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Stanford brings riches and headaches

Jonathan Agnew | 18:50 UK time, Wednesday, 11 June 2008

It really was a bizarre day at Lord's.

When Sir Allen Stanford landed his private helicopter on the Nursery End, the traditionalists would've left the ground wondering if this is a sensible venture that the ECB is embarking on.

My own view of Sir Allen, having talked to the man himself and people around him, is that he is a genuine West Indian cricket enthusiast. He has spent 26 years living in the Caribbean and really enjoyed being part of their success 20 years ago.

He certainly has a world plan - he is, after all, a global financier. He has the potential to take cricket to the States, he is American and could connect with people in the States like no-one has done before.

But I think he wants to make the West Indies a world force once again.

He is a very strong-willed individual and I'm quite convinced he is used to getting everything his own way, so it will be interesting to see how well the England and Wales Cricket Board work with him.

The £50m winner-takes-all, five-year deal suits everyone. It means the ECB now has extra leverage to keep England's cricketers away from the lure of the IPL, offering them a potential £500,000 for three hours of work.

Sir Allen was keen to emphasise the winner-takes-all aspect, but even if the England players lose, those with central contracts will still earn their monthly salary.

sir_allen_blog446.jpg

But the real problem will be team spirit and unity, especially the players who will miss out. And what would happen if a player dropped a match-winning catch on the last ball of a match? I shudder to think.

As a cricket traditionalist, I hate this whole business of money and financing dominating cricket. Sport is business, you can't be naïve. But we are talking huge sums never heard of before, so it's only natural the proposals have been met with scepticism from some quarters.

The Texan is also in the process of bringing a so-called Stanford international mini-series based in the UK in 2010, probably at Lord's, featuring England, a Stanford All-Stars XI and two other countries, likely to be Sri Lanka and New Zealand.

However, there is a massive difference between this series - a one-off match over five years - and the international Champions League proposal, which is basically a ruse of the BCCI to try and kill off the rebel Indian Cricket League and discredit its players.

Quite how the counties feel about having their selections influenced by India's powerbrokers, one can only imagine.

If it's managed properly, Twenty20 should bankroll international cricket for years to come.

However, if the administrators chase every dollar going, greed and opportunism will have killed the Golden Goose - and that will be a tragedy.

I'm interested in your views - will you be supporting this team against the Stanford All-Stars in the same way as you would a normal England team against the West Indies?

Or is it simply players earning vast quantities of money for themselves?

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Well, there is no doubt that it is more money than cricket. Also everyone would love to see England v Windies than them against an all-star XI. The ECB has taken up the gauntlet thrown by the BCCI through Standford. Just like the bonsai format this money battle is here also to stay. It all looks very exciting at first but in a long run it will do the game harm.
    The new developments got be checked by the ICC before the loss becomes irreparable.

  • Comment number 2.

    personally i don't like it when international teams are touted about like club teams. but hey ho. one can but shrug.

    the bigger a sport grows the further away from the ACTUAL game it gets.


  • Comment number 3.

    Being a traditionalist, I still dont like the idea of Twenty Twenty cricket. After all, the whole idea of the game is not about bang..bang.. and making the game loaded in favor of the bastsman.
    I think in the long run this is not good for the game even though it seems to have caught people's eye. Stanford's concept is nice and it would rival BCCI's monopoly for sure. But am I missing something, what is his take on this whole thing- just helping out ECB and WICB? Just philanthropy for the game of circket?

  • Comment number 4.

    To be honest, I think Stanford's ideas are better than this Champions League.
    The Champions League will simply turn into counties wrestling IPL teams to secure their own players, and then arguing with this idiots who say the ICL players can't play. This Champions League is a complete joke, and i hope the idea is duly flushed down the toilet.

  • Comment number 5.

    India obviously runs the game, given that everything ends up boiling down to money and they have so much of it, but now they have started dictating who can play in domestic competitions it surely has gone too far.

    Modi is a joke and just because he can't get his own house in order, he shouldn't start trying to move the furniture in others!

  • Comment number 6.

    I am also uncomfortable about Twenty20 and the total commercialisation of the game but having just come home after being at the Oval there is noithng like seeing a big crowd supporting a sport you love. Would I rather be at a 4 day county match with 20 other people or at a Twenty20 with 15,000? I really dont know the answer to my own question.

  • Comment number 7.

    Anyone find it strange that all the other test playing nations that stanford has invited are all playing under their contries names yet the West Indies are playing as the Stanford XI.

    I believe Sir Allen's long term goal is to create a team that he owns and can market and profit from with no regard for the history and passion that is West Indies cricket.

  • Comment number 8.

    I do feel uneasy bout this venture but I don't know why! Its a huge amount of money to be playoing for and could either launch cricket into the sightscreens of success by being introduced on telly for Amercicans by Stanford or will it just be remembered as a nice jaunt for cricket in a few years time?

    I hope this encourages success for cricket and have absoluteky no doubt that 20/20 is the way, (try selling Test to a foreign country). The way nthat cricket in all forms is going to be popular is by expanding 20/20 to catch their attehntions and then by drip feeding them 50 over then Test.

    Its too early to know atm, but indoubtedly this is pretty historic for cricket!

  • Comment number 9.

    twenty 20 cricket dismays me as much as the prominence of one-dayers. Cricket has lost its soul, and i believe that many of the technical inabilities that you can attribute to england's "top-level" batsmen (collingwood springs to mind) are caused by these various bastardised forms of this great sport.

  • Comment number 10.

    To #7, i think hews marketing a West Indies All-Star XI, hes going to cherry pick the best talent from the 20/20 cup comp over there. Like making a fantasy team out of our cup and calling it Englan XI or w.e.

  • Comment number 11.

    I don't see what all the fuss is about this will stop players turning down central contracts to play in the ipl keeping the england team together which can only bea good thing

  • Comment number 12.

    The 20/20 bubble will burst in time however I think it has great merit, please read on. Technique will find people out and we will realise we may lose the longer version altogether.
    It is not baseball with stumps. Bowling, batting and fielding techniques will improve. 20/20 will demand that is so.
    If we look ahead and take the positives from this, so will test cricket. 100 overs in a test in a day a side on 400 for 5. 20/20 gives a positive, not defensive approach to cricket. Batters will still need a sound technique, defence and attack and hit the bad ball. As a result more bad balls are hit in tests already. Bowlers learn quickly. We must never let both forms of the game come too close to each other, however, if you are good enough to play one format, you are good enough to play the other
    Finally though, we must make sure the spirit of cricket is never lost. Heaven help if it becomes too football like. The game demands concentration to watch and play! Ultimately though it demands respect. Good luck to those who earn a few bob. I actually think we will find more talent as more are drawn in to play and realise they can 'cut it' and with good coaching they can become world beaters at all formats.
    Thoughts from a cricket lover.

  • Comment number 13.

    The ECB have just sold the soul of cricket down the river to the highest bidder. It is so very clear where their priorities lie as their previous track record has shown and to see them fawning over Alan Stanford and being pictured with the $20M dolars in cash was excruciating.

