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Stanford parade raises serious concerns

Jonathan Agnew | 12:20 UK time, Friday, 31 October 2008

Everyone knew this week in Antigua would be controversial, interesting and a massive talking point, but it has exceeded expectation on every level.

Almost lost in the early days of the Wags and presidential walkabouts was the main reason we are here - the winner-take-all play-off on Saturday night.

Lost, that is, except in the England camp, where the tension has noticeably heightened in the last few days.

There, two facts the media has been discussing for weeks have now hit home: that nobody gives you $1m for nothing; and they are in a no-win situation.

If they scoop the cash on Saturday, they will genuinely feel uncomfortable about it (in sharp and unfair contrast to their opponents, incidentally who do not have any of this baggage) and if they lose, some players feel that people at home will actually be pleased.

I have some sympathy for them, too, because they have been put in this position by the ECB.

However, a rare word of support for the board on this aspect (and only this aspect) I can guess what the players' reaction would have been had they heard in June that the ECB had been in a position to play this game with its massive prize money, but turned it down.


Now to Mr Stanford. As Mihir Bose has now discovered, he is an amiable, well-intentioned man with an ego even bigger than his financial empire.

There is no doubting what he has already done for cricket in this part of the world - and he aims to do a lot more. This week, though, he and his camp have made a series of surprising blunders.

Although this is staged in Antigua, they failed to recognise the audience they had to convince this week will be sitting at home in England.

We do not yet know the full depth of the association between the ECB and Stanford and everyone, including the MCC and the county chairmen, needed reassurance.

Therefore the PR gaffes have been disastrous.

I do accept that there is a cultural difference here, and that the Caribbean cricket experience is entirely different to ours, but you would have thought that for this week at least, Stanford would have kept a low profile, remained out of the England dressing room and left us all to leave on Sunday wondering what the fuss had been about.

Frankly, having given a series of excellent interviews on Thursday, I was astonished to see Stanford on his walkabout again later in the evening.

It is not that he goes into the crowd - but that he always takes a TV camera with him. Why, if he simply wants to meet the punters, does he need the camera showing his every high five? Make your own minds up.

And now the ECB. Had they taken a different direction with the Indians, we would surely be in a better position. The Indian Premier League would probably have negotiated a window with our backing, and the EPL would have its own too.

England's players could appear in the IPL with impunity and vice versa - there being a global acknowledgment that Twenty20 cricket needs to be controlled by the world community rather than encouraging rogue, unofficial tournaments to spring up here and there.

But English cricket chose the confrontational route, and we find ourselves isolated with only the dysfunctional and bankrupt West Indies Cricket Board and a maverick Texan for company.

And that is why the heat is now on the chairman, Giles Clarke and his chief executive, David Collier.


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  • Comment number 1.

    I think you have been dead against this idea from its conception in the summer and are not giving it a fair craic. Mr Stanford is a well intentioned individual who, whilst might not care for test cricket, is doing his best to raise the profile of the game in general around the globe and this can only be a good thing. I have visited Antigua on several occasions and what he has done for the game over there is unbelieveable. This competition was never going to win everyone over and was bound to have "teething" problems but overall I think it's a job well done.

  • Comment number 2.

    I feel that this jolly will have an adverse affect on the tour to India.

    Win, and the comfort of having secured their futures (or maybe in some cases, becoming big time charlies) may lead to them taking their eye off the ball.

    Lose, and the fact they were a few runs away from earning around half a million may demoralise them for months.

    The ECB have made a bad decision in getting into bed with Sir Allen, just to stand against the BCCI (when sooner or later they will have to co-operate with them).

    Although in a strange way, the spinning wicket will at least give them an advantage in India!

  • Comment number 3.

    Must agree with aggers on most points here, especially with the ones regarding mr standford. Why does he need his every move to be shown on the tv? Why did he have emily prior on his knee (although to be fair she could have refused) Why does he keep wanting to go in the dressing rooms?

    I havent watched much of this 20/20 series, but from what ive read the facilities that have been laid on by someone as rich as him is very poor.

  • Comment number 4.

    I just fear for the future of Test cricket. If the southern hemisphere countries get their 20/20 then we will have to have three 20/20 windows. This will mean Test cricket being squeezed.

    Good article Aggers a fair assessment of how we got here.

    The funniest moment of the week was hearing Stanford describe the WAGS as Englands players 'turf' and that he would not of approached them if he knew.

  • Comment number 5.

    As some have pointed out on other blogs, there is a cultural difference here and 'local' supporters will doubtless have a more favourable view of Stanford and his overbearing ego.

    But that doesn't mean that we can't raise our concerns, as I have always loved cricket and feel that it has a special ethos and standard of conduct which should be protected. I enjoyed some of the IPL (although too much 20/20 can diminish the excitement and it lacks the intricacies of the longer forms), but had to turn this mess off after a brief viewing dominated by Stanford meeting and greeting.

