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Players look forward to World Cup

Some of the world’s top players have given their support to the ICC World Twenty20 event which will take place in England next year.

On the day details of ticket availability were announced, England captain Paul Collingwood said he was already looking forward to what should be a thrilling tournament.

“It’s going to be great,” said Collingwood.

“Already Twenty20 cricket is massive. It’s great to play in and from a player’s point of view it is obviously a shortened form of the game but it is very intense and every single ball matters.”

Collingwood’s hard-hitting team-mate Kevin Pietersen added: “I think what it’s going to do is capture the world. I know it has captured a lot of the world now and I think that it is a game that can go worldwide into America. “It’s exciting to be playing cricket right now.”

India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni was equally positive about the event, not surprising perhaps considering he was the one who lifted the trophy from the inaugural ICC World Twenty20 in South Africa last year.

“For us, of course, last year was a memorable tournament and it was a great feeling to lift that trophy. We had gone into it as underdogs – no one really expected us to win it as we had only ever played one Twenty20 International before.

“It was a great tournament and a sweet moment when we won. It is one of the things I will cherish for the rest of my life.

How would he like to become the first India captain since Kapil Dev in 1983 to lift a world trophy at a final in Lord’s?

“Of course I would love to do that but it’s the team that makes a good captain and I like to distribute the pressure and responsibility around the whole team. It would be a dream to lift the trophy at Lord’s but I don’t want to look that far ahead and if it does happen it would be an all-round team effort.

“We’re lucky because it seems wherever we go we get a lot of support. In South Africa last year, especially in Durban, there were crowds of India supporters and I know that there is a huge Indian community in England too.

“One of the things that I like about the World Twenty20 in England next year is that it will also feature a women’s tournament running alongside it. It’s important for the development of the women’s game that it gets exposure and by holding the two events at the same time it will give it that extra boost,” said Dhoni.

Naturally enough, England women’s captain Charlotte Edwards agrees. She, too, is looking forward to next year’s ICC World Twenty20.

“As a team we have the World Cup, World Twenty20 and Ashes in a six-month period and it is a great opportunity to raise awareness of the team,” said Edwards.

“It would be a fairytale if we were to get to the final along with the England men’s team, especially if both matches were against Australia. Playing in a world final at Lord’s in front of 30,000 people would be the highlight of anybody’s career.”

One of the players intending to be there to stop Edwards from making that fairytale a reality is India fast bowler Jhulan Goswami.

“It’s a dream to play at Lord’s as it is a special place for each and every cricketer – it is the heaven of cricket. I have played an ODI there before and would love to play there again,” said Goswami.

“It would be fantastic to be in the final at Lord’s, especially because of what happened in 1983. Indian cricket changed because of that and more people became interested.

“If we won the World Twenty20 it could have a similar effect for women’s cricket not just in India but across Asia as well,” she said.

New Zealand captain Haidee Tiffin is also looking forward to competing and, perhaps, making it to Lord’s for the final.

“It would be a dream,” said Tiffin. “I’ve played for New Zealand for 10 years and it would be fantastic to play not only at Lord’s, but to have the opportunity to play at The Oval and Trent Bridge as well is really exciting,” she said.

“The squad will work really hard and to play at Lord’s, if you are a male or female player, is a dream.”

source - ecb.co.uk
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