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The promise of an exciting winter

Adam Mountford | 15:42 UK time, Friday, 10 October 2008

So cricket's latest on-off saga has been settled with confirmation that the Stanford Super Series is going ahead.

And there'll be extensive coverage of the event on BBC radio.

The much anticipated "Twenty20 for Twenty" game between England and the Stanford Superstars will be live on 5 Live with commentary from Jonathan Agnew and Arlo White plus contributions from the voice of West Indies cricket Tony Cozier, Antigua's favourite son Sir Viv Richards plus one or two England legends... More details to follow.

Our coverage of the multi-million dollar match begins from 2100 BST, Saturday 1 November with the game itself getting underway at 2130.

But they'll be plenty from Antigua before that!

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5 Live Sports Extra will have ball-by-ball commentary on the big money match between Middlesex and Trinidad & Tobago on Monday 27 October and England's final warm-up game against T&T on Tuesday 28 October. BBC London will be carrying commentary on Middlesex's other matches with updates on 5 Live and don't miss a Stanford preview special during 5 Live Sport on Thursday 30 October.

The news of the agreement between Stanford Twenty20 and Digicel was broken on Thursday night's 5 Live Sport - and it was announced at a rather fortuitous time. Michael Vaughan and Ravi Bopara just happened to be in the studio with Mark Saggers when details came through from Antigua.

Vaughan, of course, will not be involved in the game, but he will be in the West Indies at the time continuing his break from the game on holiday in Barbados. He said: "I'm sure there's 22 players jumping about right now at the news the game is going ahead, 11 here and 11 in the West Indies. I'll be cheering them on, probably from a beach bar in Barbados. I'll be glued to the game, there's so much hype and it should be a great spectacle. The whole world of cricket and many, many others will have their eyes on this game."

Asked if he was upset to be missing out on the bonanza that the likes of fellow 5 Live Sport guest Bopara would be sharing in, Vaughan said: "I'm just hoping Ravi might buy me a beer. I've been lucky in my career, but it's true for the guys coming into the game who are good at Twenty20 with Stanford, the IPL [Indian Premier League and the EPL [English Premier League] there are great opportunities to make a small fortune."

Vaughan appeared in a very upbeat mood and admitted that giving up the captaincy had been a huge weight off his shoulders: "I feel like I'm becoming myself again."

He dismissed rumours that he might pack in the game altogether: "That's absolute rubbish. One thing that irritates me is when people say I haven't got the hunger. If anything, I was too desperate to score runs and probably came back too soon. There's a real line. When you get too desperate you end up getting further away. I think I was too desperate to score runs to help Yorkshire and get back in the England set-up."

But although Vaughan says he really wants to get back playing international cricket he admitted he needs to be playing for England sooner rather than later. "Realistically I have to be back in a year or it will be very difficult. I won't be getting any younger and the selectors may be looking elsewhere. If I'm not in the side in a year then it's either because England have won every game or I'm not playing well enough to be selected."

Vaughan revealed he is likely to return to action with England's Performance Programme in India in November and December as part of a group of players training and playing a couple of games in Bangalore and Mumbai.

There'll be plenty of talented England cricketers in India during those months with the senior squad of course also in action with a seven-game one-day international series and two Test matches. Test Match Special will have ball-by-ball commentary starting with the first one-day international from Rajkot on Friday 14 November.

Indian legend Sunil Gavaskar will be part of our team throughout the tour with Geoff Boycott, Simon Hughes and TMS favourites Vic Marks and Angus Fraser amongst those joining Jonathan Agnew for the Tests.

And, as always, look out for TMS podcasts and blogs throughout what promises to be a exciting winter.


  • Comment number 1.

    Great work with all the ball-by-ball commentaries Adam, they should prove to be great games.

    Will the Wides and No-balls in the bowling figures be included within the on-line scorecards from these games; especially with the increased difference they make to the shorter forms of the game?

  • Comment number 2.

    I think the Stanford game is a sick indictment on modern day sport.

    Quality guys like Michael Vaughan are watching on whilst muppets like Prior stand to make a fortune.

    The ECB should be ashamed of itself. Village clubs received nothing from the mammoth deal with Sky.

    ECB executives drive round in big cars whilst village cricket is dying with young kids choosing putting on an XBox rather than a cricket box.

    I hope it rains on November 1 as Lionel Richie said 'All night long --- all night --- all night long"

  • Comment number 3.

    It would have been a fitting end if a match which was all about money was scrapped because of a dispute about...... money!
    Seems like Cook knocked it on the head- the match itself is meaningless, but for the money involved- just an exhibition match!

  • Comment number 4.

    Alright, Michael, prove that you've got the hunger. You're on a central contract, so you are expected to contribute something to the national game over the next twelve months. Start scoring regular centuries for your county and then we'll see where to go from there. Until then, expect your hunger to be (rightly) questioned.

  • Comment number 5.

    Considering its all about trying to promote cricket, supposedly, im gutted it's all in antigua. I'll be in tobago for it, and would have gone to see a game in trinidad had one been there- especially with T&T playing in it.