    2 Observations:

    1/ How does a player motivate himself in future for Test Cricket for relative peanuts when he can earn $1m for a glorified beer match which wont even have international status?

    2/This has dire consequences for test cricket - how can Alan Stanford be a true fan when he says he finds test cricket boring! And this from a man who watched the exciting West Indian team of the 1980's. 20/20 invented in this county may well prove to be a poisoned chalice.

  • Comment number 14.

    Is the ECB getting an income from inventing Twenty20 or was it given out as a gift to the world? Anyone know the story?

  • Comment number 15.

    I wont be watching it or even taking any interest at all. Mr Stanford may be a cricket fan but has very little knowledge of its grass roots support. It wont take off for long, and when it fails, I wont be there witha tissue..... RIP Cricket

  • Comment number 16.

    I really don't understand why spectators are supposed to care that the already well-rewarded players are playing for a huge some of money. It's just a glorified gameshow. I'd rather watch It's A Knockout.

  • Comment number 17.

    The difference can be seen in the way that cricket fans remember obscure facts about Test Cricket going back a hundred and twenty years, and many can do the same for first-class cricket in England, Australia and elsewhere, but the stats from last week's one-day international are forgotten. The same applies to the 40-over and 50-over competitions here and overseas - all long-since forgotten. Without exception, all the pyjama/thrash cricket stars earned their stardom by playing Test Cricket. The two forms of the game are probably incompatible. The skills needed to build an innings in the Test arena are not those required for fast runs in the short game. Similarly the skills required by a bowler to avoid being thrashed are not the same as those required to prosper in Tests. How many spinners will there be in Twenty/20, apart from Warne and Chucker who are both in the twilight of careers spent playing Tests? Will Twenty/20 encourage other than mediocre medium-pacers whose objective will be to minimise runs conceded rather than seeking to take wickets? The world is big enough for both, but Test cricket looks set to become the poor relation.

  • Comment number 18.

    I'm finding this whole thing totally bizarre. Stanford, a man who must be intelligent to have made so much money, hates test cricket but wants to throw a ludicrous sum for an annual series of meaningless one-off 20/20 thrashes? Is he barking mad or does he have another agenda, such as promoting some sort of orange bat he has been marketing?

  • Comment number 19.

    14 , didn't Martin Crowe have something to do with inventing the format of 20/20 ?

  • Comment number 20.

    This is not cricket. I had reservations about the IPL initially but it turned out to be an interesting tournament with some new talent coming through. But these winner-take-all games are pointless. Its like the super cup in football, nobody really cares, its just a money making exercise. The losing team is going to have a very large anticlimax after a lot of razzmatazz and little to show for it. Who knows what that will do to the players and team spirit. It could be an anticlimax for most people if, as is likely with both these teams, one team collapses
    Sport is a business but after a certain point it ceases to be sport and turns into some contrived, over-hyped, grotesque stage show.

  • Comment number 21.

    Are these games considered full internationals?

    I see England are playing a Stanford XI so not the actual West Indies?


    If managed well I think this can only be good for cricket around the world as long as the balance is maintained between first class cricket and 20:20

    I do fear that the 50 over game is now in terminal decline however

  • Comment number 22.

    Firstly I would like to applaud Stanford for his thinking and generosity.

    Its quite obvious Stanford is looking to generate interest in W.Indies cricket. Whether this be in global terms, or, more importantly, in the W.Indies themselves.

    Without Stanford cricket in the Caribbean would die a death - it has been doing for the past 20years or so. He is offering it a chance to survive and flourish.

    England have been chosen as they are STILL the biggest ticket in World cricket.

    The players who will be given the opportunity will, Im sure, gladly accept.

    The players missing out will not be happy. Being through the ill timed injury, loss of form, or the subjective selection process.

    It will generate wealth and resentment in equal measure.




  • Comment number 23.

    It's a Thursday or a Friday, late morning. I sit down to work at my pc and turn on the radio. I'm a little early. There's a brief snatch of the sports extra promo loop (Lewis Hamilton wins....).

    Then the steel band starts up and I know that from now until round about the time you can think of having a drink, there will be test match cricket. And again tomorrow, and tomorrow and, weather permitting, tomorrow and tomorrow.

    As long as this continues, I don't care a damn what they get up to to pay for it.

  • Comment number 24.

    If the Stanford team was playing as the proper West Indies this while ephisode would have far greater credibility. Stanford's cash is most welcome though.

    In the end the whole 20/20 worldwide match planning mess, driven by the Indian cricket administrators absurdness, will hopefully be rectified into a single annual world competition.

  • Comment number 25.

    Thanks for the comments, Jonathan, but even you are not worried enough. Those who do not fear for the future of Test cricket are being naive, like PM Chamberlain. The most important point we have learned over the last year or two is that T20 is NOT slap and giggle; it is in fact a highly skilled and profoundly tactical sport, requiring specialised and diverse skills from batsmen, bowlers and fielders. Contrary to expectations, wicket-taking, not economy, appears to be the key to winning; and preserving your wicket against canny bowling seems more important, all-in-all, than the reckless pursuit of run-rate. This is the problem: it is a new, legitimate and highly entertaining and marketable sport. This is what Stanford has recognised.

    Almost from the beginning of one-day cricket, there have been 'one-day specialists'. Nowadays they include the likes of Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath. But just look at the England setup: Vaughan cannot play one-day cricket--he does not seem to know how. Collingwood was a 'one-day specialist' who learnt the Test match game. (He is still at his best when he plays his 'natural game' in Tests; when he blocks he is slower than Boycott, and about a tenth as prolific.) But the real key here is fellows like Mascarenhas: he WILL NEVER BE A TEST PLAYER, but he is a simply terrific short-form asset, taking pace off the ball and swatting sixes with the new juiced bats and great bat speed. There is NO COMPATIBILITY BETWEEN THESE DIFFERENT KINDS OF PLAYERS.

    That's the issue: the 20 over game is a different sport, which requires a different skill set, and the money will do the talking, as to which form, Test or T20, young sportsmen (well, athletes) will gravitate towards.

    Everyone is saying sensible things, but I want to highlight a point that Jonathan makes: the 'sudden death' aspect of this particular contest that Stanford has set up, with the winner taking all, is profoundly counter to the spirit of cricket, both as a club and team game, and as THE sport still being played in the world that REALLY is about how you play the game: not exclusively about WHO WINS. True cricket fans will never forget those noble draws. Absent forever from this format will be the achievement of 'saving the match'--Americans like Stanford will never understand the difference between drawing and losing, or what heroism there is in 'saving' a match.

    From a real cricket fan in Austin, Texas.

  • Comment number 26.

    i must say with time everything changes.
    odi came in the early 70s and the traditionalist forcasted doom for test cricket.
    but after 9 odi world cup it has to die a natural death in world cup 11.
    the t20 should be considered improvement to 50/50.
    financial moghuls like sir allen and the ipl strength can take cricket to new dizzy heights in world of sports.
    the once mighty windies crumbled due to lack of money in the game.
    to compete with other sports financial rewards are neccessary.
    standford XI is clearly a bizniz investment, and its a great idea.
    gudluck to all !!

