Television

MAX announces commentary team for Champions

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MUMBAI: With just a few days for the start of the ICC Champions Trophy, Sri Lanka 2002, SET MAX, which has the cable and satellite telecast rights for the tourney, today announced the commentators and experts for the ICC Champions Trophy, Sri Lanka 2002.

The announcement was made a few hours before the Board Of Cricket Control in India (BCCI) was to make its announcement as to the composition of the team that would be doing duty for the country in the Emerald Isles.

Max's panel of commentators are Tony Greig, Sanjay Manjrekar, Robin Singh, Ravi Shastri, Barry Richards, Ian Bishop, Jeff Thomson, Roshan Mahanama and MAX brand ambassador Kapil Dev. Shastri is currently on the ESPN Star Sports commentary team and the current deal with him is restricted to this tournament. According to the information available, Shastri is not on an exclusive retainer basis with ESPN Star Sports.

There is a three man expert panel that will be in action during the event - Kapil, former Sri Lanka captain Arjuna Ranatunga and explosive cricketer and former India opener K Srikkanth.

MAX business head Rajat Jain was quoted as saying in an official release: "We have signed on some of the world's best commentators to provide our viewers and cricket fans with insightful inputs and information during the matches. Cricket fans watching the game on MAX can look forward to an exciting tournament guided by the world's best commentators."

MAX has, meanwhile, branded its programming package "Extraaa Innings".

About the sales packages in the offing, Jain said: "We have created several exciting packages around the highlights from each game, including Weather Report, Master Blaster, Super Fours, Super Sixes, Fall of Wickets, Safe Hands, Pitch Report, Toss Report, Great Saves, Close Shaves, Turning Point, Q&As, and several more."

KEY ELEMENTS OF "EXTRAAA INNINGS":
1. Ruby Bhatia and Charu Sharma will be the two presenters who will take the entire family through a whole day of cricket entertainment, which will comprise of the customized live action and the entire wrap-around programming.

2. Thematically, MAX will extend the personality of the film Lagaan, into the cricket arena. A special character from the film will provide viewers with irreverent, tongue-in-cheek entertainment, throughout the day, intermittently. This Lagaan character will be part of the live telecast, plus one of the several key entertainers during the breaks. For example, when a batsman hits a four or a six, or gets out this special character will be there to express viewer and batsman emotion.

3. To appeal to our younger audiences and the young at heart, MAX has developed an endearing animated character who will come alive whenever there is any key action on the live telecast - be it a batsman getting out bowled or caught or run out, or scoring a duck, etcetera.

4. MAX will increase and encourage viewer involvement during the matches though a unique, innovative prediction game called PREDIKTA. Predikta is a simple interactive game that will give viewers several opportunities everyday to be lucky winners and win loads of prizes. Participation will be by SMS, and the prizes everyday include a motorcycle, a colour TV, a washing machine, a refrigerator, watches, and much more. This game will run the entire duration of the ICC Champions Trophy.

5. MAX has also developed several cricketing interstitials or vignettes and these are:
"Khiladi Number 1": Profiles of cricket players "Maiden Over": Ordinary women plus female celebrities talking about and expressing their opinions about cricket and cricketers."Mahasangram": Famous clashes from the world of cricket like Sachin Tendulkar and Shane Warne etc."It's My Life": Cricket stars talking about their interests, hobbies and lifestyle outside of cricket."Cricket Dil Se": Film stars, celebrities, cricketers and ordinary fans talking about things the game and the world of cricket. "Hum Kisi Se Kam Nahin": Team profiles of each cricket team, highlights their key strengths, players, with comments from experts / contemporaries.

The typical pre-match programming will begin with Ruby Bhatia, Charu Sharma and the Lagaan character doing a lead-in to a discussion on the game of the day, covering viewer and fan expectations, to the training reports and details on the preparations made by the teams of the day, Predikta, and much more. There will be food specific segments and lighter segments like fun moments on the field or where MAX will accompany cricketers on lifestyle visits in and around the city and to track what they do and how they unwind! Viewers can also look forward to some spectacular sites and sounds of Sri Lanka with a video travelogue. And viewers can get set for a barrel of laughs and loads of information as presenters will explain in simplistic terms, the intricacies of cricket. There will be an astrology section too, at the beginning and end of the day's play!

The entire customisation and programming for the ICC Champions Trophy to be shown on MAX is being done by TWI, the television arm of IMG.

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