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BBC ready for Twenty20 bonanza

Adam Mountford Adam Mountford | 09:07 UK time, Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Well after a highly eventful four days in Leeds, the BBC cricket team moves back into Twenty20 mode for the climax to this season's domestic Twenty20 competition.

And with the potential pot of gold that could come with qualification for the lucrative Champions League, this is a really important few days for five county sides. I say five, because of course there is some unfinished business before finals day.

One of the few positives to come out of England's four-day demise at Headingley is that we are able to bring full commentary on Five Live Sports Extra of Tuesday evening's much-delayed Twenty20 quarter-final at Chester-le-Street.

It's been a strange few days for Durham. They were originally due to play Yorkshire until that game was controversially postponed at the last moment following an argument over the registration of a Yorkshire player. Then it looked like Nottinghamshire would be Durham's opponents, until an appeal led to Glamorgan being surprisingly given a quarter-final place instead.

The match will be a great opportunity for Paul Collingwood and Steve Harmison to remind the selectors of what they can do, and they will be joined in the Durham side by former South Africa captain Shaun Pollock - fresh from the TMS commentary box. Even if the Test match had gone into a fifth day, we'd agreed to let Shaun go and play in the fixture.

To be honest I am not sure there are many other members of the TMS team who could play in a major fixture 24 hours after a Test commentary. But I do have to report that although Shaun may be in great shape, he has not been able to resist the odd slice of cake which has kindly been sent to us over the past couple of weeks.

Whilst Pollock is moving from the commentary box to the playing field, Australian bowler Jason Gillespie is going the other way for Tuesday's match. Glamorgan have decided to leave out their Ashes bowler for the fixture, but we are delighted that he will be joining us on Five Live Sports Extra instead. Gillespie will be joined in the commentary box by England and Lancashire batsman Mal Loye, one of the country's top one-day batsmen and master of the slog sweep off any kind of bowler.

Coverage starts Tuesday evening at 1715 BST on Five Live Sports Extra.

The mascot race at a previous Twenty20 Finals DayThen whatever you do, don't miss our commentary on Twenty20 Finals Day live from the Rose Bowl on Saturday. If you've heard our coverage before, you will know that our commentary on this special day is a little different.

We have broadcasters not only in the commentary box, but also out on the boundary edges and in the players' dug-out as we bring you our unique '3D style' coverage. It will be dynamic, dramatic and at times dangerous as the ball lands inches from our brave boundary reporters, especially if the likes of new Twenty20 star Graham Napier get going.

Coverage starts on Five Live Sports Extra at 1115 for the first semi-final between Essex and Kent - shortly before that, listen out for first news of the squad for the third Test. Will Darren Pattinson keep his place or are the likes of Harmison and Matthew Hoggard on for a recall?

Middlesex play either Durham or Glamorgan in the second semi-final before commentary moves to Five Live for the final from 1900 BST.

Before that, from 1800 BST on Five Live you will be able to take part in a special Cricket 606 with Mark Chapman and Phil Tufnell.

Tuffers will be with us throughout the day as part of a commentary team which also includes Mark Pougatch, Arlo White, Alison Mitchell, Kevin Howells and Simon Hughes plus Essex and England fast bowler Alex Tudor and England spinner Graeme Swann.

And make sure you are listening throughout the day, because as well as all the cricket action don't miss our now legendary commentary on the mascots race, this year with a very special twist!


  • Comment number 1.

    Interesting that you use use the word "bonanza". Obviously because of the obscene amounts of money involved.
    However, I prefer the word "circus". Much more appropriate.

  • Comment number 2.

    While I understand that nobody involved in it is likely to be anything but positive, let's face it: Twenty20 is not only crap, but emphatically not likely to inspire 'the kids' to play more cricket, or follow it like they follow the 'English Premier League' except when those nebulously understood concepts are knocked about in committee meetings.

    Since kids, or anyone else playing cricket spontaneously, put games together without caring about Test conditions or anything else except getting as many overs in as possible before having to stop, it isn't relevant whether or not the game played by professionals exactly replicates the version played by everyone else. It's not like football, which everyone can play under exactly the same rules as elsewhere. In other words, if Twenty20 is trying to offer a professional version of cricket closer to what people play, then it misses the point, not least of all because, let's face it, it isn't very good or inspiring.

    While people might play something like Twenty20 spontaneously, they still aspire to emulate, are inspired and drawn to the game by, Test players. This is because that is the part of the game which shows off the most skills tested to the greatest degree. I don't think that anyone is much interested in Twenty20's new 'star', Graham Napier or whoever else it might be. At least not in England, where Test cricket will always be the only form of the game people are much interested in, which is also why it doesn't matter much whether or not the England one-day team is very good, or indeed why they won't be very good in the foreseeable future.

    All of which is why I find it slightly distasteful drumming up this sort of fraudulent interest in a series of non-events around the only really interesting cricket of the summer: the Test series between South Africa. Ramming the rest down people's throats is only like to put them off (well, ramming something down your throat would put you off the thing being stuck there, wouldn't it?)