  • Comment number 27.

    #19

    ...sort of, he created Cricket Max in the late 1990s, which was a forerunner. It didn't last long and was a bit crepe, to be honest.

    Aggers, why should there be any desire at all to 'take cricket to the States'? Is it supposed to be some sort of sign of cricket 'having made it', or something?

    As for the rest of this malarkey...*shakes head sadly*...it's like a whole lot of little boys playing in their gold coins sandpits, throwing tanties when things don't go their way, and doing the rich boy equivalent of taking their ball and going home, except in this case 'going home' = 'making your own competition.' One giant peeing contest, in other words.

    I don't hate 20/20, but I do hate that it's being used as a weapon rather than a tool. There's absolutely room for it in cricket, but it shouldn't be wielding the power it does atm, especially to the detriment of the game as a whole.

  • Comment number 28.

    Stanford's £50 million investment into cricket should be welcomed, but I don't think what he proposes will help the West Indies.

    That £50 million would be better used to set up an International Players League. Done properly, as Aggers says it could be very good for cricket. However, it must be done wisely, and the money spread evenly across the cricketing nations, so it does not turn into a UAFA Champions League. The revenue raised, for example could be ear marked for grass roots development projects.

    As for the Stanford All Stars V England. I would turn that into a charity event, and have it as a Stanford All Stars V MCC, by doing this you could allow international players on both teams, the MCC ones being International players who play for the counties.

    Two things are for certain though, firstly by doing this you help test cricket, but only if the money is invested for the future, into grounds, facilities, and player development, and lastly I believe it will be the death nail of ODI's as we know them.

    And good job to!! One Day Internationals have become stayed and boring, and you can predict winners quite easily.

    Twenty Twenty isn't at the present! By scraping ODI's you allow more countries to participate, therefore more matches.

    Whatever happens it is going to be an interesting few years for cricket.

  • Comment number 29.

    p.s. If this Stanford team of T20 specialists becomes the money standard for cricket, it will be as though the Harlem Globetrotters became the reality of basketball. We've seen the images today of Sirs Viv Richards, Garfield Sobers and Ian Botham huddled around a vat of $50 bills. Shame. Shame. Shame. These men were heroes who played for country, for cricket, for camaraderie, and for a stipend. Why should they preside over this circus? Why pose for a picture that is its own caricature? Wouldn't it have gone on anyway, without them?

  • Comment number 30.

    Although I am happy for the competition to be trialled, it concerns me that ECB have not learnt the lessons of the past, when organising games against 'made up' teams. Recent evidence has shown that when international teams have played an 'Asian XI' or particularly the fiasco when Australia played a "World XI', players playing purely for money do not have the same motivation or preparation as when playing for their country, and all the implications of failure that that can imply.

  • Comment number 31.

    I fear for the future of test Cricket. Does anyone share my fears? It occurs to me that twenty20 will simply get bigger and bigger and become more like football's Champions League than a fun competition, and take the emphasis away from the best form, in my opinion, of cricket. Test Cricket.

  • Comment number 32.

    Oh dear! I really fear for cricket in this country now given this vast sum of money that has come on offer. Whilst the ECB and the England players drool over the prospect of such huge payouts, I cant halp wondering if it will do the sport any good. Yes, the money is great if it is used in the right way but take a look at Englands belegured football team. The reason for their downfall is the money being wafted around the premiership such that the players largely become dissolusioned when it comes to playing for England given the vast sums spent on importing foreign players. If Twenty20 is to bankroll the sport as Aggers points out, the money must be spent correctly in this country improving grassroots cricket and bringing new England qualified talent into the game.

    The ECB have also got to sort out this Kolpac mess, Chris Cairns now can play for Notts, just because he happens to have a Dutch wife; outrageous. It will totally cripple the game if this stupid EU loophole is not closed.

    In the meantime, I can only hope that we do not end up with a group of England cricketers akin to their football counterparts; dissolusioned, vastly overpaid, poorly managed and incoherent. As sportsmen, the highest honour is to represent your country at the highest level. If the cash lure becomes a greater motivation than that, it simply is not sport. The ECB should consider the level of commitment their players have if suddenly they find themselves dangling massive cash carrots to keep them going. Their are players in the county circuit that would give their right ear to play for England never mind the money. Thats as hungry as in international should be and if Standford throws the money at them, they can only end up bloated and with severe indigestion!

  • Comment number 33.

    This latest financial involvement in the sport make me want more and more to go and watch the County Championship more and more. Yes, Twenty20 may be an interesting prospect, but it's certainly not the "cricket" that I know. Down at the oval, it's considerably cheaper to watch a proper 90-over day of cricket than to watch a 40-over game. Why should I bother? I'll take the traditional stuff over the bank balance stuff every time whilst we still have it.

  • Comment number 34.

    The hypocrisy from the majority f the English fans here is astounding. So Aggers has spoken to Stanford and that makes it alright. Others write in saying the Champions League is a joke but Stanford is the saviour. Maybe Aggers should spend some time with Modi and then he might see a different perspective.

    We now have the expected scenario of Botham standing next to his buddy Viv telling us all is dandy when just a few months ago he refused to attend the T20 tournament in SA on account that it wasn't proper cricket.

    I'd like to see ppl be a bit more consistent and bury their obvious prejudices. Enough of the India and BCCi bashing.

    If IPL, Champions League and Modi are rotten, then so is Stanford and his egotistical competition. We saw so much venom directed towards the Indians for staging a competition that allows players from every country to participate. A tournament that is likely to run for no longer than 4 weeks in its 2nd season, in the month of April when it always rains in England.

    Yet Aggers concludes that Stanford will now prevent English players from the lure of IPL. Firstly, this implies there is smething evil about the IPL. Secondly, Stanford's extravaganza will only benefit the top 15 or so English T20 players. I doubt you will see the likes of Ali Brown turning down the Mumbai Indians next season because he has no chance of participating in the caribbean event.

    Finally, Stanford's competition will still depend on Indian TV viewership. Yet, he has the gall to label the Indians as a 800lb gorilla. What to call Stanford dropping in on Lords in a helicopter and behaving like a US President with his poodles (Giles Clarke et al) in tow? If Modi had dropped in Lords in a similar fashion, I suspect god ole Aggers would have written something entirely different.

  • Comment number 35.

    We need Michael Vaughan to make a stand and to tell the likes of Pietersen, Bell, Cook, Collingwood, Broad, Sidebottom, Anderson etc. that if they want to earn £500k+ be my guest, BUT........

    You can't play for the Test team.

  • Comment number 36.

    The news about the Stanford series is more welcoming than that of the Champions League...it seems more professional and realistic. I feel the other boards especially the Indian Board is trying to grab the 20/20 revolution by the throat and choke out every penny possible.

