The players everyone would love to see in Hong Kong are missing from the Sixes. World record-breaking opener Sanath Jayasuriya, Aravinda de Silva, Arjuna Ranatunga, Romesh Kaluwitharana, Chaminda Vaas et al are all unavailable due to that age-old sporting problem - other commitments. World Cup champions Sri Lanka have left their stars at home and will be represented by a second string side - a feature common to most of the other teams, barring defending champions South Africa and New Zealand. Organisers tried desperately to get draw cards Sri Lanka to send their best side. They did everything, including shifting the dates of the tournament forward by a week. At one stage things looked promising. 'It looked as if we had Sri Lanka in the bag earlier this year,' said Brian Catton, executive director of Cricket World International. 'After they won the World Cup, I went down to Singapore for the Singer Trophy to talk to the team.' At the time, Catton was confident his visit would pay off. 'I obtained assurances from the players, including their skipper, Arjuna Ranatunga, and others like Sanath Jayasuriya that they would come to Hong Kong. They loved the idea and said they would be delighted to return . . . all had played here in 1993. I even spoke to the president of their cricket board, Upali Dharmadasa, and he, too, verbally confirmed that Sri Lanka would send a top side.' Following the Singapore event, another Singer World Series was held in Colombo. Sri Lanka won the cup, beating Australia in the final. Once that was over, Sri Lanka began a Test series against Zimbabwe, one of the teams invited for the Singer series in Colombo. Sri Lanka won the first Test last week by an innings. Unfortunately, the dates of the second Test coincide with the Hong Kong Sixes. Dammika Ranatunga, newly appointed chief executive of the Board of Control for Cricket in Sri Lanka, said: 'Test cricket is important to us. We have proved ourselves in one-day cricket and now we want to concentrate on Test matches. 'While we would have liked to support Hong Kong, our main obligation is to take every opportunity to play Test cricket and there was an opportunity with Zimbabwe,' said Ranatunga, who is the elder brother of Sri Lanka captain Arjuna. Catton reluctantly agreed: 'We understand their needs. Test cricket is the ultimate. But it is still a huge disappointment.'