THE sound of leather on willow will echo around Beijing's cavernous Olympic Stadium next month as the Chinese capital plays host to its first international cricket sixes tournament. The 10-team tournament, scheduled for September 18, will feature three teams made up of players from the Hong Kong Dragons Cricket Club as well as expatriate teams representing England, Australia, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The Hong Kong Dragons, the only all-Chinese cricket club in the region, will also play two 11-a-side matches against the expatriate Beijing Cricket Club. The six-a-side tournament, which will follow the format of the Hong Kong Sixes, is the brainchild of British businessman and cricket fanatic, Tony Fisher, who has spent the last few months trying to bring the game to China. Fisher said the biggest problem was finding a venue, cricket being virtually unheard of in the Chinese capital. After an initially fruitless search, Fisher walked into the 100,000 seat Olympic Stadium in the north of Beijing and asked if it was available. To his surprise, the Stadium's managers agreed to rent out the facility for 3,600 yuan ($3,236), although Mr Fisher doubts if the managers really understood what a six-a-side cricket tournament actually involves. ''They were extremely helpful and interested in the idea,'' he said. ''The concept took a fair bit of explaining and I'm not sure if I was entirely successful.'' A matting pitch will be laid in the centre of the stadium and the athletics track surrounding the field will also come into play to extend the boundary as far as possible. Mr Fisher hopes to attract about 4,000 spectators to the inaugural event. Admission will be free, the costs covered by corporate sponsors.