    However I am totally against these tournaments, not because im a Test fanatic or because i like the traditional game. ITS PURELY BECAUSE OTHER TEST PLAYING NATIONS ARE BEING LEFT OUT.

    Its like having a Cricket World Cup and leaving out anyone who is either a poor sibling or not "marketable".

    Where are the Sri Lanka's, Pakistan and New Zealands of the world? Some of these teams have the best ODI and 20/20 players...you cant blame them for not getting their name into the hat. Hardly any country will play them in a test, no one is willing to tour.

    Cricket has become a boring merry go round. Its all about India, Australia, South Africa and England. Financial superiority is doing all the talking and it will lead to a divide like you see in the English Premier League.

  • Comment number 37.

    What is going to happen to the England team? Is this going to split the team? Will this change the way players want to play their cricket? Your guess is as good as mine and only time will tell but I think that this venture could damage the England team way beyond anyone's thinking.

    Players the like of Kevin Pietersen would probably make this kind of money if he'd been allowed to play in the IPL and, if he was back to super fitness, Freddie, but there are players who have worked vital parts of there anatomy off in the England cause who will never see a penny of this payday because they are not "specialists". Is that fair, in this context, that just because you play for the England Twenty20 side you could make an extra $1,000,000 on top of your salary?

    I do realise that our England players make a fair amount of money from the game but as JA says "... a potential £500,000 for three hours of work" has got to be better than "... £230,000 for playing seven Tests" (The Independent. http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/cricket/salary-leak-places-ecb-on-back-foot-793618.html%29.

    Could one way out of these problems be the creation of a Standford-style Twenty20 team called "Great Britain" and not use any of the England setup?

    They will have their own coaches, players and backroom staff who only play in these kinds of Twenty20 games. They can all receive a stipend from the ECB but their real pay comes from winning Twenty20 championships. If they won the Stanford Twenty20 series and compared their winnings to say, an average City Broker's salary, it's still more than the broker would get for five years work. What if he were a Journalist (sorry Aggers) when he wasn't playing cricket? He would have to work for nearly 16 years to see this kind of money (figures from http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/best-paid-jobs%29.

    My worry is that the lure of this kind of payday could drain the England side of it's talent because there's "no money" in playing test cricket. What of the Champions League? Would counties, as Aggers and others discussed during the last Test, put the bulk of their money into building Twenty20 only sides because of the financial rewards? I'm inclined to think so. As Jonathan says "... Sport is business" and because of this they will still play four day and limited over cricket because of they won't want to loose the extra income from the ECB but this type of cricket could end up being played by semi-pro, second eleven sides.

    What will all of this do for the England Test team then? Do we really think that the Ashes will remain 5 matches? It could end up being a one match, winner take all game too. What of the World Cup? Will that survive at all? I doubt it.

    I really do feel that we need to be careful here or the game we love, in all of its current forms, will no longer exist and in twenty to thirty years time I could be listening to the news and hearing that the British Cricketing Council is looking at plans to create a new form of cricket between countries which will be played over five days.

  • Comment number 38.

    It is not an 'either / or' world. We can have Stanford 20/20, test cricket, county cricket and all other kinds of cricket. Yes, fitting them all in will be a challenge, but it will happen.
    So why not take Stanford's money? It will fund the rest of cricket, which is financially challenged.
    You can all whine about money versus quality, but that is the world today, cricket is no different. Money and quality do not have to be mutually exclusive.
    Stanford is a genuine cricket fan, has money and cares about the whole game.
    20/20 will not kill the game, it will give life to the game. If Stanford 20/20 money allows England players to resist the siren call of India, that fine fine by me.

  • Comment number 39.

    I think most of you are missing the point.

    20/20 was designed as a form of cricket that would get more people interested.

    The best time to get new players interested is when they are YOUNG.

    Having been to school in the UK where cricket is played in the summer. I don't know of many schools - if any - that played 4 day/5 day games.

    What youngster is going to want to play or watch cricket for 5 days if they're not doing it at school? The one day format of the game is much more practical.

    I understand that Test cricket is the pinnacle of the sport, and whilst one user says that the one-day formats are 'bastardised versions of the game' - I think that the principles of the game remain intact, but a few of the rules are a little different. The core concept of cricket remains.

  • Comment number 40.

    I would much rather watch horse racing than this silly one off series.
    This thing sounds like a bad joke. Making nations play for money like they are cash strapped is not a good advertisement for the ECB. At least the IPL had competition and rewarded success equally as a team. This whole facade is a joke and should be stopped by the ICC at once.

    It is allright for clubs to play for money, but the moment nations start getting involved in money it starts to get demeaning.

    However, I guess most English would not have a problem with this as it would mean that their players would probably not participate in the IPL. Now, I guess 20/20 is accepted by the English and stanford must be hailed as a hero by the English.

    What Modi did was create an excellent domestic structure that can rival any premiership league in the world, and this too in under 1 year. This stanford jokefest is a knee jerk reaction to the new power of the BCCI and it looks like stanford is now in charge of English cricket, which is very sad indeed.

    Where are the purists now? I dont see the virulent anti-20/20 comments like what we saw during the IPL. Is it because it is suddenly accepted now that the ECB and the caucasian texan have suddenly invested in it.
    ---THE talk of 20/20 ruining techniques, the lure of money, the outside intereference all seemed to have jumped out of the window. These were the dominant issues when the IPL was going on.

    Personally, I will be praying for this stanford 20/20 jokefest to fail as I want to see the ECB and stanford fail. Not because I think there will be any threat to the IPL but simply because I think the ECB deserves it after their anti-India/IPL stance regarding 20/20 in India.

    I also feel that this jokefest will fail as it will not be able to bring in the required number of television viewers to generate any kind of interest. I will be surprised if any one in Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, or Bangladesh even watch this event.
    The whole thing will be a non-starter and will probably be the end of all stanford ventures.



    also, forget about marketing cricket to the United States as they already have enough sports there. Cricket will not be able to penetrate their sporting culture for at least another 100 years.

  • Comment number 41.

    coud this be the end of 'crumpet cricket' in England as we now know it.

  • Comment number 42.

    I think the ECB need to grab the game by the horns and think about what impact this is having not only now but in the longer term. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy 20:20 as a gimmick and its fun to watch, but 20:20 only exists because of the more important test cricket arena. (If people want to want big swinging, go and watch baseball!)

    My main point is that the ECB need to do something to protect the longer form of the game for the purists, and if that means another revamp of county cricket, then so be it. I have always been in favour of reducing the number of county teams and playing a "state" style championship (e.g. North, South, East etc.... maybe 5 teams). From this, only 1 overseas player (no kolpak if EU rules allow) and play games Thurs to Sunday to encourage people to come and watch what would be a more competitive form of the game. I know the counties will all veto this, but it may to be too late in a few years to rescue it.

    Thoughts?

  • Comment number 43.

