PMA: You’re a three-time Ashes winner, have the most caps for an England ODI player and a World T20 winning captain – what do you think is the most exciting form of the sport?
PC: I think the most exciting form to watch is probably T20 – it’s is just full of energy, full of pace, it’s powerful, it’s energetic, it’s what sport should be about and it’s highly skillful as well. But for me, the most exciting to play in is still Test cricket.
PMA: Do you think T20 has gone a long way to attracting new fans to all forms of cricket?
PC: Definitely. And it will continue to do so as well. I think for youngsters to watch a form of the game it is the ultimate – it’s action packed, it’s hitting sixes, it’s hitting boundaries, and that’s what you want to see as a spectator. You want to see that kind of action and you look at the fielding standards as well and the quality of the catches that are taken, you know I really do think that the game has gone to a new level in the last five years.
PMA: Do you think that’s resonating with people who may have traditionally said that cricket’s boring or slow?
PC: I think you get a new audience, you get a new spectrum of people who wouldn’t normally watch cricket. Test cricket goes on for 6-7 hours a day, but T20 is over in three hours, it’s easy to watch and you get a great atmosphere in the grounds.
England's confirmed World Twenty20 fixtures
16 Mar - England v West Indies 2pm
18 Mar - England v South Africa 2pm
23 Mar - England v TBC 9.30am
26 Mar - England v Sri Lanka 2pm
I think this World T20 is going to be off the scale in terms of the backing and the amount of people who would want to watch because cricket out in India is literally a religion to them, so for them to have T20 cricket in their own country, a World T20 in their own country, I think that it’s going to be a very noisy experience for all the players!
Click here for the World Twenty20 fixtures
PMA: You’re heading out there as coaching consultant with England, how do you fancy our chances?
PC: I think the way that we have played in the last year has put us in a good chance of doing something special. T20 cricket is very hard to predict in terms of who is going to win. You often go into a tournament thinking one team is going to dominate and a team you don’t think were anywhere near comes in and wins, so it’s harder to predict.
But from England’s point of view I think that we have the ammunition and the line up to do something very special. In the last year we have played some exceptional white ball cricket, we have now got a very powerful batting line and we have spin out in India. Obviously Adil Rashid turns the ball both ways and could be crucial to going on and winning. So they’ve got an opportunity; I’m not going to say they’re going to win it but I’m definitely going to say they have the opportunity to do so.
PMA: Who do else do you think has a chance?
PC: Well India are going to be the most obvious one. Their line up is full of amazing batsmen who play spin very well and you get a lot of spin out there. I think their home crowds are going to be like a 12th man, I don’t think they will feel under pressure because of it but it could work the other way. But teams like Sri Lanka as well, they know the conditions very well out there and so it’s up to one of the other teams to upset that and adapt to the pitches.
PMA: Since you retired from international cricket, what have been the differences when it comes to being a fan watching it on TV compared to actually being out there on the field yourself? Do you miss it?
PC: Yeah, I miss it. It’s very hard to replicate the intensity of playing international cricket. It’s a rollercoaster ride but it’s the time of your life, you never get to those levels when playing county cricket or commentating to what it’s like for playing for your country. In my opinion playing for your country is the ultimate so it is pretty tough actually.
PMA: On the plus side, do you find you have more time for things like going down the pub?
PC: Well I’ve always gone done the pub even when I was playing for England! But I’m still playing for Durham so I’m still very busy in terms of travel and through the winters I’m coaching a lot with England of course. But I do try to still get down to the pub and meet my brother, and at the cricket club I know everyone from my younger days of playing down there so I’ve still got a group of friends to go and catch up with now and then and watch the game.
PMA: Away from cricket, you’re a big Sunderland fan and the big Tyne-Wear derby match is coming up soon, so what do you think of the work Sam Allardyce has done? And what will you think will happen?
PC: Well I don’t want to put the muckers on Sunderland but luckily in the last few years we haven’t lost to Newcastle yet. I know it will have to end at some point, but I hope it’s not this year because we crucially need those three points probably more than Newcastle do. And Allardyce I’ve always thought he has been a manager that can get people out of trouble.
I think he has got a tag that people always thought he is not a clever manager, but he is better than that. He is a proper old school manager. It’s going to be good!
Sky Sports will broadcast live coverage of every game from the World T20 in India, starting 8 March 8 through to the final on 3 April.
Sunderland v Newcastle United is live on Sky Sports on 20 March at 1.30pm, followed by Manchester City v Manchester United at 4pm.