ONE of the great attractions of sport is that you don't have to know a game intimately to enjoy watching it - if, of course, it is played well. There is in existence somewhere a picture of this columnist wielding a cricket bat in a friendly encounter. The wicketkeeper is one of the legendary names of Hong Kong racing, and it is safe to say that he looks rather more comfortable as he crouches, poised, to take the ball. Well, he is Australian and they know a bit about the game. My cricketing endeavours were few and figures achieved on that day remain in the mind: seven runs scored, one wicket taken, two catches held. Not too bad a haul. It also shows just how selfish some people can be when it comes to a team game: I cannot remember who won. To a degree, cricket is a bit like Guinness - it's an acquired taste. Not the game for everyone, although you may be surprised to know that it has a distinct following in France. That nugget of information came to hand in mid-summer at the height of the Ashes series in England, but those connected with the luckless home side may well have been trying to deflect attention from their own shortcomings by showing how popular the game was in rather unlikely places. Having watched a commendably enthusiastic Patrick Biancone scoring 'points' in annual games between the Jockey Club hierarchy and licensed personnel, it is possible to understand why there are parts of France where the game does flourish. Of course, there are many in the world who simply cannot understand the fixation that certain countries have with the game. The Americans are an obvious example, although there is a particularly long-established club in New York, and one flourished among the English exiles in Hollywood for years. It's probably not fair to count the Americans, anyway, as they won't allow a meritorious draw in football. There has to be a result. And how can they point a finger at cricket while making 'rounders' a national institution? Of course, had they not won that particular war of independence, all would have been mightily different. It wasn't just the rule of law or Pax Britannica that the British left around the world, but the game of cricket. But it is definitely possible - and I have done it - to sit for hours and watch a cricket match unfold with all its possibilities, changes of fortune, sudden drama and admittedly lengthy spells of relative inaction. That is no bad thing. It can allow for reflection, a chat with one's neighbour or a trip to the bar. And it does show that a game does not have to have sustained, momentous action for 90 minutes or four hours. The one-day game or the limited overs contest has added some genuinely cavalier spirit to the sport. The necessity to score quickly may have taken away some of the subtler arts of defensive play, but has certainly kept spectators happily in their seats. And Hong Kong, of course, has the Sixes, and with the weather gods beaming down kindly, this year's tournament looks blessed for success. The decision to move from the more homely arena of the Kowloon Cricket Club to the Hong Kong Stadium last year did not really pay dividends, because the weather cut down attendance figures. That, of course, is the big gamble. A half-empty Hong Kong Stadium can drain atmosphere from even the most exciting of matches, be it football, rugby or cricket. It is built to hold 40,000, and it is at its most spectacular when full. It does underline the entrepreneurial spirit alive and well in Hong Kong that the Sixes were born and blossomed here, and they deserve continued success. Judging by the whole-hearted support of several nations - not least South Africa - the two days should be highly entertaining. Fortunately, they don't actually have to play on what passes for a pitch because of the artificial strip. It must be truly embarrassing for Wembley International to have this pitch on display to international visitors - particularly when one remembers what a reputation the Wembley playing surface in London enjoys. It is not their fault, of course, that the pitch was foisted on them by the Jockey Club. And you cannot say too much when a magnificent stadium is handed over free thanks to the Jockey Club's generosity. A final decision is being taken on completely refurbishing the pitch and consigning sandmesh to oblivion. Provisional approval has been given but money may be a problem, and the Jockey Club will be freshly approached. Simply, the stadium pitch is a disgrace and detracts totally from a superb international sporting arena. Those who are not frequent visitors to the ground, and that will surely include many at the Sixes, will see just how bad it is by looking at the outfield. It simply has to go. That said, enjoy the day's sport.