Press Release Summary: Four of the players who helped Sri Lanka to their maiden Hong Kong Cricket Sixes triumph last year have been included in the team that will defend the title next week.
Press Release Body: Captain Indika De Saram - the hero of Sri Lanka's stunning final victory over the All-Stars - will lead the team once more.
He will be joined by three other members of the victorious 2007 squad, Jeewantha Kulatunga, Dilhara Lokuhettige and Kaushalya Weeraratne.
The three newcomers include talented all-rounder Gayan Wijekoon, who has played for his country at test level and in last year's Twenty20 World Championship in South Africa.
"It's a strong squad, packed with experience, and they're bringing back players with a proven track record at the Sixes," said tournament director Mark Burns. "They are going to be very difficult to beat."
De Saram scored a tournament high of 40 not out when Sri Lanka recorded an imposing 127-3 in last year's final.
Lokuhettige then played his part by dismissing Craig McMillan - the Player of the Tournament - with the first ball of the All-Stars innings.
Sri Lanka went on to win by 16 runs for their first Sixes success in 11 attempts.
The 2008 Hong Kong Cricket Sixes will be staged at the Kowloon Cricket Club on 8-9 November.
Sri Lanka have been drawn in the Sobers Group together with the 2008 All-Stars, Australia and Hong Kong.
This year's All-Stars team will include test greats Shivnarine Chanderpaul (West Indies), Sanath Jayasuriya (Sri Lanka), Justin Langer (Australia), Stephen Fleming (New Zealand) and Matthew Hoggard (England).
The Bradman Group contains India, Pakistan, England and South Africa.
Hosts Hong Kong have included in their squad five of the players who helped them win the ACC Trophy in Kuala Lumpur in August.
They include Najeeb Amar, who scored 100 and took four wickets as Hong Kong stunned the United Arab Emirates in the final.
He is joined from that winning team by Hussain Butt - Player of the Tournament at the 2004 Sixes - together with Monir Dar and the Ahmed brothers, Irfan and Nadeem.
Hong Kong will once again be captained by Manoj Cheruparambil while the squad is rounded out by Phil Pemberton.
Cheruparambil, Pemberton and Dar all played in last year's Sixes.
"We've got guys who are good strikers of the ball and obviously our strength is our spin bowlers," said Hong Kong coach Aftab Habib.
"It will be a case of making sure we hit our straps early and get some good totals on the scoreboard.
"The Sixes is a tremendous spectacle and I'm sure it will be a great weekend for everyone involved in Hong Kong cricket."
Australia have chosen a squad containing some of the country's most promising young cricketers, including Michael Hill, who captained Australia's U19 ICC World Cup team last year.
The squad will be led by player-coach John Davison, who hit the headlines in 2003 when, playing for his native Canada, he stunned the West Indies with the fastest World Cup century in history.
"It should be a great experience for our team," said Davison.
"We've got some very good up and coming cricketers in our side and it will be a fantastic experience for them to travel to Hong Kong and play against some talented opposition from around the world.
"The tournament does a fantastic job to help raise the profile of cricket in Hong Kong. I know they get great crowds, which shows the popularity of the sport and I'm sure this year's tournament will be no exception."
Tickets for the 2008 Sixes - priced at $780 for adults and $450 for children - are on sale at the following locations:
# China Cricket International, Sheung Wan (Tel: 2543 8500) # Dot Cod Seafood Restaurant & Oyster Bar, Central (Tel: 2810 6988) # Hong Kong Cricket Club, Happy Valley (Tel: 3511 8668) # Kowloon Cricket Club, Jordan (Tel: 2376 4141)
The Hong Kong Cricket Sixes is fully sanctioned by the International Cricket Council and is the sport's longest-running, best-established and most high-profile sixes tournament.
Players who have taken part over the past 16 years include Brian Lara, Sachin Tendulkar, Steve and Mark Waugh, Viv Richards, Andrew Flintoff, Adam Gilchrist and Wasim Akram.
The tournament is organised and promoted by the Hong Kong Cricket Association's commercial arm, China Cricket International Limited.
The HKCA's proceeds from the Sixes will be ploughed directly back into cricket development in Hong Kong.
Sri Lanka: Indika De Saram (captain), Jeewantha Kulatunga, Dilhara Lokuhettige, Kaushalya Weeraratne, Gayan Wijekoon, Chinthaka Jayasinghe, Muthumudalige Pushpakumara.
Hong Kong: Manoj Cheruparambil (captain), Najeeb Amar, Hussain Butt, Monir Dar, Irfan Ahmed, Nadeem Ahmed, Phil Pemberton
Australia: John Davison (captain), Brendan Drew, John Hastings, Michael Hill, Stephen O'Keefe, Nathan Reardon, David Warner.
Web Site: http://
Contact Details: Two Up Front http:/;/www.tuf.com.hk