alongside India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan, while the Southern Hemisphere will include Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and hosts Hong Kong.
Playmore, a Hong Kong-based sports apparel brand, will outfit the eight squads in dynamic new team kits, while the event has once again received the coveted 'M Mark' status from the Hong Kong Government denoting its status as a 'Major Event' for the city.
Captain Shahzada Saleem Ahmed, President of the Hong Kong Cricket Association, commented: "The Hong Kong Cricket Sixes is one of cricket's most exciting tournaments, something that the ICC has acknowledged with our participation in its 'Catch The Spirit' celebrations in 2009.
"This year, we are confident of seeing another extremely competitive Hong Kong Cricket Sixes and are delighted to announce that that the first step in that process is Anil Kumble returning to Hong Kong, where he was incredibly popular in 2007," said Captain Saleem.
Ticket prices have also been revised in 2009, allowing fans to purchase two-day passes for $HK680 for adults, a 13 per cent discount over last year, while children's tickets will be available for $380, a reduction of 15 per cent.
To give spectators greater flexibility, for the first time single-day passes will also be available at $HK300 (Saturday)/$470 (Sunday) for adults and $180 (Saturday/$220 (Sunday) for kids. Tickets will go on sale on Wednesday September 23 through HK Ticketing, the Kowloon and Hong Kong Cricket Clubs and Dot Cod restaurant in Central.
Added Dinesh Tandon, Chairman of the Hong Kong Cricket Association: "The Hong Kong Cricket Sixes is a great Hong Kong event and we have received excellent support from the local corporate community. Our corporate boxes are almost sold out and we have a group of exciting new sponsors in 2009.
"This year, we are also focused on having even more involvement from crowds through more competitions and through the involvement of and interaction with the players, further increasing the entertainment value of this fun event," said Tandon.
The host broadcaster for the 2009 Hong Kong Cricket Sixes will again be Taj TV-owned Ten Sports from Dubai, who will provide a live broadcast of the entire event into Hong Kong, the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Australia and South Africa.
Additional coverage will also be seen in North America, the United Kingdom, Europe and China. The 2008 Sixes was broadcast to 80 million households worldwide.
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About the Hong Kong Cricket Sixes
In 2009, the Sixes has been selected as an ICC Centenary Celebration World Event and will feature a special ceremony to honour 100 years of the International Cricket Council and the Spirit of Cricket.
Six-a-side cricket is the quickest, most fun-filled version of the game - a feast of world-class players, thrilling matches and big hits.
First played in 1992, the Hong Kong Cricket Sixes is the longest-running and highest-profile Sixes tournament in the world. It offers two days of fast and furious action in a festival atmosphere - eight international teams, 45-minute clashes and global television coverage.
Stars who have taken part include Brian Lara, Sachin Tendulkar, Javed Miandad, Steve and Mark Waugh, Viv Richards, Andrew Flintoff, Shane Warne, Anil Kumble, Adam Gilchrist, Wasim Akram, MS Dhoni and Sanath Jayasuriya.
The Sixes won the prestigious 2007 ICC Award for Best Cricket Promotional and Marketing Award.
England recorded a record fifth Sixes title last year after a stunning final in which they finished tied with Australia on 121 runs. When Australian batsman Stephen O'Keefe was run out attempting a second run from the final delivery that would have given his team victory, England were confirmed victors as they had lost fewer wickets (three wickets to one).
In a nod to the Hong Kong Cricket Sixes reputation for being a breeding ground of young talent, amongst the leading scorers in the final was Jonathan Trott, who scored a century on debut in England's Ashes win last month, along with Australia's Twenty20 opening bat wunderkind David Warner.
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