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Last Updated: Sunday, 8 August, 2004, 12:32 GMT 13:32 UK
Leicestershire join fashion set
By Martin Gough
BBC Sport at Edgbaston

The Twenty20 script surely did not read like this - a county considered one of the least fashionable carrying off the hippest trophy in county cricket.

With Snape, Hodge and Dagnall to the fore, Leicestershire celebrate
Leicestershire sprung a massive upset at Edgbaston
Defending champions Surrey may have lost some of their lustre in other competitions this season but in the shortest form of the game they were still unbeaten - until 10pm on Saturday.

Instead it was Leicestershire, a side many have argued should be dropped from the county circuit, who showered themselves in champagne.

But to stick to sweeping generalisations is to do a disservice to the Foxes, who have reinvented themselves both on and off the field in the last two years.

The team has been revolutionised, with Australian Brad Hodge leading from the front but also after some key acquisitions.

Jeremy Snape
Leicestershire has made the headlines for the wrong reasons in the last few years
All-rounder Jeremy Snape
Controversially, they were the first to take advantage of European Union employment law to sneak South African spinner Claude Henderson and West Indian seamer Ottis Gibson past the overseas player quotas.

Eighteen months ago, England one-day all-rounder Jeremy Snape moved from Gloucestershire, where he played a hand in winning a glut of one-day trophies.

"They were at a similar stage to Gloucester when I joined - an unfashionable county looking to rebuild a team," Snape said.

"Leicestershire has made the headlines for the wrong reasons in the last few years.

"But they've started recruiting quite wisely, we've got some experienced senior professionals and some talented youngsters, which will hopefully bode well for the future."

Those headlines included a court case with two former players suing for wrongful dismissal, with the organisation of the club coming under fire for lacking professionalism.

That is not an accusation that could be levelled at the current set-up.

When you're not a team of superstars you have to combine together and work really hard
Captain Brad Hodge
The old committee structure was swept away and members became simply season ticket holders in a model more similar to football, allowing management to make key decisions unhindered.

One of the biggest surprises of this year's tournament was the crowd of 5,500 that packed sleepy Grace Road for the Foxes' group matches.

Hodge, already a heavy-run-scorer, added the vital missing piece when he assumed the captaincy from Phil DeFreitas after the first Twenty20 match.

"He's given us a concentration on the basics and a self-belief which we were lacking before," Snape said of his new skipper.

"There's no flash players in our side and by doing the basics very well, being well-drilled and training very hard we've lifted a trophy."

Hodges describes the focus of the Australian approach as: "The little things, the one-percenters."

Darren Maddy
But the new broom has not swept the whole of the team away with it.

Vital to this campaign has been Darren Maddy, who has reinvented himself as a one-day all-rounder since struggling as an England Test batsman.

In the semi-final victory over Glamorgan Maddy hit 72 from 40 balls, leaving opposing captain Robert Croft to say in despair: "He's really cooking on gas."

Nicknamed "Fire Starter" by team-mates, he also claimed a key wicket with his medium-pace and was responsible for the brilliant run out of Aussie Matthew Elliot with a throw from cover.

"We've [always] banked on one player playing well," said Hodge. "This year Maddy has done it and it has really set the tone, especially at the top of the order."

Twenty20 success, and Hodge's new reign, has seen the side challenging for promotion in both the Championship and the Totesport League.

"The last few weeks we've been playing some really good cricket - four-day one-day and Twenty20," Hodge added.

"We came in as underdogs but history shows we made the semi-final last year and put up a good show.

"This year we've been clearly the best side in our division, [won the] quarter-final, the semi-final and now the final."

Leicestershire may not be the most glittering county but there was no denying the sparkle of their Cup-winners medals.




WATCH AND LISTEN
Interview: Leicestershire captain Brad Hodge



Interview: Leicestershire's Charlie Dagnall




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