    It seems to be a desperate attempt from ECB to counter BCCI and it's IPL. good luck to them. but when we look at the harsh reality the things are different. the bosses at the ECB needs to understand that the time has changed. Today INDIA is a financial power house and a huge market and BCCI caters that market.
    in a desperate attempt ECB has got sir stanford but how long. At the end this venture need's to create some output that we saw during the IPL.
    there is a difference here In INDIA cricket is the only sport on which the crowd is crazy about but in England their are other sports which will give a tough competetion to cricket.
    in india there is a huge audiance and market which is uncompairable to any test playing nation.
    If IPL is a success story it is not because of Mr. Modi or BCCI but because of the huge market that india offers.
    the amount of money in future will be even bigger in IPL given its success and no other league will be able to match it.

  • Comment number 44.

    One of the reasons that I have no interest in 'professional' football teams is that they tend to consist of 11 players who have no connection with the town that they supposedly represent, only a financial allegiance - and I fear that I see this happening in the counties, with the massive influx of Kolpak players, and concentrated in Twenty20.

    I was in India when the rebel Indian Cricket League was playing and watched a number of the games on TV, and my feelings were, that as the jumble of various nationalities came and went, that it did not matter who was on which side, or who won or lost. The whole thing was immaterial. Although it clearly appealed to some (after all, I do enjoy watching cricket, regardless of who is playing) I would not pay money to go to watch a team of mercenaries simply because they played under the name of Kent.

    At least if the England side are playing (for example) the New Zealand side, you have a genuinely meaningful competition, but not when it is against some manufactured team. This brings us back to the football analogy where the winning team is simply the one with the biggest bankroll to buy the best players from wherever they want. And this is completely meaningless.

    I used to go to watch county cricket when the teams were truly representative of the counties concerned. I don't go now, because I look at a batting line-up and just see a mix of countries and counties in each and I feel no allegiance, no emotional pull.

    All this is tied up with developing youngsters and new players for the national side also, but I fear I'm rambling now and had better stop before matron comes and takes away my laptop.

  • Comment number 45.

    I feel no attachment or excitement about twenty20. I am puzzled as to why it is receiving so much money. It isn't as good a game as the other international forms.

    The appeal of cricket is that its values have never really been about money but now these are being spoilt. This couldn't be better illustrated than the absence of Shane Bond, their best bowler, from the kiwis team this summer.

    Worrying times.

  • Comment number 46.

    This is a good development for England.

    Like Beckham has followed the lead with football, may English cricket also make the beeline to the US. Both the sports have poor following anyway in the states, and if this is the vision of the ECB, no wonder England is no longer the force in world cricket and the power center is in India.

    Frankly, the IPL is better without them. I'd like to see the quality of that 20-20, with a bunch of mediocre English and West Indian cricketers. There is no comparison to IPL, with all its mega stars and viewership. Sir Stanford is bankrolling this but there wont be any major following for this around the world.

    If Sir Stanford is genuinely interested in WI cricket, he should put his money where his mouth is. WI grass roots cricket is in a poor shape and that is exactly where the millions are needed, not into the pockets of lazy and mediocre cricketers in England and West Indies.

    Finally, the most hilarious comments are from the journalists. The $50m is making them call it the greatest thing that ever hapenned, like the football world cup win half-a-century ago, or Tim Henman or Andy Murray or whatever. Revel in your glory, while it lasts.

  • Comment number 47.

    There appears to be quite a lot of comment on here suggesting that the ECB signing up with Allen Stanford is a bid to rival the IPL and the BCCI. Whilst being worried about the whole 20/20 scenario, I genuinely don't believe that this is the ECB's agenda.

    If feel that with almost non-stop international Cricket for England between now and the end of the summer in 2009, I believe this to be the ECBs attempt to pacify their centrally contracted players, still determine when they are allowed to play, but still have the chance to earn the big money. With some of the England players, such as Kevin Pietersen, having been making noises about not being allowed to play in the IPL and earn the money other players around the world have been able to, I see this as being about the ECB giving their centrally contracted players this opportunity, whilst allowing them a break from cricket (during the IPL) before the Ashes series and the English season in 2009. I don't believe it is specifically an anti-IPL stance. Suggesting otherwise would appear to be suggesting the ECB is prejudiced against the IPL and the BCCI.

    In another point, with all this money available to the England players who are selected, I feel we need to see a definate move to picking in-form players. If the Stanford game were today and you were, say, for instance, Matt Prior or another clearly in-form player, you are not going to be happy about England 'sticking' with Ian Bell and Paul Collingwood (who are clearly out of form) and them getting the opportunity to win $500,000 ahead of you.

    Amid all this, I do not want to see the end of Test cricket and I don't believe we will. Look at the IPL just gone. How many of the players 'bought' were bought on their domestic 20/20 abilities. Answer: very few, if any. Rather the players who were bought to play in the IPL were big star names who have earned their reputations through test cricket. I believe that Test Cricket will always be where players make their names, as you will need to be a draw before the IPL will consider buying you.

    I do, however, see this as the nail in the coffin for 50 overs cricket and that I am not sorry about.

  • Comment number 48.

    Reading this and having read Graham Swann's (greedy) comments on the website I feel very sad and sorry. In a way it is inevitable but for sure this spells the end of Test Cricket as we know (and love) it. It may take some years but as players coming through think about their careers what will they be aiming for? What would you aim to be a part of? Of course, everybody is going to be trying to specialise in 20-20 and develop their strengths here. Nobody will want to be a poorly paid cousin spending 5 days playing a game for a lot less money than others will earn in an afternoon.
    Michael Vaughn must be sick to think players much less esperienced than him will be earning much much more than he can. Not many other careers operate like that.
    For me the fact that a Test takes 5 days is the perfect antidote to living in London where everything is about immediate gratification. I guess 20-20 is a sign of the times.

  • Comment number 49.

    Money has for a long time exerted apparently lasting effects upon cricket as it inexorably seems able to do in virtually all other sports. The very theme music that introduces TMS on the BBC is redolent of the 1950s up to the early 1980s, when cricket and its potential mass market coexisted much more happily. Admission price hikes and corporate hospitality have rendered international cricket much less accessible.
    As for the nature of the actual game itself, it makes me cringe to consider the ramifications of the current tightly packed international fixture list, a general observation which masks how matches concerning the ultimate test of cricket skills - the Test Match - must be nudged around to accommodate other forms of the game. This has already had self-evident effects upon preparation, which, essentially, has degenerated into a handful of warm-ups.
    I believe that the 50-over one-day international ciruit has had its day, and ought to be completely scrapped, as 20-20 is patently a success.
    In relation to another comment Jonathan made, as a West Indies supporter, my long-term hope is that WI reclaim a place with the best. Recent Australian domination has, I think, demonstrated, that a much closer approach to parity is preferable.

  • Comment number 50.

    I have followed this great game for many years and like a lot of other comments noted i am rather sceptical.

    I believe that this is commercialism gone too far and the game has been hijacked and turned into a version of baseball.

    This could spell the end of Cricket as we know it.