    I'm probably in the target demographic for this sort of thing, but I think we're in danger of cricket splitting into two sports, with different skills and standards, like rugby did when league and union split. Perhaps this would be no bad thing, but it's hard to predict all the consequences now.

    I would have thought that Stanford would try to appeal to traditional as well as 'new' supporters of cricket, but his antics suggest otherwise.

    "We play cricket differently over here". Indeed. All the best to the Windies in the future anyway, and I hope they put his money to good use in the sport.

  • Comment number 6.

    Let's be honest, this tournament has been a joke. The pitches are rubbish and the standard of flood lights/catching abysmal.

    The ECB have made a massive mistake by trying to beat the BCCI at their own game. They simply can't win and Giles Clarke has a lot to answer for.

    Why not just let England players play in the IPL, stage an EPL during the summer and remain satisfied with the massive income from test matches/sponsorship/TV rights.

    Eventhough I'm an India fan, I abhor the way the BCCI are pretty much running world cricket now. I would expect the ECB, with all they should stand for, to be above this grubby dollar chasing.

  • Comment number 7.

    OK Some KEY points here Aggers and believe me they are very relevant.

    1. Mr Stanford is a business man and is running the series to promote his altroism and business.
    2. If he up-sets the MCC and the ECB he really does not care a toss, he will have acheived what he set out to do and the world will be aware of it
    3. Test cricket WILL suffer from 20/20 but then all of the boards including the ICC have done very little to try and combat that - they too are running businesses.
    4. The point of the IPL and the other 20/20 leagues will sort themseves out as there is only a finite level of talent worth watching and eventually there will be one GLOBAL yearly event.
    5. I can remember back in the mid 90's when test cricket was both poor and not supported by the public. That has changed and as a result the likes of the ECB and the ICC need to recognise this and redefine the structure of cricket and what matters to the public that puts its hand into its pocket each year for membership, tickets or SKYTV

    Wake up Cricket and smell the coffee, there is a revolution going on!!

  • Comment number 8.

    Although I think it is all still a bit of a circus, I still would rather have this than the England players go over to India and play their at the expense of their counties.
    There is no way the BCCI would alter dates to suit England international matches, and they certainly won't be bothered about taking the top stars away from our counties. We already see far to little of the bes players playing in the county championship, without them swanning off to play a few twenty20 matches in India for a couple of hundred grand. If the ECB really want to boost the popularity of county cricket, then I honnestly feel that they should make every effort to ensure that the Flintoffs and Pietersens of this country play more for their counties, and the Stanford Series hasn't really hurt counties (although some players were made to rest for the last 2 weeks of the season, which was a bit harsh by the ECB).
    To be honnest, playing 1st class games in the championship would also be miles better preperation for a tough ashes series than a few games in the IPL ever would be, and surely preperation for that series should be the most important thing for the England team than preparing for the World Tewnty20. Shouldn't it?

  • Comment number 9.

    Well said, Noel!

    A lot of English journalists have been on a witch-hunt against Stanford since he landed in a helicopter at Lords. Talk about objective journalism....

    Personally, nothing would make me happier if England broke their contract, and never set foot in Antigua again. I would enjoy watching the Stanford Super Stars play South Africa so much more.

  • Comment number 10.

    What is wrong with you? You are so jealous it is unbelievable. Not just about this jamboree but about modern cricket in general.
    The whole thing this week is a joke, but let Stanford get on with it. It is his money, no one else’s. All this comparing the potential payday for these guys to the economic crisis elsewhere just stinks of envy.
    More to the point, Mr Stanford gave an excellent explanation to the infamous WAGS picture we saw earlier this week. His story stood up and I accepted it. Why did YOU have to keep on and on about though? Sometimes I find your so called journalism so amateurish it really annoys me.
    Maybe as so called BBC Cricket Correspondent, if you spent more time actually covering CRICKET -home and away, rather than just picking out nice sunny venues and Test Matches, I and others would have more respect for you.
    Pat Murphy and Arlo White do far more cricket reporting that you do.
    CMJ, when BBC Cricket Correspondent knew, and reported about all cricketing matters, not just the high profile, media friendly ones like you do.

  • Comment number 11.


    I generally have some agreement with what you say in all matters cricket but on this issue I think you are absolutely out of order and indeed I think you have left yourself open to claims of being pompous and a snob.

    I heard your interview with Mr Stanford last night and he came across as an honest and passionate guy (admittedly with more cash than I can dream of). You on the other hand seemed to sulkly snipe at him constantly with your "we don't like your sort in cricket" pettiness. We are like it or not in the 21st century and this brand of - ohhh aren't Americans vulgar went out with Jeeves and Wooster.

    You comments about the game and the the influence of money are frankly naive and the fact that as a licence payer, I am funding you to go over to the beautiful carribbean to watch great cricket for free just so you can moan and snipe is quite frankly gaulling.

