Aubrey Swanepoel and Sohail Tanvir stake their claims for a quick return at the T20 Blitz
South Africa and Pakistan captains hoping to land deals to return to Hong Kong in February for the third edition of the Blitz
The successful resurrection of the Hong Kong Sixes has provided the top players with an added benefit beyond the thrill of competing in an innovative tournament and vying for honours – it has also emerged as a showcase for Hong Kong T20 Blitz franchise scouts.
An unintentional but convenient trend appears likely to come out from the Sixes in giving players a chance to show the five franchises what they can do in the short form game, with the draft for the 2018 Blitz to be held on Thursday.
The captains of the two Sixes finalists, South Africa’s Aubrey Swanepoel and Pakistan’s Sohail Tanvir, are among the players hoping to land a deal to return to Hong Kong in February for the third edition of the Blitz.
Swanepoel, who hit the winning boundary off the final delivery in Sunday’s final at the Kowloon Cricket Club to give his team a fifth Sixes title, said he hoped his performances would help his chances of playing in the Blitz.
“I would love to play in the Blitz,” said Swanepoel. “The atmosphere in Hong Kong is great, cricket is growing in Hong Kong and there is a bright future for the game here with these kinds of tournaments.
“If I was offered a chance to play in the Blitz I would book my flight any time.”
Sohail, who was part of Pakistan’s winning 2011 Sixes team, is also hoping to return to Hong Kong in February.
“We enjoy playing and we want to promote cricket in this part of the world and the best way to do that is to play in tournaments like the Hong Kong Sixes, and then you have the Blitz coming up next year,” said Sohail.
“I’m in touch with a few teams for the Blitz and I think, yes, definitely I’m coming back.”
Sohail’s all-round skills is built for Sixes and T20 cricket. He is the world record holder for the best economy in a T20 game.
Over the summer, he took five wickets for just three runs in four overs for Guyana in the Caribbean Premier League to help his team to a 99-run victory over Barbados.
Swanepoel said the Hong Kong Sixes was better than ever and he was looking forward to returning.
“The tournament is only going to get better,” he said. “Hopefully, more teams can get involved because people in Hong Kong want to see the best teams taking part.”
Organisers Cricket Hong Kong are delighted with the first Sixes since 2012 and are determined to ensure its longevity.
“The two days of the tournament have been amazing. We couldn’t have wished for it to go any better, the weather, the cricket, the fans, and to have the result off the last ball is what makes sixes cricket so exciting,” said CHK director Jonathan Cummings.
“Getting South Africa and Pakistan in the final was great as we knew we would have a humdinger of a final, and to see Hong Kong winning the Plate Championship is fantastic.
“The event will 100 per cent be back next year. Getting the event back was the first step. The crowds have loved it, the teams have loved it, and the tournament will be back even bigger next time.”