    But of course one wouldn't expect the producer of a radio sports programme to be anything other than unremittingly positive about their programming. The real state of things is shown by the fact that all that's really good about Test Match Special takes place where you might expect it to: during Test Matches. The rest is only so much fluff.

    But the point it: load up on fluff and you'll have trouble finding the substance!

  • Comment number 3.

    fao tempestteacup

    i am a massive fan of test cricket and always will be, and understand why absolute purists are no fans of Twenty20....but to say that it won't encourage youngsters to take an interest in the game is just pure is an introduction to the game that is proving highly successful on many levels.....i think you should accept that other people are allowed to have opinions as i think Twenty20 is likely to be around for a while yet...and so will Test cricket.

  • Comment number 4.

    I'm not a fan of Twenty20 but I can see that the extra media coverage and 'crash, bang, wallop' can get people aware of the game, and if they watch t20 and enjoyit then they'll start watching Test Matches.

    However Tempestteacup has a point. Kids in our street play cricket in the road, and they all want to be Steve Harmison, Ryan Sidebottom and Michael Vaughan, not Graham Napier and Dimi Mascherenas.

  • Comment number 5.


    Twenty20 is a great form of the game and just because kids in your street want to be like Michael Vaughan etc, your street isn't the only one in the world, i know that in my street Kids love twenty 20 cricket and they want to be like Graham Napier etc.

    If they all want to be like those people anyway surely they watch Test cricket anyway, whereas if twenty20 was affecting them then they would want to be like the likes of Mascherenas etc.

  • Comment number 6.

    Funny how this seems to be very black and white with a lot of people.

    I would normally class myself as a purist and love test cricket and always will. But I seriously dislike 40 or 50 over cricket as it's largely very boring and close games are few and far between.

    20 - 20 on the other hand is exciting generally and even if it's not close you will see at least one exciting innings and then well ... it doesn't drag on for ever, does it?

    So, test cricket needs to survive - but you will only get good players coming into cricket at all if it's lucrative and exciting and 20 - 20 achieves just that.

    It's here to stay chaps, find a way of embracing it for the good of the game as a whole.

  • Comment number 7.

    20/20 is to cricket what five-a-side is to football.

    Five-a-side football is also faster and more exciting than the real thing, but you don't hear any kids saying 'when I grow up I want to play five-a-side football' do you?

  • Comment number 8.

    I have to agree with Grimvald on this. Twenty20 cricket is a different game to test match cricket. But not a worse game.

    In Twenty20 cricket it's about playing your shots and chasing runs as quickly as possible, and for the bowlers it's a matter of bowling a length and line that stops the batsmen playing shots.

    When batting in test cricket it's about building partnerships, having a good eye for shot selection and most importantly patience at the crease. For the bowlers it's all about consistent bowling in the right areas, taking wickets and out thinking the batsmen.

    I for one appreciate both forms of the game, but would say that it's vital that you set your own expectations before viewing either type of match.

  • Comment number 9.

    With all of this talk of ‘bonanzas’, ‘money’ and ‘circuses’, let's hope that the Beeb is bidding hard for (at least some) live TV rights for ANY form of cricket in addition to the radio /online coverage!

    I personally would rather that children sought to emulate Mascarenhas, Napier or even Symonds, Sohail Tanvir or Chris Gayle - rather than imitate spoilt Football Premier league brats bleating about ‘modern-day slavery’ (!)

    I agree with many of the posters here that T20 is a different form of cricket, not necessarily worse just because it seems loud and garish in comparison to the Test Match form of the game...

  • Comment number 10.

    how, sad miserable and utterly wrong u r...
    lets face it!

  • Comment number 11.

    I personally would say that Twenty twenty is an inferior game to test cricket. But thats more because Test Cricket is an awesome game at its best, reaching heights T20 never can. I was at Finals day in 2005, and to be fair it was an exciting day, climaxing in a thrilling final that saw an upset as Leicestershire knocked off Surrey in an exciting run chase. But pretty much all games of T20 lack something somehow, there just isn't the time for the changes of momentum that make test cricket so compelling at its best.

  • Comment number 12.

    20/20 is very much like Marmite - it seems you either love it or hate it. While I can understand the purist view (I also have concerns that the longer version of the game might suffer), it's my view that 20/20 is likely to have a beneficial effect on the game in the long run provided that it is sensibly managed. The cricket authorities need to ensure that some of the money being generated finds its way back to grass roots cricket and the levels above. We need to find new ways of getting our youngers interested and involved in both playing and watching the game. Anyone whose played non league cricket will know how frustratingly difficult it can be to attract younger players to the game and how many small clubs have folded due to the lack of fresh blood. My hope is that 20/20 brings a lot of good with it and doesn't become frankenstein's monster. Cricket has never seen this sort of money and sensible management of the situation could benefit the game as a whole.


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