Stars relishing ICC World Twenty20

ICC World Twenty20 2009
Kevin Pietersen

Kevin Pietersen is aware of the importance of tapping into the American market

World cricket's top players have given their support to the ICC World Twenty20 taking 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.

Charlotte Edwards

England captain Charlotte Edwards has the chance to lead her team on a big stage

“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.

“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.”