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Shah aiming for Twenty20 glory

Owais Shah is putting thoughts of a cash bonanza with England in Antigua to one side as he looks to help Middlesex win the Twenty20 Cup for the first time.

Shah and the remainder of England's one-day players can collect around 500,000 apiece if they win the game with Sir Allen Stanford's West Indies all star XI in the Carribean this winter.

And a good performance on finals day at the Rose Bowl, first in the semi-final with Durham then against the winners of Essex versus Kent - will remind the England selectors of Shah's abilities.

He said: "I'd be lying if I said I haven't been thinking about that game in Antigua. I'm always looking to perform well and remind the selectors I can play all forms of the game.

"The idea is to keep putting the runs on the board and puttting the pressure on the selectors. But at the moment I am just trying to focus on Saturday's finals day.

"I've been at the club for 13-14 years and it is the first semi-final I'll be playing in so I am really excited about it.

"I've seen finals day on TV before and it always seems to be lots of fun and now it will be great to be part of it.

"I didn't contribute much in the quarter-final (against Lancashire) so it will be nice to do well at the Rose Bowl.

"It is all about who plays the better cricket on the day. Twenty20 cricket is pretty unpredictable. If we play good cricket, I think we will come out on top.

"We are aware Durham have got some seriously good cricketers but we like to back ourselves in the Twenty20 form of the game.

"We have only lost two or three games in the competition this summer so hopefully we can take that form on."

Shah is aware a Middlesex-Essex final would avoid a potential showdown as both counties have no players with Indian Cricket League connections.

The Indian auothorities are threatening to ban any county which plays ICL-registered players from the Champions League this winter.

Shah said: "It has been mentioned. A lot of people have been talking about that. Hopefully us and Essex will get to the final and there won't be a problem.

"But that is something we don't control. That is something the ECB and the authorities in India have got to worry about. As far as we are concerned, we are hoping to play well and to get a spot in the final."

Essex batsman Graham Napier, who smashed 152 off 58 balls against Sussex earlier in the competition, has echoed Shah's comments about the financial gains to be had from breaking into the England squad for Antigua.

He said: "Things like the IPL and the Stanford game are life-changing opportunities financially for someone, especially any county player.

"I am just going to play for Essex, try and help them the Twenty20 Cup and the Friends Provident Trophy, and if anything else comes up, that is a bonus."

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