HK targetted for top match

HONG KONG could become the Sharjah of the Far East if next year's proposed clash between world champions Pakistan and the Rest of the World is a success.

Pakistani Sohail Sultan, of Japanese company Everest Worldwide, has approached the organisers of Hong Kong's annual International Cricket Sixes competition with a proposal to hold the 50-over-a-side match in March.

And Papu Butani, director of Hong Kong's Cricket World International, feels the match could go ahead - and launch Hong Kong as a venue for international one-day cricket, on the lines of Sharjah, in the United Arab Emirates.

Said Butani: 'We were asked by Mr Sultan if we want to be a part of it and after meeting with him, we feel that this match could go ahead. If it is successful, I don't see why Hong Kong cannot play host to other one-day internationals featuring the top teams.

'The Sixes proved that the game is popular here, but one-day internationals would be even bigger.' Butani's fellow CWI director Brian Catton said because of Hong Kong's proximity, international teams from the sub-continent, Australia and New Zealand could be persuaded to play in the territory.

'Now that we have established the Sixes, I don't see why we could not do the same with other types of international cricket . . . something like Sharjah,' said Catton. 'Hong Kong is in that perfect triangle between India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka and Australia and New Zealand.' Sultan said the match is scheduled for March 19, with the teams then leaving for Japan for another match on March 21.