    As for Vaughan, it's nothing about his hunger- I'm sure loads of players have equal hunger though, and what separates the ones who play for england form those who don't is form and ability. Vaughan seems to have lost both.

  • Comment number 6.

    Please. Give the guy a break. I'm sure Vaughan would like nothing better than to score regular centuries for Yorkshire.

    His ability is not in question. His attitude is spot on.

    He has one year to try to get some form back, and if he does England will be a much better team for it.

    Why can we not get behind our sportsmen and give them a bit of support instead of all this constant whingeing and griping.

  • Comment number 7.

    With the current economic climate, the money surrounding the Stanford game is causing more and more discomfort to us mere mortals.
    I heard a rumour that a donation to charity might be in order and I totally agree with that. People might think "Hang on, footballers aren't expected to do that with their riches" but then footballers are not people I would aspire to be compared to! The increase in money in football has been accompanied by an inversely proportionate plummet in anything good about the game for me.
    If it is all about encouraging grass roots cricket in the Windies, why aren't the ECB making sure that a substantial wedge of the dosh goes into England's grass roots cricket?
    I will watch the game because I watch all England games, and view it as a warm up for the India tour. But the whole thing makes me slightly queasy!

  • Comment number 8.

    There is no cricketing merit to the Stanford hoopla – none whatsoever. It is an event which although sanctioned by the ICC (as it has to be to proceed at all) has nothing to do with the real world of cricket. I see that the BBC has chosen to allocate substantial resources to the event and that it will be a TMS live transmission. Why? You didn’t cover the IPL at all as I recall and whatever one may think about the IPL it was at least an authentic event.

    Does this mean that if another money-bagged ego-tripper puts on a match, and dangles big dollars in front of cricketers and gullible and greedy cricket administrators to make it fly, then the BBC will take it seriously and commit licence payers money to the coverage of it?

  • Comment number 9.


    How is it sanctioned by the ICC? I didn't think it was, particularly...


    I think we should leave it up to the players themselves whether or not they give any money to charity. A lot of them use up much of their spare time doing charitable stuff, and even after the Stanford match will still be earning a fraction of what some fairly average footballers get...

  • Comment number 10.


    I saw David Collier at an event recently and discussed Stanford with him. He told me that the ICC had sanctioned the event. When I looked puzzled he said that any event at international level (e.g. involving an international team) had to receive ICC approval. There are various reasons for this which DC shared with me - the most compelling related to anti-corruption (match fixing) concerns. If the event is ICC sanctioned (it is) then all of the ICC's anti-corruption measures have to be in place.

  • Comment number 11.

    To be honest, I think the fact that cricketers earn a fraction of what footballers do is a fault of football, not something that cricket should aspire to.
    The players in the Stanford squad are handsomely rewarded with most on Central contracts. There comes a point where money spoils things, and I think we have reached it.

  • Comment number 12.

    I still hope it rains...

  • Comment number 13.

    vaughan is gone as a player. he's totally out of touch and form. thats what people are saying, not that he doesnt have the hunger

  • Comment number 14.

    Censura - you have enlightened me! Thanks very much. It makes you wonder how on earth the WICB thought they could win their case against Digicel! (And indeed why Stanford didn't chat to them before dragging everyone through the High Court). Mind you, if you are are a billionaire...

    Seriously though, if the Stanford matches are ICC-sanctioned then it is slightly ridiuclous the ICL still isn't, but then the Indian cricket board tend to get their way.

  • Comment number 15.

    Sanctioned or otherwise, the England/West Indies match is essentially a shindig privately funded by an individual. Whether you choose to give it attention or support one team or the other is up to you, but I don't see the point in bemoaning its existence.

    Nor is it the responsibility of sportspeople to act as a kind of public conscience. The England cricketers that turn out in Antigua are the 11 best of a sport which thousands all over the country play and which is watched by an audience of millions. Since it is subject to market forces, they get paid whatever is deemed to be the going rate for their services. If that happens to be more than you earn personally, that is not the fault or responsibility of the players themselves. Likewise with footballers and their salaries, griping about their earnings leaves me with the queasy scent of very sour grapes and the even queasier sense (especially with regard to footballers) of people begrudging working class (remember that term?) individuals earning sums of money above and beyond 'their place' - harking back to a halcyon era where players earned only marginally more than others with a decent trade is soft soap the froth of which conceals an unpleasant bitterness towards talented individuals transcending the class and conditions into which they were born.

    And by this I don't want anybody to think that I am in any way in favour of the rampant play of market forces, HOWEVER that is the situation and it is one thing to criticise individuals who benefit (because of their talent, remember) from it and quite another to criticise the system itself.

    Now, as for Michael Vaughan. He is a wonderful player, was an excellent captain, and there is no reason why he should not be extended the opportunity to force his way - which is what he will have to do - back in to the England side. In this respect he could perhaps be compared with VVS Laxman, another wonderfully attractive player, or more pertinently, Sourav Ganguly, who extended his career with some brilliant performances after losing the Indian captaincy. If he shows good enough form, he will be picked for England, and England will benefit. If he doesn't, he won't. Simple.

