Snape ready to entertain
Leicestershire Foxes skipper Jeremy Snape believes that the Twenty20 Cup has earned its place in the hearts of English cricket followers.
Snape prepares to lead his side into action against Essex Eagles tomorrow as Leicestershire tread the finals day stage for a fourth consecutive season, an achievement matched only by the Surrey Brown Caps.
"I think Twenty20 Cup finals day has become the central hub of the English season," said Snape, who enjoyed a huge amount of success when Gloucestershire dominated the one-day scene at the end of the 1990s and into the 2000s.
"The NatWest Trophy final or the Benson & Hedges Cup final were seen as huge - but ask most county professionals which final they would like to get to and they'll say Twenty20.
"It is unlimited cricket. People go out to express themselves.
"In a lot of the longer forms of cricket, you are restricted in shot selection.
"In Twenty20, people can play with as much flair as they want to. It is real entertainment."
The Foxes' progress to the semi-finals has, again, been a team effort with contributions coming from just about everybody in the side at some stage of the group games and quarter-final.
Snape has played a major role, too.
As captain, he has had to think on his feet.
As a bowler, he has had to try and tie down some of the game's most dangerous hitters.
And, as a batter, he has been called upon to score quick runs.
He has not disappointed in any discipline but his batting has really caught the eye with his 227 runs coming at an average of 45 per innings, a cracking effort given the length of time that batters generally spend at the crease in 20-over cricket.
"I think the captaincy has helped me in taking more responsibility with the bat and trying to see us through to the end of an innings," he said.
"My bowling is a matter of being available. Whether I bowl one over or four overs is dependent on how the game is developing.
"I'm pleased with the way I have played. I've worked really hard this year and it is nice to get some personal success."
It is as a unit, though, that Leicestershire have progressed.
"We have gathered momentum through the group stages of the competition and the quarter-final against Kent was the best game we have played," the former England one-day man said. "Darren Maddy and HD Ackerman played great innings to see us home so clinically.
"The fixture planning has been a little frustrating in that we have had to wait two weeks to get back into it and have had four-day and 40-over cricket inbetween.
"But we have had a little bit more time than in other years to get our minds refreshed."
There are no prizes for guessing who Snape points to as the Foxes' key men at Trent Bridge - Maddy and Ackerman at the top of the order, Stuart Broad and Adam Griffith with the new ball.
All of them have produced match-winning efforts at different stages of the competition and, if they fire at Nottingham, Snape knows that his side will ask serious questions of any opponents.