IT has not quite reached the exalted status of the annual rugby Sevens, but Hong Kong's Cricket Sixes are heading in the right direction - as a few thousand heading in the direction of Cox's Road today will duly testify. And, after a number of interesting and amusing discussions with local cameramen, directors and producers, a much wider audience will see the action via BBC World Television Enterprises. Cricket is the quintessential English game, a gentlemanly sport that was played on grassy or dusty pitches from Lahore to Lagos when much of the world map was covered in imperial red. It took root in many former colonies, none more so than India where, like the English language itself, it has since frequently found better expression than in the land of its inception. Generally speaking, however, it has not flourished in the paddy fields of China, as it were, with the game in Hong Kong being very much the preserve of the expatriate community. Strange though the timing may seem, with 1997 approaching almost as fast as a Curtly Ambrose delivery, there is a concentrated cricket development scheme now in operation to spread the gospel among Chinese schoolchildren and youngsters. Whether the broad mass of local people in Hong Kong and beyond the northern border can ever turn on to the game and understand its nuances has to be doubted. Complete understanding of it has definitely defeated the Americans, a number of Britain's European allies and the odd Irishman as well. But I do readily confess to a liking for the game - well, certainly the 11-a-side variety that can stretch beyond a day or two. While wishing the Sixes every possible success - and being fairly certain that it will achieve such - it smacks somewhat of a 'made for television' product that would certainly endear it more to the aforementioned Americans than the five-day model. The Sixes are obviously fast-paced, full of action and somewhat removed from the tea breaks, drinks at the wicket and batsmen slowly digging themselves in for a protracted stay that are part of the more traditional version. But let no one say the 11-a-side game is boring because I know that it is not. In Hong Kong, it has been my pleasure to witness some gripping games from the old HKCC ground in Central to the greener, loftier pastures at Wong Nai Chung Gap. And many a sunny Sunday afternoon was spent, drink in hand, on the balcony of the KCC watching the endeavours of the stalwarts of the Hong Kong game. How many, I wonder, can recall the smooth-voiced Kit Cummings of RTHK early morning fame, hitting a couple of sixes in the last over - the final ball I seem to recall - of one Sunday League match to snatch victory from certain defeat. Nerve-tingling stuff. My ventures into reporting on the game have been mercifully rare. It is not a task to be approached lightly and the pen was finally put away when describing a winning shot struck at the IRC ground in a vital top-of-the-table game. Caught up in the enthusiasm, the description of what took place was vivid enough but to have actually played the winning shot as described would have required the batsman to be standing on his head. Slight embarrassment a decade later prevents me from repeating the words which caused considerable amusement in the cricket changing rooms of the territory at the time. Hong Kong's very own Dermot Reeve, arguably our most successful sporting ambassador, leads England today and he has gone a long way since his early games for KGV. Having already partially confessed to a lack of deep knowledge of the game, I find it hard to understand why England overlook his services at the highest level when he has managed to captain his county to victory in virtually all competitions in which they have been involved over the past three years. Mind you, Terry Venables has the same blind spot when it comes to a certain Matthew Le Tissier. When Reeve finally throws the bat in the corner and the gloves into the top of the locker, he can look forward to a lucrative career - which has already begun - on the after-dinner speaking circuit. Fame in another sphere beckons.