    Mr Giles Clarke and Mr David Collier may have sold the soul of the game down the river.

  • Comment number 51.

    If it makes the West Indies a world force in test cricket again in 15-20 years time, then I'm all for it. But for that to happen Stanford is somehow going to have to breed a load of 6"5+ fast bowlers and some big-forearmed batsmen to replace the diminutive figures they have at present! What's happened to them having people of the stature of Garner, Holding, Ambrose, Walsh, Bishop, Richards, Haynes, Greenidge etc?

  • Comment number 52.

    There is a dangerous combination at work here:

    Take the vulgarity and ignorance of an American millionaire...

    ....combine it with the greed and stupidity of an English cricket administrator and what do you get?

    This replusive parady of a sporting contest - sadly symbolic of our trivial and money mad times perhaps. UGH!

  • Comment number 53.

    Now the money appears to be on the table the talk of crowded schedules and burnout no longer appears to be such an issue or am I just being cynical?

  • Comment number 54.

    Lol.. This is a very intersting article... However must say... People (outside England and West Indies) wont pay a penny to watch a 20-20 match between England and W.I... So it is a bad move Mr Standford... They are Boring!!!!! though I appericiate the effort.... As far as the IPL is concerned it was a huge success without the English players... So Who Cares!!!! Abt them.... They are hardly great at it. And the English 20-20 championship is sad version of the ICL...

  • Comment number 55.

    By selling out the purity of the game is being compromised. Mainly, in the way that to win a game you no longer need to bowl the opposition out. I for one do not support Sir Stanford's Twenty20 gimic.

  • Comment number 56.

    OK, let me turn this on its head for a moment.

    I love the strategic and tactical battle of will that is top class test cricket. However, as a casual player, I play Twenty20 and have done for years. When I played cricket at school, we played Twenty20.

    The truth is Twenty20 is here to stay because it appeals to those who don't follow test cricket for two very important reasons.

    1. For the uninitiated, it is a more exciting spectacle ... cue bleating from elitist that it cheapens the game. Question, where does the next generation of test cricket fans come from if you can't get them excited in cricket to begin with?

    2. For anyone who has played the game, they are most likely to have played the Twenty20 form of the game, so they recognise it and how it works, therefore easy to follow.

    T20 is here to stay. Full stop. The money issue, and the rights and wrongs of it, is a separate matter.

  • Comment number 57.

    Personally I think the key danger is that the next generation of cricketers will all grow up as 20/20 specialists. With the gulf in rewards for different forms of the game being so vast, they would, in a sense, be silly not to maximize their chance of being considered 20/20 specialists. Success at 20/20 cricket could, it seems, mean comfortable financial security for life, something that until now most professional cricketers have been far from guaranteed.

    I fear this massive financial discrepancy between first-class and 20/20 cricket will fundamentally skew the development of cricket in this country and globally

  • Comment number 58.

    Atleast this is just one game and will not clog the calendar like a tournament would. I don't know why people are worrying about the money so much, it happens in every popular sport. Compared to the NBA and NFL this sum of money is a drop in the ocean. Everyone has a winge when the money jumps up, I'm sure when the first footballer was transeferred for £1m the media and public went crazy. I think everyone is begining to realise cricket needs a boost of some kind to attract more youth players and add more excitement. It's hard enough to get kids to take up any sport at the moment and few youngsters will sit and watch a test match but they might watch twenty20.

  • Comment number 59.

    54, the IPL was a great sucess with only one English player, and he was low profile for an England player, if we let it have any more then 20:20 would take over the world and everyone would have to watch it or play it 24/7!


    In all seriousness the IPL would have been a richer tourniment with people like Pieterson, Broad and Flintoff in it. Its sad when a competition claiming to have drawn the best of world cricket can't even claim to have the best player/s from the sports birthplace.

  • Comment number 60.

    New Flash: 2020 is popular but isn't as popular as people think it is.....

    The intriguing thing about the IPL wasn't just the 2020 aspect that everyone jumped on, but the fact that there were the top players in the world and it had an all stars feel about it. If you had had the same but with 50 over cricket it would have still had success (just less manageable)

    The 'champions league' event solves nothing.

    England's top players who missed out on the IPL pay cheques won't be happy as it doesn't guarentee they will play. And as stated above it won't have the top players there like the IPL. 2020 allows you to create very manageable, easy to schedule tournaments due to the length of the format. This means also you can get top players to pop over and play a tournament in two weeks. It doesn't mean that people are going to sit through hours of average cricket, this is exactly what has happened with 50 over cricket.....toooooo much of it!!!!!


    You can't just create a random 2020 tournament and expect it to be popular, I was at a massively undersold Oval last night for a pretty average game of 2020.


    I believe that the ECB shouldn't be jumping into 2020 tournaments without a clear strategy on how the english cricket season is going to be structured. We have a limited summer, ergo a limited window and we want to try to get the maximum out of this by clever and effcient scheduling, not random tournaments as a panic response to the IPL.

    2020 should not be international, but be reserved for two all stars tournaments a year, where all the best players in the world play in a fun three week festival of cricket. The ECB should have moved quickly to establish this within the cricket calendar instead of jumping into bed with Stanford, and also this pointless champions league tournament


  • Comment number 61.

    I, like many others, lament recent moves towards shorter forms of cricket; and I have read some excellent prose that sets 5-day and 4-day cricket as the better test of the art of cricket.

    The next argument that follows (as surely as night follows day) is that we, the paying public, do not support the longer form of the game as much as we do the shorter; and so we get what we want and what we deserve.

    I see this, however, as a comment upon society as a whole, where the ability to concentrate for large periods of time is being systematically destroyed. For example, I was watching a documentary last night and about twelve minutes in we went for a three minute advert break. When the programme restarted they showed a selection of clips from the first twelve minutes with an unnecessary voice over explaining what we had seen before the break. Is it any wonder that a large portion of this sport-loving nation is unable to enjoy three two-hour sessions of cricket in a single day?

  • Comment number 62.

    Re: 51.
    6"5+ - does this mean over six-and-a-half inches?
    I don't think the West indies will have a problem on that front.
    Did you design the Stonehenge set for Spinal Tap's tour of the USA?

  • Comment number 63.

    Good luck to the Twenty20 revolution, as long as it doesn't destroy test cricket...!

    I can see Test cricket being eclipsed for a while (10-20 years), as the best players spend more and more time honing Twenty20 skills rather than Test skills. But then, Test cricket will make a come back as people start to realise how much more interesting it is. It's not about being a 'purist', it's about investing time into understanding a great and subtle game. Twenty20 will hopefully become a gateway into appreciating Test cricket. And then, perhaps, the money and attention will start to be focussed on Test cricket.

    I wish there wasn't so much fawning at the ECB - don't sell yourself so cheaply.

  • Comment number 64.

    I too shudder at the prospect of all this money swishing around cricket, and I much prefer watching test cricket.

    But if the Stanford money can bring an element of stability and control to all the nonsense currently going on that can only be a good thing.