    You and Lord Macloren need to realise that the game of cricket needs to pay for itself to survive and it is not there for your sole pleasure

  • Comment number 12.

    I agree with you. I would much rather the English players did this for one week than joined the IPL circus at the expense of the counties. What a shame that "circus" is too classy a word for what we have seen so far this week! To quote a phrase - it's just not cricket.
    Mr Stanford certainly had my jaw on the floor the other night - it was hard not to feel that he viewed my beloved England cricket team as a rich man's play thing, there for his amusement.
    But to top it all, after all the fuss about certain players missing out on the cash, it would have been absolutely comic if half the team couldn't play because of a raging case of the two bob bits!
    I am just pleased that it looks like it will be some sort of a contest. I am actually looking forward to the match.

  • Comment number 13.

    This is bizarre
    English cricket wants more money. Players can now make the same sort of money as top tennis and footballplayers.
    Yet when Stanford comes along giving out millions, both the players and ECB are unhappy. Did Pietersen really say "you just want to get it over with"???

    In any case won't spectators weary of 20/20 because too many matches reach a point where only one side can win?

  • Comment number 14.

    Isn't Aggers really bemoaning the spirit with which this is all being carried out? It's the symbolic damage that is being done to the game by the crass and vulgar way the Stanford series has proceeded that is the problem, rather than anything being wrong with big money or 20/20 per se. In some quarters the phrase 'not cricket' still stands for a lot, and I find it hard to disagree with Aggers when he protests, on many levels, that this is just 'not cricket'.

  • Comment number 15.

    All the issues here about Eng v stanford have all come from english players not being allowed to play in the IPL without being left out of eng squads, but before the IPL pieterson and co were complaining about too much cricket, we need a break and so on, then the cash is flashed in IPLand he wants to play, well u cant have cake and eat it too, so then the ECB offer this carrot, they take it and do nothing but complain, then in todays paper they will doit again coz of the money, they are just prostituting themselves as cricketers, no statsfrom thesegames are valid, all it suggests is that if I offered the eng players millions to play at my back yard game they would come, the only player laughing is masceranis(not sure of spelling)

  • Comment number 16.

    Having watched the Stanford series and also the current India Australia series I find that the 20/20 is really not worth watching while the Test Matches have been compulsive viewing. In the near future I think the 20/20 will just get boring as more and more sixes are hit and close finishes become rare.

  • Comment number 17.

    The whole thing seems so tawdry. Based on the random selection of one match, eleven players get a million bucks, while the four other get only (!) $250,000? Can you imagine the grovelling towards the team selectors all week - "Pick me, KP, pick me!! I'll wash your car for a week when we get home." Players actively (if secretly) hoping for team mates to be injured or still laid low from food poisoning, so they can earn a bigger share of the (filthy) lucre.

    Personally I suspect the England team would have agreed to share the money equally, or more equally, amongst the squad to lessen any lingering resentment from the four subs, especially towards the captain. I bet after watching Stanford pawing his girlfriend, coming in at number 9 and now having to watch the final, Alistair Cooke is just thrilled with his week in the Caribbean.

  • Comment number 18.

    I would have to ask if you are so aganist it why did you agree to go out there and cover it? You seem to have a sterotypical look nose in the air english stuffy attitude. You probarly long for the days of village cricket and warm beer!

    Well its 2008 and those days have gone! its about getting the people into the ground and being entertained, i agree this series has not been without its faults, but to constantly run down Mr Stanford while basking in his hospitality like the rest of media pack is a bit sickening.

    Yes its about money, yes it may not be cricket as it once was, but is that a bad thing? County cricket is dying on its feet and cant last with one man and his dog watching a 4 day championship match.

    Also your comment about "If they scoop the cash on Saturday, they will genuinely feel uncomfortable about it "..... Are you having a laugh Aggers - So are you telling us they are going to be so uncomfortable that they will hand back the cheque and say no Mr Stanford for the good of cricket we will not accept? Or donate the lot to a charity? I dont think so!

    Also the England team seem to be sulking around as well - but yet couldnt wait to be involved when they saw the cash on offer. Just reeks of the english going abroad and complaining when things are "not like they are at home".

    I hope Stanford team wins the game tommorow night, this could help the game in the west indies big time if this happens.

  • Comment number 19.

    Talk about creating waves , If I am Anderson( or the others ) Im going to be mighty miffed about having the chance to earn a mega wad taken away from me.
    In fact I might hold that grudge for quite a time.
    Un rest in the England squad here we come.

  • Comment number 20.

    I agree with Agers about the whole situation. What must the players be thinking in the dressing room.

    There must be quite a lot of jealousy being felt towards the players that were picked coming from the ones left out Cook, Anderson & Sidebottom.

    Are the other players regarded as friends or just acquaintances who are there to try and win $1 million.

    Why don't they have an agreement and split the money equally between the 15 man squad.

