Matthew Hoggard: It seems for our biggest game I'll have a mic in my hand

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The Independent Online

The good news is that it looks as though I will have a role to play in today's Friends Life t20 quarter-final at Grace Road. But while a positive report earlier this week on my injured wrist gave me just a chance of returning to the Leicestershire side to face Kent, the likelihood is that I'll have a microphone in my hand this evening rather than a cricket ball.

Winning today would be a massive, massive boost for the club. For a start, it would mean a place in Finals Day at Edgbaston in three weeks and a big day out for our fans, who deserve a reward for their loyal support. On top of that it would put us one more victory closer to a place in the Champions League qualifying tournament, to be played in India towards the end of September, and two victories away from lifting a trophy this season.



2. We must win today for legend Nico on his farewell to Grace Road

Today's quarter-final is much bigger than any one player on either side. But for a real legend of the game this will be his last appearance at Grace Road before retirement.

Paul Nixon, wicketkeeper, batsman and one of the most enthusiastic cricketers of all time, is not far short of his 41st birthday but he's definitely got two more matches in him after this one, if only we can make it to Finals Day.

Nico (below) has had a terrific career, mainly with Leicestershire but also while playing for England and Kent. And while there may be a lot of miles on the clock, you only have to watch Paul – or listen to him – for a few minutes to know he is every bit as passionate, eager and energetic about the game now as he was when he set out 24 years ago.



3. Well done, India, for reprieving Bell when you were up against it

As you may have noticed, there were a few unusual happenings in cricket last week. The biggest talking point, by far, concerned Ian Bell and India's decision to withdraw their appeal about 20 minutes after it had been upheld.

So what if I'd been in M S Dhoni's position? What would I have said to Bell? "Look in the scorebook, mate, you're out!" No, I'd like to think I would have done the same thing as India's captain but, in all honesty, it is hard to say exactly how you would react until you find yourself in that situation. It's not something you can practise or rehearse, is it?

But well done to Dhoni and his team-mates for having the courage of their convictions.

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