Cricket on the Internet

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The Independent Online

Last week's opening day of a new-look two-division County Championship was accompanied by traditional bad weather which featured prominently at most cricket sites on the web. Weather permitting, the NatWest Trophy kicks off tomorrow and may fare better in terms of match details.

Last week's opening day of a new-look two-division County Championship was accompanied by traditional bad weather which featured prominently at most cricket sites on the web. Weather permitting, the NatWest Trophy kicks off tomorrow and may fare better in terms of match details.

Lord's has most angles covered when it comes to web coverage of cricket (it was one of the first sites last week to break the England and Wales Cricket Board clearing all England players of any match-fixing allegations), but there are plenty of other sites that compete very well. CricInfo is probably the market leader. Its popularity is a testament to its comprehensive coverage - seven million people accessed it in the first quarter of this year.

It, too, is quick on breaking news. When the Hansie Cronje controversy erupted it was quick to cover that and provide an archive of related stories. Besides news, it caters for virtually all sorts of fans, with in-depth features and reports on international, domestic and women's cricket.

It offers summaries of live matches as well as full scorecards, and it runs interactive events such as online chat featuring players like Glamorgan's Steve Watkin, who was scheduled to answer questions after play against Surrey finished yesterday.

The site is huge. Its databases of stats, players, grounds, pictures and archived material going back to 1787 is capable of keeping aficionados happily engaged when matches are rained off. Fortunately, the structure is well thought out and it is difficult to get lost in the labyrinths. A home button escape route is always on hand.

The site is not about to rest on its laurels either. For this season it is promising to roll out more comprehensive features to report on the domestic season, including diaries from leading players and audio and video interviews. As well as increasing its live scores service, it is extending its coverage to include minor counties and second XI games.

CricInfo365, a joint venture between the 365 Corporation and CricInfo, is a free daily e-mail newsletter, currently delivered to more than 150,000 subscribers that can be signed up to from its own site. It is international in scope, offering match reports with hypertext links to scorecards and other resources.

Statistics from various competitions, letters to the editor, round-ups of the previous day's scores, the day's fixtures and a cricket question of the day (plus answer) completes the line-up. A version dedicated to Indian cricket is also available.

CricketLine.com is also part of the 365 stable. It covers much the same ground as CricInfo, with sections on domestic cricket and separate pages for international teams.

Apart from team stats, results, news, archives, and details of every cricketer to play at international level, it runs some interactive features such as cricket trivia, weekly e-mail news service, live chat and message boards.

For finding other cricket resources online, it has an excellent Web directory supplied by Sportszine UK, with hundreds of sites listed by category.

andy.oldfield@virgin.net

Site Addresses

CricInfo www.cricinfo.com/

CricInfo365 www.cricinfo365.com/

CricketLine.com www.cricketline.com/

Lord's Home Of Cricket www.lords.org/

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