    Everyone knows why Steve Harmison suddenly came out of International retirement!!! $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

  • Comment number 21.

    Have they not looked at the pitch and prepared a faster, bouncier pitch so teh spinenrs will have less impact? And we drop Anderson for Swann? Kiss godbye to teh prize money, KP!

  • Comment number 22.

    Once Giles Clarke (a businessman) came in, this sort of thing was always on the cards. Clarke was always going to bring money into the English game and he's doing a very good job of it. Never mind that better (better wickets, better support) test grounds in England are blocked from staging ashes tests - we play tests in places like Cardiff because it can hold the most punters.

    So Stanford has been used to keep the players sweet having blocked them from heading to the IPL.

    I've no sympathy for the ECB here. Sport in America is a different beast - plenty of showbiz. Compare wrestling US to wrestling UK - a few pensioners waving their handbags at massively overweight men in a town hall - US ain't like that.

    So we end up with a rather tawdry tournament staged on a well equipped ground with a pretty poor wicket (Gayle lbw Murtagh to a grubber in the 1st over!) and lights that make it hard to catch the ball. Stanford can do what he likes as far as I'm concerned. He's got the money and the ego so good luck to him.

    I'd prefer not to watch his visits into the crowd but he's calling the shots. The fault lies with the ECB for their alliance with him.

    This is all the ECB's fault. They are besotted with the idea of keeping 18 counties even if some of the smaller ones might as well be South African state sides for all the Kolpaks. As the English domestic game can't fund itself in that structure - we have to get money from abroad and Stanford's got lots of it.

    I'll be watching tomorrow and cheering England on - but I'd much rather see us down to 9 teams in England and never darken Stanford's door again than watch this sort of T20. The games have been pretty naff spectacles anyway.

    Fix (i.e. correct!!!) the pitch and play day games to remove the problem of the lights and it could be good - but as it is I'm not surprised KP wants the week to end. So do I.

  • Comment number 23.

    In my opinion, Stanford has played with a pretty straight bat since his 'eagle' landed last June at Lord's. He may not be interested in Test Match cricket, but he never deceived anyone about that.

    My emotions have gone up and down with this tournament. I am still queasy about the 'spirit' of this game, but I'll be watching tomorrow night anyway.

    Cricket is entering new territory - let's hope the sport survives.

  • Comment number 24.




  • Comment number 25.

    Money makes 'whores' of us all.

    The WAG incident was a beautiful metaphor.

    England are Stanford's toy, and none of them feels good about it. The money will always feel tainted.

    If it'd been a fun series for a selection of English players without being 'the England Squad' it would have merely been a novelty and not have carried such a nasty taste.

    Even the cricketing establishment will bend over for a billionaire to kick it if the fees are high enough. Shoddy.

  • Comment number 26.

    From what I can tell this event and 20-20 as a whole is about making cricket more popular and getting people interested in the test game through the shorter and more accessible form. While Alan Stanford should not be able to use the ECB and ICC etc as puppets simply because of his money, surely if he supports the test game through his 20-20 tournaments, as he says he will, then this can only be good for the game of cricket.

    The county four-day game is dying here in England; not because people are not willing to embrace it - we all saw how the Ashes in 2005 captured the public imagination on a large scale - but for a few other reasons, I think. 20-20 has not taken off here as a largely watched sport because we haven't once seen it on terrestrial television. Most people I know, some of which have more than a passing interest in sport, have very little idea that this Stanford series is even going on. Part of this is down to lack of coverage in the mainstream media, and this has not been helped by the fact that cricket experts have 1) been so negative about the way the game is progressing and 2) shown a lack of respect towards England's opponents on Saturday.

    I am basically saying that I believe that a surge in interest in 20-20 will inevitably lead to a similar trend in international and county test-length matches. Media negativity is stopping interest spreading and will only serve to kill the game.

  • Comment number 27.

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

  • Comment number 28.


  • Comment number 29.

    no they dont get anything if they lose

  • Comment number 30.

    Stanford is not the problem here. As others have said, he has been straight up about his desires to make 20-over cricket a big event. He wants that to be top dog and Test cricket is not for him.

    The problem here is that the ECB went in with him into this venture. They can whine about the IPL threatening Test cricket (which it is) all they like, for it is grossly hypocritical to then shack up with Stanford. If the ECB wanted to preserve Test cricket as the pinnacle of the sport, Giles Clarke shouldn't have gone and sat on his knee.

  • Comment number 31.

    Aggers, I really enjoyed your interview with Tony Cozier on 5 Live last night, and I have to echo what he said. Re. Wag-gate, who cares? She sat on his lap. Big deal. Re. the lights, are we really blaming dropped catches on floodlights? Both teams have to field in the same conditions just like both teams have to bat on the same pitch.

