Reeve reduces 'chance' factor
DERMOT Reeve served his own writ of notice that England are in the right frame of mind to notch up a hat-trick of titles on the eve of the fourth Cathay Pacific/Wharf Holdings International Sixes yesterday.
'At the moment, all I want to concentrate on is winning the tournament. It will be a nice headache to have to decide what to do with the gold diamond bat later,' said Reeve, captain of the England team, who are aiming for their third straight win.
'We have a very well balanced side which I'm confident will do well,' added Reeve, who along with Neil Fairbrother, Gladstone Small and Philip DeFreitas played at last year's tournament.
The Hong Kong-born Reeve was caught in a pensive mood yesterday at the Kowloon Cricket Club soon after being served a High Court writ - the result of a lawsuit brought by a local cricket fan who was injured in an incident involving Reeve on New Year's Day last year.
Commenting on the writ served him, Reeve said: 'Accidents do happen in cricket grounds. I don't want to think about this incident until after the weekend.' Accidents may happen in cricket. But going on past results, England leave very little room for chance occurrences at the Hong Kong Sixes, having reduced the tournament to a fine art-form, complete with strategy and subtlety.
Most of the other captains present at yesterday's tournament-eve press conference - Richie Richardson of the West Indies, Michael Slater of Australia and Mohammed Azharuddin of India - were of a similar mind that at this type of game anything can happen.
Call it luck, chance or accident. But these words come very rarely into Reeve's vocabulary. The Warwickshire hero is more comfortable adopting a thinking man's posture.
'Whatever the length of the game, there are certain strategies one can use,' said Reeve.
But anyone hoping to learn the truth as to why England have been the most successful side at this tournament, will have to wait in vain.
The only wisdom that Reeve imparted was: 'It mostly depends on the styles of bowling and the field placings. I'm not going to tell you what our winning formula is.' This formula has brought England to the brink of wresting away a 2.46-kilogram gold-encrusted bat with a total of 4007 diamonds, sapphires, rubies and emeralds valued at US$100,000 which the organisers will offer to the first team who win the Cup competition in three successive years.
They will face Australia and New Zealand in the preliminary round today in the nine-team competition. The top two teams in each of the three groups will advance into the Cup competition tomorrow.
The West Indies are currently left with only five players after Carl Hooper failed to join the rest of his teammates. Organisers are hoping that Phil Simmons will be able to join the side from India.
Off the field, both organisers and the Hong Kong Cricket Association will cross their fingers that their respective guests, David Richards, the chief executive officer of the ICC, and an official delegation from China will be suitably impressed by the Sixes.
Reeve's England team, meanwhile, are certain to be impressive.
'I'm sure all the sides have improved a little more this time around. But we are confident of doing well . . . maybe we will split the bat up 21 ways,' said Reeve.
Hong Kong, who have always won one match at the previous tournaments, achieved this yesterday in a practice game against Holland.
Batting first, the territory piled on 71 for the loss of two wickets before bowling out the Dutch.
The territory have beaten Pakistan (1992), the West Indies (1993) and Pakistan (1994).