BBC BLOGS - Test Match Special
« Previous | Main | Next »

Stanford to add to Twenty20 pot of gold

Adam Mountford Adam Mountford | 17:32 UK time, Thursday, 24 July 2008

When the Twenty20 Cup was first launched in 2003 I remember speaking to several players who admitted it was a competition that they would not be taking seriously. The phrase "hit and giggle" was often used about the new format of the game, while broadcasters like us were promised unique access to players throughout matches hinting that they didn't mind being disturbed as it was "only Twenty20".

Well I can guarantee that the players from Essex, Kent, Middlesex and Durham will be taking the 2008 Twenty20 Cup finals day very seriously. Not only has the competition become one of the players' favourites over the past five years, mainly because of the large crowds it attracts and the excellent atmosphere created at grounds, but this year's Twenty20 stands to be the most lucrative competition in county cricket history.

Andrew Strauss, Middlesex

We know that this year's finalists will qualify for the proposed new "Champions League", where the winning team stands to win £2.5m with large amounts on offer for other sides who do well in the competition. Saturday's Rose Bowl finalists will join teams from India, Australia and South Africa in an eight-team event to be played either in the Middle East or India in September.

But on top of that Saturday's victorious team will now be offered the chance to share in the money bonanza being created by Texan billionaire Sir Allen Stanford. On Friday, details will be confirmed of a match between Stanford's All Star West Indian XI and the new Twenty20 champions. The game will feature as one of a series of warm-up matches in Antigua before England take on the All Stars in the much publicised multi-million pound winner-takes-all game being played on 1 November. The county players could reportedly earn around £30,000 each - but again that money will only be available if they win the match.

And the Stanford team will be a strong one. The 32-man squad announced this week included the likes of Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Chris Gayle, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Dwayne Bravo.

The potential bonus of Stanford money could become very important because although the Champions League has been agreed by the ECB and other boards, some doubts still remain.

We still await the details of exactly how the competition will work and most importantly who will be allowed to play in it. There is still great confusion over whether teams who have featured players who took part in the so-called rebel Indian Cricket League will be allowed to qualify for the Champions League. Essex and Middlesex have not included ICL players, but Durham and Kent could find themselves excluded even if they qualify by winning their semi-finals. Durham's captain Dale Benkenstein, for example, played in the ICL as did Kent's Justin Kemp and Pakistan all-rounder Azhar Mahmood.

The attitudes of the counties towards the threat have been very different. Some county chief executives have told us they are concentrating on getting to the final first and will then tackle the implications. Quarter-finalists Glamorgan decided not to risk playing Australian Jason Gillespie in their line-up on Tuesday for fear of being banned from the potential Champions League pot of gold.

Talking about Jason Gillespie, I am delighted to announce that "Dizzy" will be joining the BBC commentary team on Finals Day. Gillespie will join Phil Tufnell, Alex Tudor and Simon Hughes providing coverage on 5 Live and 5 Live Sports Extra.

Throughout both semi-finals Mark Pougatch will lead extensive coverage on 5 Live , whilst if you want ball-by-ball commentary don't miss our unique finals day programme starting on 5 Live Sports Extra from 1115 BST on Saturday morning.

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 on the boundary edges and in the players' dugout 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 stars Graham Napier and Dawid Malan get going.

Commentary will also come from Arlo White, Kevin Howells and Alison Mitchell who will also be providing truly unique coverage of the now-legendary mascot race. Every year our commentators battle it out to be selected to describe the efforts of "Bomber the Kent Spitfire" or "Lanky the Lancashire Giraffe". But this year Alison will not only be describing the race - she'll be in it! Alison will be dressed as an orb and will be running to help raise money for the PCA Benevolent Fund.

Other highlights this year include boundary dancers for the first time on finals day after their success during the ICC World Twenty20 in South Africa. Instead of a specific band, music will instead be provided by top DJs Karl "K Gee" Gordon and Big Ted who have worked with the likes of All Saints, Busta Rhymes and Alesha. The DJs will be leading a mascot dance-off as well as encouraging crowd karaoke.
So Saturday promises as always plenty of razzmatazz - but I doubt the players will find themselves distracted by the side shows. This year the eyes will be on the prize. And what a prize it could be.


