Pakistan's Sixes champs plot revenge against HK
PAKISTAN captain Wasim Akram has vowed there will be no repeat of last year's shock defeat by Hong Kong when the two sides meet again in tomorrow's International Cricket Sixes at the Kowloon Cricket Club.
Wasim, who arrived in the territory yesterday with four of his teammates, said they were caught out by Hong Kong last year but would not be making the same mistake again.
After scoring 88 for one in their five overs, world champions Pakistan then slipped to an amazing four-wicket defeat as Hong Kong scored 10 runs off the final three deliveries to win the match.
Hong Kong will never forget that result - and neither will Pakistan, as Wasim explained.
''I remember Hong Kong played very well and we learned a lesson,'' said 27-year-old Wasim.
''Last year we took them lightly at the start of the match and by the time we realised how close it was it was too late.
''But this time we are going to be very serious - not just against Hong Kong but against everybody because we are defending our title.
''Everyone knows cricket is an unpredictable game and we must try a bit harder from the first ball to the last.'' Wasim was accompanied by his fast bowling partner, Waqar Younis, and leg-spinner Mushtaq Ahmed, both of whom played last year, and by newcomers Basit Ali and Inzamam-ul-Haq.
''The new boys especially are looking forward to it because it's good fun as well as good cricket - and you don't have to play all day,'' added Wasim.
''The teams look much stronger this time and it will not be as easy as it was last year. I only hope we get the same kind of support - they were marvellous last year; our fans did a great job.'' Pakistan's Sixes-winning skipper, Javed Miandad, will arrive in Hong Kong today to complete the team. Salim Malik, a key player last season, withdrew at late notice, reducing the squad to six.
The Pakistan players arrived in Hong Kong at about 10.30 am yesterday after a 15-hour flight from Manchester, via Frankfurt. Despite the journey, Wasim ordered a 6 pm workout for his players - and a 9 am net practice today.
They begin their defence of the trophy against Sri Lanka tomorrow morning before the re-match with Hong Kong in the afternoon.
Six of the England team - skipper Graham Gooch, Neil Fairbrother, Phil DeFreitas, Dermot Reeve, John Emburey and John Stephenson - arrived yesterday and planned a Star Ferry journey to Hong Kong Island from their Kowloon hotel and an evening at the Happy Valley races. Gladstone Small is due to complete the squad today.
The West Indies squad has been reduced from seven to six by the absence of Test all-rounder Carl Hooper, who had to stay in England when his wife was taken ill.
Meanwhile, the Hong Kong Cricket Association are seeking a replacement for development officer David Wilson, who will not be returning to the territory on medical grounds. Wilson had worked for one season on the association's development programme.