  • Comment number 65.

    We live in a destructive time, where the fast buck rules. It is only when many realise that we have gone too far do the cries of those who warn begin to be noticed - slash and burn has aided the demise of the rainforest. Will smash and run change the face of cricket? Will the techniques necessary cause such an evolutionary change in a short time and contribute to the demise of cricket or will all the forms of the game flourish? I feel that we must get more to champion the cause of test and county cricket as well as develop the talent that is latent in many youngsters if we want the game to survive in its many forms and continue to produce excellence as well as excitement.

  • Comment number 66.

    The greater threat from Twenty:20 is to the 50 over game than to Test Cricket. It seems that with the popularity of Twenty:20, a fantastic game in its own right as well as its use in a missionary format, the 50 over game looks more outdated and unnecessary than Test cricket.

    Test cricket will still be the highest form of the game, and the very best players of that form will thrive in Twenty:20 too as they have already. If you ask players, they will value their achievements in test cricket much higher than Twenty:20, even if the latter pays the bills and secures their future.

    If, as a result of the growth of Twenty:20, the number of spurious 50 over tournaments, not least the Champions Trophy, are deleted from the schedule, to be replaced by a number of short but well-formatted Twenty:20 competitions, whether for clubs or countries and by proper time for test cricket, then the whole game benefits.

    By the way, I can also see two innings Twenty:20 being introduced in the near future.

    Despite all that, I wouldn't want to be under the steepler on the boundary with £10m riding on the catch...

  • Comment number 67.

    Hi Aggers,

    What amazes me is a very basic fact that everyone seems to have forgotten in the middle of the IPL hype - cricket is THE sport in India. The Indian (and international) cricketers are already superstars over there - just look at the way they greeted Monty on debut!

    If you want imagine something equivalent in the UK, it would be a superstars' five-a-side football tournament! Cricket is growing in popularity, but there are not yet enough cricket fans in England to support these kinds of tournament. We need to create more of a buzz about the domestic Twenty20 before we start thinking about Champions' Leagues and big money showpieces...

  • Comment number 68.

    The prospect of winner takes all shows the extremity to which the fast buck business people will go.

    The next suggestion will be that fast bowlers have all restrictions on the type of delivery removed to enhance the physical danger.

    For £500,000 who knows how aggressive the game could become to provide some primitive excitement.

    Where is the cerebral game of cricket going?

    tottenhaman

  • Comment number 69.

    Where is the cerebral game of cricket going?


    Nowhere...

  • Comment number 70.

    Afternoon Aggers,

    I entirely agree that cricket's adminstrators need to protect test match cricket as the pinnacle of the game. Nothing compares to a hard fought and evenly matched Ashes contest. However, I have found recent test matches against Sri Lanka away and the two series against New Zealand fairly dull and not exactly compulsive viewing or listening because the outcomes have been predictable. Why follow a test match series for 4 - 6 weeks when the outcome is fairly certain. Too much test match cricket these days is predictable, take tests against the West Indies as another example. In my opinion, the last time England were involved in a really gripping test match series was the 05 Ashes - 3 years ago ! The recent advent of 20/20 cricket has been a breath of fresh air in comparison, simply because the results of the games are unpredictable and the style of cricket is incredibly exciting. In summary, international test match cricket is the crown jewel of the game but is not competitive enough at the moment.

  • Comment number 71.

    This whole thing is very funny! I love those pictures of the ECB guys standing next to that big case of money with massive grins.

    Tacky, tacky, tacky!

    England are 3rd from the bottom when I rank my favourite international teams and I've really enjoyed watching the ECB looking so daft. I loved the fact that SA and India turned down this bizarre proposal before it was offered to England.

    If it keeps England away from the IPL it's probably a good thing. The IPL is fantastic as it is and doesn't need England turning up a year late with sour faces.

  • Comment number 72.

    i think we can all agree that twenty20 is a functional imperative for the future of cricket; but lets not pretend that it's real cricket when compared to tests; the latter will always have a poetry, tradition, subtelty and tactical complexity that any form of one day cricket lacks.
    on that note, can i propose what i think is self-evidently our best one-day team (minus mascarehnas, but you can't please everyone).

    1) Prior
    2) Wright
    3) Pietersen
    4) Collingwood
    5) Shah
    6) Flintoff
    7) Bopara
    8) Swann
    9) Broad
    10) Sidebottom
    11) Anderson

  • Comment number 73.

    *19 and *27, ref Cricket max..

    In cricket max, there was a zone which counted double. So a 'hoick' over the shoulder might get you 6 runs, but a straight drive along the ground to the boundary (ie a proper cricket shot) would get you 8 runs.

    A rule like that in T20, would at least minimise the fears of the purists.

  • Comment number 74.

    Question for everyone here....how can a full England team with official attire turn up aganist a all-star team. How did the ECB agree...should it be ECB X1?

    another point is...I guess all but 3 counties have been technically been disqualified from the Champions League, unless ECB gets up from its kneeling position in front of Modi and BCCI and assert themselves. The fact is if ECB say no to Modi, the Champions League will lose the value too...it is not just one way..

    Modi might invite two counties, inspite of having finished at the bottom if they are he one's without ICL players!

    By the way, what has ICL done wrong? It has applied for permission from ICC...no word on that yet. Whats the difference between Lashings and ICL...both are privately organized. Just that the ICL is seen as a compitition to BCCI's monopoly.

  • Comment number 75.

    Personally, I feel very queasy about all of this.
    If the 'presentation' of past cricket legends standing around that huge moneybox brings benefits to cricket as a whole (including Test Match cricket), then I'll give Sir Allen the benefit of the doubt.
    I have no issue with the format of T20; I saw nearly all of the IPL matches. But come last week, I was more gripped by the drama of England v New Zealand
    The fact is - cricket has already changed, thanks to T20's popularity and the IPL. Where is the ICC in all of this? Who will take care of cricket's ethics now?
    And what's with the 'winner take all' mentality? Surely that's not the true spirit of cricket...?

  • Comment number 76.

    It is touching Aggers that you write "If it's managed properly, Twenty20 should bankroll international cricket for years to come."

    However, once big business takes over cricket, then priorities will be straightforwardly determined by what generates the income. In other words, "managers" will see no need to payroll international cricket via 20/20 - it will have to payroll itself or disappear into the cloud of dust that McDonalds cricket has generated.

    The danger - as many of us see it - is that after 1-2 player generations, the players will no longer be nostalgic about test cricket as the highest form of the game, but playing big bucks cricket in the trashy 20/20 format. It will be "cricket", but not as we know it!


  • Comment number 77.

    It is indeed a very interesting and crucial time for cricket.

    I do believe that test cricket is the pinnacle of the sport and its purist form. However, I think we need to find a place in the modern sporting arena for cricket and we need to preserve it as one of the most popular sports in the world. I believe cricket needs to and can challenge footballs dominance as a spectators sport and I also believe that cricket has far more chance to be successful in America, much more so than 'soccer'.

