'Extraaa Innings' on Max gets more muscle for Champions Trophy

MUMBAI: One of the biggest cricket tournaments the Champions Trophy in England is a mere 10 days away. Max, which will air the event in India has announced that its pre and post match initiative Extraaa Innings has been enhanced and improved upon.

Speaking at a media briefing this afternoon Sony CEO Kunal Dasgupta said, "Our studio overlooking the Thames River is one of the largest ever used for a cricket event. We are thinking in terms of having a live audience for Extraaa Innings. The actual production of the matches is being done by Sky Sports.

"With the Champions Trophy we are aiming for higher ratings than what we achieved during last year's World Cup. The ICC has appreciated the fact that through Max's efforts cricket has gone from just being of interest to males to being a family affair. At the same time we realise that we cannot simply keep on repeating ourselves. Therefore we have made a number of additions."

Two key additions have been made to the Extraaa Innings team, which once again will be led by Charu Sharma and Mandira Bedi. The first one is Rakshandha Khan who stars in Sony's serial Jassi Jaissi Koi Nahin. She will be the roving reporter going around the grounds getting fans reactions as well as other interesting goings on off the pitch.

In addition The Times of India national sports editor Ayaz Menon comes on board the panel of experts which already include a raft of former cricketers like Sanjay Manjrekar and Michael Slater. Menon is expected to provide a journalistic perspective to the goings on.

Several new components have been added to Extraaa Innings. For starters Bedi's role has been expanded. She will host news segments updating viewers on the matches in terms of the key moments. An interactive quotient has been introduced courtesy Q&A. Fans can ask the expert panel questions, which will be shortlisted.

Voice Of India allows cricket buffs to express their opinions on the key issues. Then you have Kaptain's Korner. Here viewers can talk about what they would do differently if they were leading a side. For instance on a bad pitch who should open the batting?

Mimic artist Vikram Sathe will bowl viewers over with laughter with Doosra. Here he will do voice imitations and skits taking potshots not just at cricketers and commentators but also at politicians. "My work will be more contextual and have a greater degree of complexity" Sathe added.

Dasgupta added that the channel is looking at the possibility of working with the technology Hawk Eye in a different way. The channel is also looking at adding different graphics into the show package. At the same time Max always looks at giving viewers a flavour of the place where the action is happening in. This will be done through the Postcards segment. It will consists of a series of capsules which will take viewers to various interesting places in England.

In addition as a promotional measure Max will also release a downloadable mobile phone game featuring its brand ambassador Kapil Dev on 10 September. The number is 2525. Users have to make Kapil Dev bowl the opposition out within a certain score.

As far as the tournament is concerned the United States takes part for the first time. In addition all the matches will have a rest day. In case of a rain interruption the match will be completed the next day. This has never been done before. You will also have a third and fourth umpire to make sure that there is no mistake with any decision made out in the middle.

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