    The general media coverage of this tournament has been painfully annoying and whinge-filled. Sure, there may be some imprefections in this tournament, but I'm sure there were teething problems in the first FIFA World Cup in 1930 as well. I'm no fan of Stanford or 20/20 cricket in general, but I am so tired of reading about conditions, and Stanford himself. I almost fell off my chair a few minutes ago when I read that the England team was article about the actual cricket match itself...I'd forgotten what one looked like!

    I wish both teams well tomorrow night. I for one will not be watching.

  • Comment number 32.

    Just a thought about 20/20 splitting cricket...........why dont we merge the tours into all forms of the sport.......a few tests, one dayers and some 20/20. (We should do this at home in the championship too). The point I am making is that the champions of the tour will be the total winners of all of forms of the game.....say 5 points for a test win 3 points for a one day win and 2 for the 20/20.
    This way the spectators get a bit of everything and each form of the game has a bearing on who becomes the best overall cricketing side....the true champions. IOt will keep alive the interest of a tour or league for longer.
    I think the major benefit will be that the gelling of all would prevent the split that is looking pretty ominous

  • Comment number 33.

    It's just all so boring.

    India v Australia test series is fantastic though.

  • Comment number 34.

    It's a grubby affair from top to bottom. Sycophancy, greed, vanity, lechery, prostitution, shame, self-deception, mendacity. We need Tennessee Williams, not Aggers.

    "Didn't you notice a powerful and obnoxious odor of mendacity in this room?...There ain't nothin' more powerful than the odor of mendacity...You can smell it. It smells like death."

    RIP my beloved cricket.

  • Comment number 35.

    I agree Aggers, fair comment, but, maybe not as truculent as you could be. In my view this whole Stanford thing is tacky and grubby in the extreme. Everybody's going on about "businesses" and how the Boards have to make money, which is fair comment but, in the main, is b*llocks! You only have to look at football to see what "businesses" have done to that sport, ruined it for the masses, created "Stars" out of blokes who belong in the cesspit rather than the genepool. The Summer of 2005 saw 13.5 MILLION people watching Test Cicket, a sporting event of the highest calibre...that is what the ECB should have focussed on and not signing away "our sport" to the Devils of Sky and Stanford

  • Comment number 36.

    Mr Agnew has at least been consistent in his hostility toward Stanford's "wager". I don't resent him for that, but I believe in my heart of hearts that the E(W)CB set this deal up for the England players without fully spelling out the possible consequences (that is, they might actually 'lose' the big game).

    The West Indies players (sorry, Stanford Super Stars) are usually more honest about 'bread and butter' issues - perhaps because the Caribbean region has historically - and collectively - lacked the English embarrassment regarding financial matters.

    In agreement with post #30, by the way...

  • Comment number 37.

    DISGRACE!! Anderson has been one of the best fielders in cricket over the last year and has been dropped so Swanny can get a game... Swann isnt going to win us a game.. Anderson can! Hope fo our sakes that we win, so that Anderson gets a share of the pot. Big decision that!! I think it depends on how well we bowl as the Stanford superstars have got some powerful players.

  • Comment number 38.

    And if the pitch is good an bouncy now and England still lose, they'll say that they were deceived into playing 2 spinners.

    Wasn't last night's pitch bouncier?

    Perhaps they were saving the best pitch for the most important match.

  • Comment number 39.

    Anderson's omission adds yet another tawdry chapter to this farce.

    If the pitch takes spin and England win he will have lost $750,000 the groundsman can't prepare a decent pitch.

    If the pitch would have suited his bowling he has either lost $1,000,000 or $750,000 because Kevin Pietersen and Peter Moores can't read pitches.

    Can Pietersen or Moores repair the damage that may cause to team spirit, in time for the Ashes?

    The only justification for this extravaganza was to compensate England players for missing out on the IPL. That fig leaf was yanked off by Stanford this week when he started lobbying for England players to play in the IPL as well. He can say and do just what he likes now that the contract is signed!

    Giles Clarke has sold OUR team down the river. He should resign.

  • Comment number 40.

    I have read these blogs and they seems to forget the West Indians who are watching and enjoying this series. There are problems Yes! but the point of the series is to energize cricket, make people want to watch it again be interested in it. All the comparison to IPL is not needed. Most West Indians are not interested in the IPL. We don't know the teams, we never watch it. Some are not even aware of it so how could Standford want to rival it . Please! Some of these people needed to stop being so uptight and loosen up. It is enjoyable and I can't wait for saturday when the superstars whip the complaining and sore- losers England.

  • Comment number 41.

    Aggers please give 20/20 cricket a chance. and stop moaning about it. its entertainment and fills grounds and a really good fun night out for the family. what us cricket fans want instead of sitting there for 8 hours to watch a draw, and the kids get bored and lose all interest in cricket. i also believe this game is a farce rumours abound that the money will be split 60/40 anyway between the 2 teams, whether in the starting 11 or not. my 12 year old son now is an cricket addict through 20/20 after years of trying to get him interested no chance. anyway aggers we all know you be watching on sky tomorrow night anyway. Or is it just jealously that you missed out. unlike ex footballers who have no problem with the money they get to day compared to what they get today? or maybe your bbc (paid by me by the way) freebie life travelling all over the world is not enough for you! COME ON ENGLAND! cant wait for our family indoor beach party watching this tomorrow!!

