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Regional cricket on ESPN

Ezra Stuart

Regional cricket on ESPN

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All regional cricket matches under the auspices of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) will now be shown live on the ESPN Caribbean television channel for the next three years.
A source close to the WICB told the Nation today that a three-year deal with the cable sports giants, has been signed which would help to defray the cost of staging its regional competitions.
As a result, television cricket fans around the region will once again have to tune into ESPN to watch the popular, fast-paced Caribbean Twenty20 competition which bowls off on Monday in Antigua with a double header at the Vivian Richards Cricket Ground.
ESPN Caribbean will show all 23 matches of the tournament which involves seven Caribbean teams, along with the three invited sides, Canada and English counties, Hampshire and Somerset.
“In addition to the matches on ESPN they will be shown LIVE in the UK on Euro Sport, so the deal is a better one for the overall viewership capacity of the tournament,” the source said.
While Sky Sports already has the rights to show the Digicel international home series, until 2012, as part of the arrangement, ESPN will be allowed to show a highlights package.  
Following the Antigua leg which ends on January 15, the historic Kensington Oval will host the remaining preliminary round matches between January 18 and 21 as well as the semifinals on January 22 and final on January 23.
But local fans, without the ESPN cable package option have to tune into CBC 94.7 FM radio for live ball-by-ball coverage on the Line & Length Network.
The ESPN’s television coverage will be hosted by sportscaster Barry Wilkinson and will include for the first time former West Indies pacer Curtly Ambrose, along with Jeffrey Dujon, Courtney Walsh and Fazeer Mohammed for the Antigua leg. Former West Indies opener Robert Samuels will replace Ambrose for the Barbados leg.
The radio coverage which will also be going worldwide will be anchored by experienced commentator and former CBC radio talk show host, Andrew Mason with analysis by Kenny Benjamin, Wayne Daniel and Hendy Wallace.