HOW THEY SHAPE UP
PAKISTAN Wasim Akram (c) Waqar Younis Javed Miandad Inzamam-ul-Haq Basit Ali Mushtaq Ahmed THE sheer pace and class of Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram will make life hard for all opposing batsmen in at least two of the five overs bowled by the defending champions, more than enough time to turn the match in their favour.
But the Pakistanis' most dangerous player could well be Inzamam-ul-Haq, who is making his Sixes debut. A brutal middle-order batsman, his colossal frame will be able to dispatch the ball to various areas of Tsim Sha Tsui. And the leg-spin of Mushtaq Ahmedwill keep the batsmen thinking and moving.
WEST INDIES Richie Richardson (c) Viv Richards Courtney Walsh Anderson Cummins Keith Arthurton Desmond Haynes WITH a batting lineup led by the world's number one batsman, Desmond Haynes, followed by captain Richie Richardson, Viv Richards and Keith Arthurton, the West Indies look much stronger and more resilient this time.
Their bowling attack will be spearheaded by pacemen Courtney Walsh and Anderson Cummins but will miss the off-spin of Kent's Carl Hooper, who had to pull out because his wife has been taken ill. Bowling and fielding hold the key as no target will be beyond them. Their stroke-making will be spell-binding.
AUSTRALIA Ian Healy (c) Mark Waugh Jamie Siddons Damien Martyn Matthew Hayden Tony Dodemaide SELECTED by the Australian Cricket Board, the Aussies will be looking to make amends for their disappointing performances last year, when they were represented by an unofficial team of former Test stars.
Now led by Test match wicketkeeper Ian Healy, tipped as the successor to Allan Border in the international arena, the all-round skills of Mark Waugh, Tony Dodemaide, Jamie Siddons, Matthew Hayden and Damien Martyn make them a force to be reckoned with. For sure, the Aussies mean business.
INDIA Mohammed Azharuddin (c) Manoj Prabhakar Sachin Tendulkar Javagal Srinath Vinod Kambli Anil Kumble Ravi Shastri BEATEN finalists last year, India are capable of going all the way this time with a wonderful array of talent.
Ravi Shastri returns, not as captain but under the captaincy of Mohammed Azharuddin, to provide his elegant left-arm slow-bowling and blistering stroke-play, while all-rounder Manoj Prabhakar and Javagal Srinath have pace and control. The spin of Anil Kumble and the precocious batting of Sachin Tendulkar and Vinod Kambli, not forgetting Azharuddin, of course, gives them more options than they can use.
NEW ZEALAND Ken Rutherford (c) Shane Thompson Rod Latham Dion Nash Chris Pringle Chris Cairns Simon Doull THE late withdrawal of captain Martin Crowe with a virus was a terrible blow for the Kiwis, seeded fifth and representing the official body, New Zealand Cricket Incorporated.
Vice-captain Ken Rutherford takes over as skipper and his experience of last year's tournament will be invaluable as he prepares the side for group games against West Indies and South Africa. Rod Latham and Dion Nash were here last year, but watch out forsome explosive hitting from Chris Cairns, one of four new faces in the side from last season.
SRI LANKA Arjuna Ranatunga (c) Aravinda de Silva Asanka Gurusinghe Ruwan Kalpage Dulip Liyanage Romesh Kaluwitharane Sanath Jayasuriya TIPPED as an outside bet to win last year's event, on the strength that six-a-side cricket should suit their cavalier style, Sri Lanka failed to do themselves justice on the opening day and dropped into the Plate, which they promptly won the next day.
Found it difficult to contain the runs early on but grew in confidence and saved their best to last, overhauling Zimbabwe's 67 for three in the Plate final without losing a wicket in only 3.2 overs. Possess natural attacking stroke-makers but need more discipline in the field.
ENGLAND Graham Gooch (c) Phillip DeFreitas Neil Fairbrother John Emburey Dermot Reeve John Stephenson Gladstone Small WINTER tour calls deprived Graham Gooch's unofficial England side of batting star Matthew Maynard and all-rounder Chris Lewis but there is still plenty of fire in Phillip DeFreitas, Gladstone Small and Dermot Reeve.
The batting of Gooch and Lancashire left-hander Neil Fairbrother will be a joy to behold, while Essex's John Stephenson should prove to be one of the team's most influential players.
John Emburey, another former England captain, is an experienced off-spinner and can produce fireworks with the bat.
SOUTH AFRICA Clive Rice (c) Peter Kirsten Adrian Kuiper Mike Rindel Steven Jack Rudi Bryson Eric Symons ON a previous visit to Hong Kong, Clive Rice stole the show by clean-bowling a young batsman tipped to be a future England star - Worcestershire's Zimbabwe-born Graeme Hick. Rice, playing as a guest for the Hong Kong Cricket Association, stole the show on that day - and is capable of doing so again as South Africa make their debut with an unofficial selection.
South Africans do not play sport for fun - and the ultra-competitive Rice will make sure his side make their mark, despite the fact other teams have had a year's start on them.
HONG KONG Pat Fordham (c) Steve Atkinson Stewart Brew Steve Foster Leigh Beaman Ross Greer David Thompson AFTER last year's heroics, Hong Kong will take the field in confident mood and, with the backing of a large crowd, have everything to gain in group matches against Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
The bowling attack is steady rather than spectacular, with Leigh Beaman's slow-medium in-duckers providing the only variety to the right-arm medium pace of Ross Greer, David Thompson, Steve Foster, Stewart Brew, Steve Atkinson and, if necessary, Pat Fordham, the wicketkeeper. Batting and, particularly, fielding are the strong points of the team.