The 20/20 season arrives in the English county calendar next week and whilst lacking the fanfare and prestige of its Indian and Australian counterparts in the IPL and the Big Bash, it will be played in the height of summer in front of full houses and having regular coverage on TV and offer plenty of betting opportunity in the coming weeks.
20/20 cricket acts as the great leveller for the counties who are split by not just two divisions in the four-day county championship but also finance and the ability to attract or hold on to the best players at their respective clubs. It is a fact highlighted by the tournament being won by 11 of the 18 counties in its 14-year existence and arguably one of the poorest teams in terms of financial capacity Leicestershire the county that has won the tournament the most times with them picking up the trophy on three occasions.
The short nature of the 20 over season and the financial rewards of a visit to finals day allow certain teams to target the 20/20 competition and bring in a couple of overseas imports and 20 over specialists to allow a more level playing field than the four-day competition would allow where the stronger squads and star players flock to the biggest and best sides in division 1 of the championship.
The result of this can make bookmaking this format quite tricky with sides setting up with different players than in previous campaigns and batting line ups and bowling combinations not really known until the tournament gets under way. Another factor to consider is the loss of England players to the specific counties as they are engaged in a series against India and the availability of overseas players with international commitments springing up with increasing regularity due to packed international schedule.
The opening match sees last years finalists Warwickshire and the holders Nottinghamshire go head to head next Wednesday and will be interesting to see how the champions line up and if they can set down an early marker for their defence in the campaign ahead.
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