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February 12, 1999

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ESPN-Star Sports plan blanket WC coverage

ESPN and Star Sports have unfolded an ambitious plan to telecast live all the 42 matches of the cricket World Cup beginning in England on May 14.

Talking to reporters in New Delhi, Rik Dovey, senior vice-president of ESPN, said an extensive package of as many as eleven programmes will be telecast in the run-up to the World Cup.

He said the viewers will be provided a feast of features, including panel discussions, star profiles, statistics, quizzes and flashbacks of historic matches.

During the World Cup, the two channels will feature ball-to-ball live coverage of every match. Up-to-date information will be brought to the viewers from a live studio located in London.

A special crew from these channels will be following the Indian team during the entire tournament, Dovey said. Besides daily coverage, there will be a 30-minute breakfast show everyday to give the information the viewers require first thing in the morning.

''Our objective is to make our coverage a most enjoyable and memorable experience for millions of our viewers across the sub-continent,'' said R K Singh, chief executive officer of ESPN India.

There will be a 13-episode 30-minute quiz show involving two teams from India and Pakistan. The Indian team, led by Sunil Gavaskar, consists of Ravi Shastri, Krishnamachari Srikkanth and Sanjay Manjrekar, while the Pakistan team will be led by Asif Iqbal with Zaheer Abbas, Rameez Raja and Sikander Bakth.

A 30-minute spotlight programme will profile each of the nine teams. It will analyse star players from each team, their recent performances and chances in the World Cup.

Eight 60-minute shows will trace tournaments won by India over the last one-and-a-half years and assess the team's strength and weaknesses. The following are the matches featured:

1)India versus Australia at Sharjah, 1998, preliminary match

2) India vs Australia at Sharjah, 1998, final 3) Pakistan vs India at Karachi, 1997, 2nd odi

4) India vs Australia at Kochi, 1998, Pepsi Triangular

5) India vs Zimbabwe at Baroda, 1998, Pepsi Triangular

6) India vs Australia at Kanpur, 1998, Pepsi Triangular

7) India vs Kenya at Calcutta, 1998, Coca Cola Triangular, final

8) India vs Sri Lanka at Colombo, 1998, Singer-Akai Cup, final

A six-episode 60-minute series will show highlights of the 'Man of the Series' performances in the last six World Cups besides a 60-minute 5-episode series on each of the finals played from 1975 to 1992.

A 29-episode 60-minute programme will bring highlights of each match played in the 1996 World Cup held in the sub-continent. The series will also feature a two-and-a-half hour episode of the final.

Interviews of players like Kapil Dev and Sunil Gavaskar who were in the Indian team that won the 1983 World Cup will be interviewed in a four-episode 30-minute programme.

A studio-based show will analyse, in two 60-minute sessions, the fortunes of each team besides a 6-episode weekly preview showcasing the teams' training, venues, selection and other topics.

There will also be a personal feature on coaches and managers besides the players. 'Cricket Classics', another programme, will show a recap of winning moments of great cricket teams from the 70s to the early 90s.

Meanwhile in England, live coverage of the World Cup will be shown on both Sky Sports and BBC Television and Radio following an agreement announced by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).

Sky Sports and BBC will share TV coverage of the 42-match tournament to be staged in May and June 1999 while BBC Radio will also broadcast commentary and updates on the games.

The two broadcasters will share the production responsibilities for worldwide coverage of the event. During the preliminary league phase, coverage will alternate between Sky Sports and BBC.

Coverage of the nine-match Super Six stage to determine the four semifinalists will be in the ratio five to Sky and four to the BBC. Each broadcaster will then telecast one semifinal.

The final, slated for June 20, will be shown live on both Sky and BBC, and broadcast on BBC Radio as well.

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