  • Comment number 42.

    Sorry Aggers,
    You are the usualy the reliable voice of reason but on this occasion I have to disagree.
    The BBC writers have been againts this series from the start (with many against twenty20 per se).
    The wags sitting on laps and Sir Al wandering around followed by a camera - it's all blown out of all proportion.
    At the end of the day I want to see an England side live up to its potential in the limited overs arena.
    I for one think this is the best side we have had in years.

  • Comment number 43.

    Aggers you don't help yourself by not responding to comments at all on any blogs you make. All the football correspondents make numerous replies and back up their arguments.

    There's a mentality in our media to knock people down, which is sad. E.g. the wag's 'incident' which was just a nothing, and the resignation of Russell Brand

    Stanford is just trying to add another dimension to cricket, and seems like an honest, straightforward guy who just has a lot of money. Just because he smiles in sunglasses and has his helicopter does not mean he is on an ego trip and performing the 'Sir Allen Stanford show'. Give the guy a break. Is their jealousy this money wasn't around in your days?

    I haven't seen once article showing the good things Stanford has done for cricket in the West Indies (academies and school clubs), typical of the stuffy, uptight English cricketing journalism we are used to.

  • Comment number 44.

    @SeanPF (post#43): in fairness to Mr Agnew, he did mention on 5Live last night that the press have not been shown any of the initiatives that the Stanford money had set up in Antigua. If I got it right, he conceded that it was a missed opportunity for Sir Allen to set up some positive PR, so that people in the UK could see the time and resources that Stanford has ploughed into Caribbean cricket these past few years.

    Having said that, I do agree with the thrust of your post.

  • Comment number 45.

    It's all very well for you to criticise every major revenue generating decision of the ECB from the comfort of your licence-fee funded salary and jaunt.

    Back in the real world, other organisations need to generate money for what they do.

    Point out to me which of the major revenue-earners for the ECB you support . . .

  • Comment number 46.

    hmm im sick and tired of u Aggers
    always against 20/20 all thru the summer
    why did u go to Antigua?
    a nice financial reward i expect !!!(in the

    firstly im a test cricket fan btw

    the ultimate test of all sports

    @ #1 i also have traveled around the Caribbean , and bummed around Antigua
    for 3 months or so

    the importance of rejuvenating cricket out
    there is off the scale, Stanford at least
    is helping out in a big way, showing the kids they can make a life, giving them
    something to strive for, instead of crack
    cocaine and alcoholism.

    to me Caribbean cricket should be about
    the craic! and not tallented kids and young adults addicted to crack alcohol and

    as some 1 else said earlier why don't the England players pool the money if they win
    or give half to the ECB or some other

    and as for the WAG's well they looked happy enough!!!!

    its a different culture out there! there's a jump up for any special occasion, even
    if its just a Friday or Saturday night :)

    im convinced that any 1 who truly loves cricket, will want to play tests, its the
    ultimate form of sporting combat/battle/war/chess

    20/20 will eventually support the test form
    of the game financially, and who knows test cricket may eventually become popular!!!

    please guys and girls, enyoy the short
    game, its a bit of fun, the party aspect is
    fun and occasionally we will see some
    brutal batting and bowling, as seen out in
    India :)

    i want to say more but im thinking i said to much already lol :)

    PARTY ON !!!!

    PS DID any 1 listen to BBC london last
    night ? coverage was awesome , part from 1 guy telling us the secret to the Stanford ground :)..............

  • Comment number 47.

    The England team are right to think some England supporters would be pleased to see them lose,and they are right to be uncomfortable playing for an obscene amount of money BUT MUST NOT allow these feelings to distract them from honouring the England shirt by winning this game against a formidable WI side that has much more experience of playing on this ground under floodlights and will be very hard to beat.
    There are always some English folk who have nothing positive to say who grumble and whine just for the sake of an excuse to open their mouths,and our cricketers should not be wasting even 1 second considering people who are not genuine supporters of the team.
    If England players were allowed in the IPL, given the restrictions on the number of foreign players allowed to play in each game, there is in fact little opportunity for more than 6-10 of the best English players to slot into the teams.
    The loss of half a dozen players from the first 4 weeks of the English season wont make a great deal of difference to the results of english games, so I say let them play in the IPL,and earn whatever the market judges their skills to be worth in India.
    I dont think 20-20 is having much impact on the paltry crowds attending Tests under the baking sun of the sub-continent, they were in decline ever since local people had easy access to TV coverage.
    I think space on the calender for 20-20 can be found by reducing the number of 50 over games played - these can be
    often rather boring compared to 20-20.In the UK, it is rather poor value for money to spend a whole day watching 2 sides score around 220 apeice , when we can see the same in 20 overs without all the dot balls!!!
    Test cricket is safe, because there are live crowds in the UK and Australia, and gamblers on the subcontinent who still very much enjoy Test cricket.Its the 50 over game that is truly under threat

  • Comment number 48.

