Prepare for a feast of entertainment

Andy Lloyd
WHILE all eyes are naturally on England&rsquo;s bid to reclaim that precious little urn from the Australians this summer, there is a small matter of a worldwide tournament taking place on home soil, which has almost gone unnoticed.<br /><br />Following the success of the inaugural competition in South Africa two years ago, the world&rsquo;s biggest hitters come to the game&rsquo;s spiritual home for the second ICC World Twenty20 competition this week &ndash; and it promises to provide a feast of entertainment. Amid three weeks of fast, hard-hitting action, cricketing showboating, such as switch-hits and reverse sweeps, are commonplace, while the glitz and glamour that comes with Twenty20 never fails to get crowds on their feet.<br /><br /><strong>BIG-SLOGGING STARS</strong><br />Hosts England set the ball rolling with an opening encounter with the Netherlands at Lord&rsquo;s on Friday, but &nbsp;I really can&rsquo;t see Paul Collingwood&rsquo;s men in the mix in the latter stages.<br /><br />Largely down our lack of participation in the Indian Premier League, we fall quite a way short of our sub-continent rivals when it comes to Twenty20 cricket, and our catch-up process needs a lot more time, at least until our own two-tier version of the IPL gets underway next summer.<br /><br />The beauty of Twenty20 cricket is that it takes just one moment of sheer genius, with bat or ball, to turn a game, and you would look no further than defending champions India to field the most potential match-winners. South Africa have also adapted to the 20-over game well, while whoever comes out of the &lsquo;Group of Death&rsquo; involving Sri Lanka, Australia and West Indies will fancy their chances.<br /><br />With the Ashes the No1 target and not much expected of England anyway, the pressure may be off just a touch. But, with home advantage, who knows, and if our lesser-known, big-slogging stars such as Graham Napier and Eoin Morgan can rediscover their blistering county form, then there could yet be reason to cheer.<br /><br />Let the games begin.