Tim Lamb hails the Cup

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Tim Lamb has hailed the Twenty20 Cup a ground breaking success as the competition enters its 2nd year.

ECB Chief Executive Tim Lamb has hailed the Twenty20 Cup a ground breaking success as the competition enters its 2nd year, speaking at the 04 Twenty20 Cup launch Lamb said "I want to talk to you for just a few moments about the development of Twenty20 cricket as an accepted and integral form of the game, particularly at the highest level. As you will be only too well aware, 20-over cricket has been played by cricket clubs since the year dot – particularly by junior teams. But there is evidence to suggest that this format of the game has growing appeal amongst senior club and school teams."

"For example in the Northern League in Lancashire this summer, 13 clubs are taking part in an inaugural Twenty20 competition, playing in coloured clothing on weekday evenings. The Sussex Cricket Board, meanwhile, has ambitious plans to invite 250 clubs in East and West Sussex to compete in a Sunday Twenty20 competition in 2005, with the finals at the County Ground at Hove. A significant number of schools are also playing in competitions around the country – the biggest currently being an 11 team tournament, played in coloured clothing with white balls and black sightscreens, the final of which is due to be staged at Edgbaston before a Warwickshire Twenty20 Cup home game this summer."

"Cricket’s versatility must be exploited. It allows the development of formats of the game which appeal to a wider cross-section of both players and spectators, thus enhancing the popularity of the sport. We have five-day, four-day and one-day matches in the professional game, as well as a variety of formats at club level – each of which cater for specific player and audience needs. But there is clearly a growing appetite for the 20 over version of the game at the highest level of both the men’s and women’s games."

"In women’s domestic cricket, the Twenty20 format has been played this summer by the Super Fours teams which competed in the women’s elite domestic cricket competition – just one stage below the international Test and One-Day teams. And on 5th August, history will be made when the England women’s team take on New Zealand in the first ever Twenty20 international match at Hove, sponsored by NatWest."

"In men’s cricket, a great deal of interest was generated both domestically and overseas following the success of the Twenty20 Cup here last summer. This led directly to the introduction of the ‘Standard Bank Pro20 Series’ in South Africa. Played over a four week period in April, over 153,000 spectators attended the 17 games – an average attendance of over 9,000 per match – making them comfortably the biggest gates South Africa had in their domestic cricket last season. At one match at The Wanderers in Johannesburg, there was a crowd of over 18,000."

"A number of other Test playing nations have been in touch with us to enquire about the rules and regulations of Twenty20, how our games are marketed and so on. Among others Pakistan and Sri Lanka are both seriously looking at introducing their versions of the shortened game for their regional or provincial teams later this year; and we ourselves have taken a major step by organising the first NatWest International Twenty20 match between England and Australia next summer."

"Another exciting potential development for Twenty20 could be at the Olympic Games. The ECB is exploring the possibility of having Twenty20 as an Olympic sport. We are aware that the ICC are in discussions with the IOC about Olympic status, and we have had preliminary discussions with the ICC about the possibility of them making the case for Twenty20 to be incorporated into the 2012 Olympics, particularly if London wins the 2012 Olympic Bid, or, if that’s too soon for the IOC timetable, then further down the line. Twenty20 in 2020? Who knows? The ICC have expressed initial interest and a willingness to explore the issue further if there is a clear desire to do so within the international cricket community."

"However, our immediate aim for Twenty20 cricket in this country is clear: to establish the Twenty20 Cup as a major part of county cricket’s summer schedule so that, through its appeal to a newer and broader audience, we can increase the popularity of the game in England and Wales. Three years ago we commissioned the research which led to the Twenty20 Cup; two years ago it was voted in by the First Class Forum and last year the competition got off to a fantastic start; we anticipate an even better year of Twenty20 cricket this summer, and who knows where it will go in the future."

Source - ecb.co.uk

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