    The Stanford adventure will be a long forgotten, dim epsiode in the illustrated history of 20/20, an established adjunct to the game with test cricket the pinnacle. The IPL is the model for he club-international pro in this form of the game. The 20/20 world cup is the international 20/20 tournament. Champions league will be representative only when domestic cricket gets properly organised; even then there is limited scope for incorporation, nationally and internationally. Compared to the current test between India and Australia, Stanford is a novelty piece. The real stuff, the right stuff, is happening at Feroz Shah Kotla. Stanford is a diversion.

  • Comment number 49.

    well said #47


  • Comment number 50.

    @48 bull,
    u r thinkin sooo English its not fair to west
    indies cricket, im hoping Stanford will
    resurrect west indian cricket!!!!

  • Comment number 51.

    Facts beyond dispute:

    1. The 20/20 bubble will burst within the next five years, losing a lot of people a lot of money.
    2. Allan Stanford will do nothing for West Indies cricket.
    3. No one in the US will ever care about any form of cricket (ex-pats excluded).
    4. Test cricket is real cricket.

  • Comment number 52.


    If so, hopefully it will be good for the garden:) I'm just struggling to complete the jigsow since the picture has changed. I'm a fan of India by the way, and I want the game to flourish at all levels, everywhere.

  • Comment number 53.

    There's a moral in this rather peculiar fable.

    Namely, JA is attacked because he was a player and is a gentleman (heinous crimes in our classless society) and Stanford because he's neither.

    Added to which Stanford provokes base envy because he's rich and struts his stuff, and JA because not only is he doing an excellent job but he actually has the gall to accept a salary and perks.

    Wow, did I say a mouthful !

  • Comment number 54.

    Many of Stanfords TV ads for his financial services company acknowledge traditional values and longevity. He would do well to plug these characteristics into his PR as far as his involvement in cricket is concerned.
    With all his resources, one would assume he gets the best advice....or is he surrounded by "yes men".

  • Comment number 55.

    This has been a farce from day one, but this is what happens when you whore your team off to the highest bidder, cheers ECB.

  • Comment number 56.

    Why not just wait and see. Then, if it is, money thrown down the drain.
    RANT AND RAVE as you are well entitled to.

  • Comment number 57.

    I think there's another issue at play here that's rarely mentioned and that's the sheer volume of international cricket, in all its forms, that is now being played. One anonymous Test Series rolls into another (Bangladesh v New Zealand, India v Australia etc etc) and there's no respite, no gap to whet the jaded appetite and, accordingly, declining interest, even amongst the game's most diehard followers. Cricket is now a rolling twelve month game and I sense a classic case of more meaning less, with players and supporters growing ever more weary of the treadmill. I've been a cricket player and fan all my life and for most of that time, certainly up the 1980s, there was a five month summer playing season and the occasional winter tour. Test matches were an event and occasions to savour, but now I sense a weariness and familiarity about them that has slowly ebbed away my interest. And that's not to mention the interminable round of one-day internationals and 20/20 tournaments like the IPL and Stansford. I fear the golden goose is laying an ever smaller and less attractive egg.

    Whatever happened to those halcyon days of my youth when I put my football boots away in April and got my cricket bag down from the attic and oiled my bat; then to pack it away in early September to get my beloved boots out again as the leaves grew gold on their trees. Timeless rhythms as the games fitted their seasons and appetites were always keen come the season's start. Now we have Test Matches in early May and late September and football in June.

    As an old traditionalist, and seemingly a dying breed of person who loves both football and cricket (the followers of these two games just seem to deride each other these days), I must admit I'm in winter sports mode now. That's why my attention won't be in Antigua this weekend but instead at home as the early winter crispness pervades the air and I watch my 16 year old son play his beloved football (he's an excellent cricketer too, but his kit is now safely in the attic). There's some excellent Premiership football to be seen too. Plenty of time for cricket come April and when there's some leaves on the trees.

  • Comment number 58.

    Well Aggers! You really don't like 20/20 do you. You've never given it a chance. If Cricket makes a bit of money then you get upset. I think the Cricket has been entertaining.

    Many test matches at Lords are draws, Yet no doubt there will be many more over priced bore draws there to come. Maybe the traditionalists need to get their own house in order before criticizing everybody else. I love test Cricket but it is grossly over priced, (at least in London), the players are under paid and my mom could get fifty batting at Lords. A pitch that is too easy to bat on is as bad as a pitch that is too difficult!!