    Big money 20/20 as a game has similarities to baseball in terms of match time and pace. I am a big basball fan and I love the fact that a reasonably subtle sport full of intricate nuances much like cricket, can attract crowds of over 30,000 people every day, and I feel 20/20 as a sport could achieve this.

    Its funny also how people are saying that the ECB is selling cricket down the river, when for some years crickets main body the ICC has been over focused on long term commercial deals, sponsorships and corporate tie ins. No one talks about the detrimental effects that the ICC has caused to spectators in recent time through stupid rules and laws. I think its a digsrace that during the world cup in the caribean the tickets were priced so high that the local WI fans could not go. Time and time again we were watching matches with half empty grounds. That is definately not the way to promote the worlds greatest sport.

    The sad fact is that more and more youngsters who face the choice between being a pro cricketer and a footballer will choose the later for the money. Modern athletes that are on the world stage will require to be paid more to keep them interested in particular sports otherwise we wont attract those people.

    In a few years time the appeal of county cricket will dissolve for many sportsmen and this is our grassroots for the international game. Cricket needs to move on and find a way of increasing spectator excitement, getting more and better players involved, whilst still finding a way of preserving test cricket. If county cricket dies then our international team will suffer at currently 20/20 is the major pull our domestic teams.

  • Comment number 78.

    There's something about this match that makes me uneasy.

    I think that Stanford has good intentions and is commited to strengthing West Indies cricket. This is desirable as a strong Windies team is good for world cricket. The match will also generate revenue for the ECB which can be used for developing the game.

    However there is something sad about a game where the sole motivation is money. Look at the English celebrations after the recent New Zealand test, you'd have to be incredibly cynical to say they were happy purely because they were getting their win bonuses.

  • Comment number 79.

    I am extremely uncomfortable with this whole buisness, and the four words that are often spoken 'The Spirit of Cricket' will come seriously under pressure.

  • Comment number 80.

    In all honesty, I'd rather watch my local village team than watch what will effectively be an exhibition match in the Caribbean between two teams playing with black bats chasing absurdly large amounts of money, how many of the cricketing public are more up for this match compared with interest in the forthcoming South Africa series? I just won't switch on to this commercialism; it's all too vulgar for my liking. Let's hope it doesn't impact too much with Test cricket and our domestic game which Mr Stanford clearly doesn't have time for when he labels test matches boring!

  • Comment number 81.

    Rabbo2 (#53) excellent point! Funny the effect that money has on some peeps, eh?

    Maybe it's time for ICC, ECB, etc to just hang a red light above their door and start renting their players out by the hour?

  • Comment number 82.

    Aggers, I share your concerns. I feel that the cricket authorities are to blame for what is now an uncontrolled explosion of monetary forces in the game.

    For years, we have seen a dilution of one-day international and test cricket, by virtue of simple overkill. The nineteen consecutive matches England v New Zealand is a perfect example of this.

    The key question is this. Will this money enable test cricket, the gold standard of cricket, to be preserved.

    Or will it result in the purer form of the game being relegated to an irrelevant side-show.

    Only time will tell.

  • Comment number 83.

    Hi Jonathan

    Stanford's idea of winners take all is worse than IPL. Though IPL was played for money, i could see some camaraderie between the players. Especially from the losing team.

    Can we expect the same from the losers in this format?

    besides, will stanford do this every year?If so, what does he or west indian or english cricket gain from this (except the winners!). atleasr IPL is going to make the indian team stronger.

    I think people for ECB are very bitter about india taking advantage of their brainchild. Thats all it is

  • Comment number 84.

    I think this is taking cricket down a dark path, twenty20 could signal the beginning of the end for the test cricket.

    It may even end in players choosing between their country and money which is a very dangerous path to follow.

    The stanford deal does appear to be good for the game of the winner but for so much money if someone makes a game losing mistake they may well be haunted and dogged by it for the rest of their careers.

    The so called champions 20-20 is even more farcical and will just end up as a complete mess with the amount of icl players in county cricket.

    On the whole i think it would be great to see a tie in the stanford game just for a good old laugh

  • Comment number 85.

    "Remember son, it's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game." Sigh. Happier days.

    I emailed TMS a year ago asking if they could release archive commentary on bygone Test matches, perhaps in mp3 format on DVDs. Imagine, middle of a miserable winter, sticking a disk in the stereo and listening to a whole 5 days of a glorious Test Match Special from yesteryear... got no reply. I suspect the Beeb are waiting until Tests are a thing of the past so they can cash in on the nostalgia dollar. Which Test would you pay a tenner, say, to listen to again in all its ball-by-ball glory?

  • Comment number 86.

    On top of the potential problem with the English county sides in the Champions League, I'm also confused at how it can be announced that the Dolphins are officially entered in the competition when they have Benkenstein and Klusener in their squad, both of whom have played for ICL teams.

  • Comment number 87.

    Aggers I see the Standford money is positive, but players have now more individual responsibility for their own choices, and for the future development of the game.

    Do they just play win and retire rich? Or do they use this financial injection to leave a legacy, better the game, fight for the team game and strengthen the grass roots, county, national and international set up. Will there be better stadiums, wickets, talent for the twin test and short form disciplines.

    The money is there, from Srandford, India and other international sponsorship. Cricket is at an important crossroads where the game is growing in India; but dying at grassroot nsational team level gradually in the West Indies, Zimbabee and Kenya. Money tends to back winners at the cost of diversity. It is important money in the game should develop weaker national teams and the current competitive, quality and talent in different forms, especially in Test Cricket.

  • Comment number 88.

    It's not for the faint-hearted to try and twist a Gorilla's tail, more so because Gorillas apparently don't have one! But Stanford has ventured into doing just that, twisting the tail of the 900lg gorilla, which BCCI probably is. But other than providing an avenue for those left out of IPL -- by circumstances, counties and boards -- Stanford's T20 vision looks doomed.
    In case if IPL, the novelty of the format drew people in droves, and that too coming after India's sensational T20 World Cup triumph. But T20 is already a familiar concept in UK.
    I'm not sure how prudent it is as a business venture.

  • Comment number 89.

    I for one think this is obscene, 20/20 is meant as a bit of fun, now some obscenely rich American wants to turn cricket into baseball and the ECB are greedily rubbing their hands together at the thought of getting their paws on some of this wealth. It really disgusts me. The ECB should be ashamed of themselves for legitimising such an obvious derogation of the spirit of the game some of us love, 20/20 is not the way forward. Cricket is, was and always will be about the 5 day game, though I believe Stanford and his box of money are the beginning of the end of test matches. We already have one fast and furious game where overpaid prima donas get to earn stupid amounts of cash in front of huge crowds of drunken half wits, its called football.

  • Comment number 90.

    Why has the "Stanford Affair" created so much of a stir? It cannot be as utterly dreadful as having players dressed in multi-coloured clown outfits and calling themselves such ridiculous names as "Dynamos", "Spitpires" and "Steelbacks".

    No wonder the game is attracting chanting low life idiots.

 

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