Getting a band of international cricketers together for a two-day jamboree is no easy task. Listening to Brian Catton, tournament director of the sixth Hong Kong Sixes, reveal the behind-the-scenes moves to get the eight visiting sides to the SAR, one is thankful for the wonders of modern-day technology - the telephone and the fax machine. 'We have logged over 700 calls around the world just to get the teams here. I don't know how many faxes we have sent out, but it must be as many.' Catton has asked, begged, cajoled, inquired . . . from the world's Test-playing nations for the best players. The telephones at Cricket World International have rung hot. His partner, Papu Butani, and secretary, Sarah Emerson, have also been ringing up people. It has been one huge long-distance affair with officials in Bombay and Dhaka, Colombo and Karachi. 'The time and effort we have spent has been huge. It has been a major effort trying to convince the cricket boards to send their best teams,' Catton said. 'It has been one long, frustrating exercise especially when you can't get through or if the person you need is not in . . . the different time zones have also meant that I was taking my work home and either getting up at ungodly hours to place a call or waiting up till late in the night to try to catch someone.' The major part of Catton's calls have gone to South Asia trying to convince the Indian, Pakistan and Sri Lankan cricket boards that the Hong Kong Sixes was an event worth supporting. 'This year I made it a point to be more persistent. I made a supreme effort to get the best sides from these countries so that the public and the sponsors would not be disappointed.' According to Catton, South Asian continent giants hold the key to the success of the Sixes. It is these cricket-mad countries that have huge, knowledgeable television audiences - a vital ingredient to the success of any sporting event. 'The other thing is that we are part of Asia and, as such, we need to get their support for this tournament. They have to be wooed.' This is something the Hong Kong Cricket Association should be doing. For long the governing body of cricket in Hong Kong has had links with the more traditional powers like England and Australia. With the growing emergence of the Asian countries in the game, Catton said it would be prudent to associate more closely with South Asia. This is one major reason why organisers this year decided to invite Bangladesh - which is expected to become the next Test-playing nation, perhaps by 2000. It is a move with the future in mind. 'Our links with countries like England and Australia are established. They are now pretty responsive to the Sixes and, in fact, have this year sent strong sides. 'South Africa is also easy to deal with. Dr Ali Bacher, the head of their cricket board, is a man who realises the importance of the Sixes in developing the game in this region. 'But, unfortunately, he could not send their best side this time because South Africa is preparing for the tour of Pakistan. I called him only twice this year and he said he could not help. That was it as I know if he could, he would have sent a strong side,' Catton said. He said he would be satisfied if every Test nation in the future would send two or three big names. 'I would be perfectly happy with that. I understand where Hong Kong is in the bigger scheme of things . . . and, with the Sixes being what it is, we have to keep everything in perspective. 'We aim to get better and bigger gradually and make people realise that here is an event which is worth participating in,' he said. Until that happens, Catton is resigned to being hooked up on long-distance calls. It is, therefore, perhaps appropriate that the new sponsor of the Hong Kong Sixes is a telephone company.