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Improved coverage of LV= County Championship cricket in 2015

Tuesday 31st March 2015

The ECB is hoping for aiming for better multimedia coverage of the 125th season of the LV= County Championship with enhanced highlights and match reports in 2015.

New ambassador Mark Butcher, who won domestic cricket’s most coveted honour three times in his own playing career, will front an LV=CC highlights programme this summer, in which he will select one match from each round for extended coverage to enhance the highlights service available

Butcher will begin with the first match of Yorkshire’s title defence against newly-promoted Worcestershire on Sunday April 12 at New Road – the venue for the official launch of the competition tomorrow, on the eve of the domestic first-class season when six counties face MCC University opposition on Thursday.

But he is tipping new winners of the LV= title in 2015. “Can Yorkshire defend the title? My feeling is probably not,” said Butcher. “They are starting the season with six of their players in the Caribbean with England and even for a county with Yorkshire’s strength in depth, that is a tough ask.

“I wouldn’t completely rule it out before a ball is bowled, but I like the look of Sussex, Warwickshire and maybe even Nottinghamshire to make a challenge.

“In Division Two you’d have to look at Surrey and Lancashire as the big beasts who will be expecting to come up. But again it won’t be easy with other ambitious counties in that division like Derbyshire who will relish the prospect of having a crack at them.

“That’s good for the competition though, in both divisions. They’re very hard to predict, and there will be an extra edge with England away at the start of the season but international places up for grabs in all forms of the game.

"I like the fact that we talk about the LV= County Championship as the competition where Test players come from, and I’m really looking forward to watching more young talent come through this summer.”

Gordon Hollins, the ECB’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “We continue to support the competition in a range of ways, helping to fund the BBC’s ball-by-ball radio commentaries which will be made available on tablets and mobile handsets for the first time this season – and also wider media coverage as part of an expanded match-reporting service which will be freely available to regional and national media.

“We are delighted to have Mark Butcher as the ambassador for an improved package of video highlights, supported by LV= and available through our own website and those of the counties. There were more than 525,000 views of the highlights last season on the county ePlayer syndication channel alone.

“Finally, while celebrating the present and future of the Championship, we should also recognise its history as an intrinsic part of the sporting summer, and ECB is pleased to support the publication of an excellent new book by the cricket historian Stephen Chalke marking the competition’s 125th anniversary.”

Links to all BBC county cricket commentaries will appear here this summer