One of cricket's longest sponsorships - and the last one dependant on a tobacco company - came to an end in 2002 after 31 seasons. Established in 1972 in the wake of the success of the end-of-season 60-over competition and the resulting Sunday league, the B&H was always the League Cup final to the Gillette/NatWest's FA Cup. But, nevertheless, it was an immediate success, enjoying its heyday in the 1970s before settling down into comfortable middle-age in the 1980s. In its latter years it increasingly came under fire, critics arguing it was one competition too many and also attacking it for its rather clumsy system of zonal matches. The formatting was tinkered with several times but increasing legislation against tobacco advertising gave the authorities the chance to quietly kill the concept off.
In its defence, the B&H provided good income for the counties and some decent early-season entertainment. It also allowed non first-class sides to play against the big boys and, on occasion, beat them. In 1989 Combined Universities, led by Michael Atherton, came within a whisker of reaching the semi-finals, and eight years later Ireland pulled off a memorable win over Middlesex.
Benson & Hedges Cup
Summary of County wins
4 - Lancashire 3 - Gloucestershire, Kent, Leicestershire, Surrey 2 - Essex, Hampshire, Middlesex, Somerset 1 - Derbyshire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Yorkshire
Ricky Ponting talks about Mumbai Indians' amazing turnaround, his relationship with Harbhajan Singh, and being part of perhaps the most star studded coaching line-up in cricket
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Michael Holding on his regrets over West Indies' behaviour in New Zealand in 1980, why Mohammad Amir deserves a second chance, and how crazy workloads are killing cricket
The five pairs who have added the most runs in Twenty20s
Pakistan umpire Ahsan Raza suffered severe injuries during the attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore. Six years later, he is eager to officiate his first international game at home
Garry Sobers talks about batting innovations and what T20 does to young players
In spite of Ajinkya Rahane's outstanding form, Rajasthan Royals' inability to bowl well at the death has hamstrung them throughout the season
Instead of determination, we had destruction. Instead of patience, we had passion. And instead of percentage cricket we had bull's-eyes and jackpots