  • Comment number 1.

    Really sorry to read that Mark Pougatch is in the team for the finals day . He is not , in my opinion , suitable for cricket commentary .Also, please , no more Phil Tufnell . Ego does not equate with ' entertainment '.

    Many Thanks !

  • Comment number 2.

    I have to say that whilst Mark Pougatch doesn't have the natural ease of some cricket commentators, I don't have a problem with him. I find Phil Tufnell very personable and entertaining but really don't think his particular style suits radio summarising.

    Given the pool of really talented summarisers that TMS has access to, such as Vic Marks, Mike Selvey, 'Gus Fraser, "Sir Geoffrey" and the like, it is pity that more is not made of their talents. In fact, I would have thought that it would have been possible to have one or two of them "promoted" to full commentary. Also, although I'm sure that "Foxy" Fowler is busy with his development work, it would be wonderful if he could be persuaded back to do a bit for TMS, once in a while. His combination of inspired reading of the game coupled with his excellent sense of humour and sonorous tones make for wonderful listening.

    Special mention should also go to some of the overseas contributors: it was a particular joy listening to Jeremy Coney, earlier in the season.

  • Comment number 3.

    mark poogatch is a really annoying person. why not bring in someone who can actually commentate?

  • Comment number 4.

    II think Phil Tufnell style is perfect for radio, he actually describes the action better than any of the other co commentators on TMS. He is good with his words and always seems to make everyone chuckle. You are right tho Poogatch can be a little irritating.

  • Comment number 5.

    Have to disagree with the negative comments about Phil Tufnell. I've listened to TMS for many years, and find that he fits very well into the summariser mould described by Prodnose above: a real knowledge of the game imparted with a sense of humour and full of interesting insights. Very much in the tradition of Vic Marks, Graeme Fowler, Jeremy Coney etc, and far more interesting than Mark Pougatch and the other imports from 5 Live who I'm afraid regularly betray their lack of knowledge of the game.

  • Comment number 6.

    Totally do not agree with the negative coments about tuffers. His voice and style are completey different to the rest of the team. TMS always work best when theres a melting point of different types of people. Always find Tuffers and CMJ working together an audio treat!

  • Comment number 7.

    On Mark Pougatch, well he is a fantastic broadcaster. However as I associate him with footy or 5 Live sport he does sound a bit out of place on TMS. Also he sounds like he's bricking everytime he is working with Boycott.

  • Comment number 8.

    Twenty-20 should just knock-out boaring old miserable test cricket.

  • Comment number 9.

    Most contributors seem to have taken the opportunity to make comments about commentators who will not actually be on duty on Twenty20 Saturday, so I will join in, but not before saying that I have no objection to Mark Pougatch.

    The BBC radio cricket commentators, whether it be on TMS or more frivolous forms of the game, are usually very well informed and entertaining, though there are exceptions. For me, the main exception is someone who was once a pleasure to listen to. I refer to Sir Geoffrey. He has become a bit of a bore, making increasingly obvious comments and then repeating them in case we weren't listening. He simply goes on much too much.

  • Comment number 10.

    Tuffers did a great job the first test- you must have been listening with your ears shut some of you. Bring him back- it's what we pay the licence fee for.

  • Comment number 11.

    This blog seems to be on its last legs, but at half time in the Twenty20 final, I have to admit that this "frivolous" form of the great game can be very entertaining. I'm not sure I would want to be there, with all the noise and razzmatazz, but it is obviously very popular and the BBC coverage has been excellent, transmitting all the excitement through a great combination of commentators, here, there and everywhere.

    Tuffers seems to even better than on TMS.

    The time will come for us to comment on the selection for the third test. There is a key decision to be made between Collingwood and Harmison. If Collingwood is given the nod, it will be very difficult for the selectors to say they have made all the necessary changes. Great to see Owais Shah playing such a good innings. He has been badly treated by the selectors.

    Come on Kent!! I don't know why I say that because I am a ciderman, but it will be great for this "frivolous" game if there is an exciting finale.


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.