  • Comment number 16.

    Sorry if I'm repeating a previous comment, but I've not seen any mention made of the ethics of England players pocketing such a large sum if they win the Stanford match. I understand it's a professional era but as they're representing England rather than a private club or purely commercial touring team, would it not be more appropriate for the prize money to be put back into British Cricket? Players are well remunerated already and it seems vaguely unfair to me that players who are curently out of form or simply not in the team should miss out totally on the bonanza. The team picked is picked to represent England so would it not be better for the money to go into the coffers for all to benefit - from grass roots upward?

  • Comment number 17.

    I love the way people say put the money into grass roots cricket but where does this money actually go?? There are children at our club that have genuine talent(scoring hundreds from the age of 10) that get invited to go onto the next level of coaching i.e county coaching sessions and games but have to pay for the training sessions sometimes to the tune of £15 per session for around 8 sessions a season! This is on top of a subscription to our club and kit costs! Our club is self run get little funding so we cant afford to pay towards it and if the family cant afford it they dont go and get that next step of coaching! This must happen up and down the country and lots of talent doesnt get access to better coaching there is lots of talent going to waste

  • Comment number 18.

    "Players are well remunerated already and it seems vaguely unfair to me that players who are curently out of form or simply not in the team should miss out totally on the bonanza."

    I've been out of form and simply not in the team for the last 25 years. Does that mean that I should find it vaguely unfair to be missing out totally on the bonanza?

  • Comment number 19.

    Good discussion on this thread.

    I don't begrudge KP and the boys one cent of their windfall - if they win it! But it is still a sordid and vulgar farrago which has nothing whatsoever to do with the real world of cricket. And I despise the ECB apparatchiks for getting involved in it and dragging the good name of cricket further into the gutter (or, to be more accurate, into the casino).

  • Comment number 20.

    Vaughan has as much chance of making a comeback as Elvis. Time to leave the building, Michael.

  • Comment number 21.

    At the end of the day, this guy wants to put on a cricketing show. If he wants to pay people to do it, then fine. Noone would bat an eyelid if it was footballers, so why do cricketers have some sort of moral obligation not to take the money?

    Cricket isn't this gentlemanly game people like to think it is. I don't like 20/20 much, but if people can make money out of it, then good on them! I will however, have issues with it if the ECB select players who don't deserve to be there, but are people whose faces fit (like Vaughans extra year of central contract).

  • Comment number 22.

    I hope that the fact that you haven't mentioned England's tour of the Windies as part of the 'exciting winter' doesn't indicate that you won't be covering it?

  • Comment number 23.

    The issue I was really trying to explore was not if cricketers, but if members of our national England Team should be in a position to benefit in this way. I agree that we're in a professional era and the cricketers deserve a fair slice of the cake and I welcome the chance of large salaries. In addition if success is rewarded with lucrative advertising fees and I'm delighted that this is so after so many years of being the poor relation to other sports.

    It's this particular match I have doubts over, the players have been chosen and paid to represent England and are not members of a private cricket club with a commercial commitments and it’s own commercial agenda. I resent the fact that commercial TV has been able to privatize our 'National Silver' and that as a consequence we’ve lost the terrestrial TV rights of many of our top sporting fixtures involving our national teams. I feel that all national teams should have their matches on terrestrial TV and if the Sat Channels want them as well why not, but they won’t if they can’t make money on the deal. I haven’t seen a test match for several years as I live near Lands End, the only options are a very expensive journey ‘up country’ or Sky TV and I can afford neither. All I ask is that every time our National Sides play, let the people who ‘own’ it watch them as well as the rich guys with Sky.

  • Comment number 24.

    In answer to post 22.
    I haven't mentioned the West Indies tour coverage as yet as we are still confirming the details.
    But keep checking for news of the tour.

  • Comment number 25.

    Stanford doesn't really lose out here. He is expected to sell in excess of $10 million worth of TV rights for the game. Also, the Stanford game will get tremendous exposure. I suspect this may also have something to do with Stanford trying to expand his wealth management business into India.

    Also, don't be too surprised if he buys one of the Indian premier league teams and rebrands them with the Stanford name.

  • Comment number 26.


    I'm not rich by any means and completely agree that National Teams should be on terrestial tv.

    However, you should probably make some sacrifices elsewhere in your life now and get yourself a dish. Don't keep missing out on the game you love!

  • Comment number 27.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 28.

    Thanks for that Censura, very interesting.

    Will look forward to picking up my copy on the way home tonight.

  • Comment number 29.


    Note that my post has been "referred to the moderators" I wonder why - and who they are!!!

    there was nothing offesive in it and nothing against BBC guidelines. Somebody a bit upset do you think??

  • Comment number 30.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 31.

    I have been asked not to make comments about TMS and Mike Selvey on this blog because it is off message. I will off course respect this. There is, however, a BBC/TMS blog which is still open where such a dialogue clearly is on message. Here's the link:


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