    Please stop criticizing 20/20 until you and the other trads sort your own version of the games out.

  • Comment number 59.

    I as a Caribbean Cricket supporter and an Aggers blog supporter am a bit dumb founded at this point. Where is this criticism really coming from.

    To be honest... I do feel that it was inappropriate for Mr. Stanford to have Emily Prior on his lap, but I am sure she isn't a child and he was not Santa Claus lifting her uo and putting her there. She as a married woman should have know it inappropriate to sit on his lap as she is not a child. Further to that point her husband should not be disappointed with Stanford but in his wife, because guess what she is supposed to be an ADULT and ADULTS know or should know what is appropriate from not. So its Mr. Stanfords choice to have a lady on his lap, but certainly its the WAGS choice to know what is appropriate as well. Mr. Stanford not Guilty of anything there.

    the challenges of the playing conditions is something that may be a real talking point. However, the beauty of cricket as we knew it all along was the test of skill of batsmen and bowlers who can adapt in anycondition. But I guess we rather see drones who all practice on hard wickets and just go out and get that. NO i say , show me skill show me some ability to play in most conditions, if not all show me CHARACTER and stop complaining.

    I have come to wonder why this debate has deeped after the close encounter with it due to the real possibility that England can lose this game and hence due to the disrespect that is generally meated down to th West Indies these days, that seem inconceiveable. Hence is the englisg team via the English press creating a pillow just in case.... come on now..

    When the ECB took the West Indies not say New Zealand who have winters to most northern cricket grounds in England and proceeded to play in the coldest recored days of test cricket even two seasons ago... I am sure that those were seen as fair conditions, unfortunately... it was not sporting and I fault the WIBC for that.... but at the defense of the WICB as I understand the records of the books as is... they certainly aint bankrupt....

    So lets celebrate real cricket diversity and adaptation.... good job Mr. Stanford.


  • Comment number 60.

    Call me pessimistic, but I see the current issues of the IPL the beginning of a huge chasm in world cricket. The IPL will continue to be designed around the southern hemisphere calendar to the detriment to English cricket in the north. The ICC will continue it's Indian sub-continent bias.

    How can the BCCI get away with arranging matches with international players that encroaches into the Northern hemisphere's Test playing summer? They can arrange the IPL to run at a different time. But there is more money for them to arrange it during the English summer.

    It's time for the ECB and MCC to leave the ICC while the English still play the game.

  • Comment number 61.

    to joshbowlslegspin

    one disputable fact is that Stanford is doing something for West Indies Cricket

    1) for many yong men and women in this region he has made it attractive and appealing

    2) the development of professional sides has allowed for us to change status from a amatuer set up in the case most recently of Antigua and St. Lucia..

    3) the set up of the local tournement allowed for talent like Lionel Barker and Andre Fletcher who would not really had a chance at selection in the first class teams the ability to compete for there nations rather than the sub group

    4) money invested in the board which is throughly auditied which is to facilitate training and equipment

    5) i a hemisphere where basketball, american football, football and baseball, track and field have become profitable interms of furthering persons accademics and offering a career, cricket can now compete......

  • Comment number 62.

    What makes a game worth a million dollars? When you beat an old enemy against the odds, when the people watching become lost in its drama and the players' performances go beyond what we may expect in anything approaching normal circumstances. Some of that may happen tomorrow night, but somehow I don't think it will. Hype there has been, but real anticipation is low.

  • Comment number 63.

    The ECB and IPL need to sit down together and work out some way to accomodate each other.
    The problem is not just about losing a few England players for a few weeks. It is about counties too! If players leave for six weeks in a summer, where will this leave the county season. It is conceivable a county could lose half it's professionals to IPL with devastating losses financially.
    I really feel uncomfortable with county players been able to go play somewhere else during the season. Could you imagine Liverpool or Man Utd letting Gerrard and Rooney leave for Barcelona for a month in the middle of the season? I can see counties letting players leave, they come back with niggling injuries, miss more games and still get paid by the county.

  • Comment number 64.

    Very pleased with the anti Sandford, ECB, England and the whole damned idea that the BBC and Aggers have taken on this issue.
    Even more delighted to hear tonight that the BBC has decided not to broadcast the game tomorrow and that Aggers and Arlo and everyone else are coming home with immediate effect. Anything else and people may have thought you were all being hypocritical whilst enjoying the jolly, well done Aggers and the BBC!!!!

  • Comment number 65.

    Sorry Aggers but your comment is ridiculous.

    "England are in a lose-lose situation" - only with prejudiced people like you who have made up their minds.

    And as for people wanting England to lose, if they do (and I think you mean you do if you are being honest), then it just shows how stupid and immature they are.

    For someone who was so mediocre at international cricket when you were playing (and got in because your mate Gower played for Leicestershire and favoured you over others), you seem to be full of overinflated opinions.

    As for Anderson being left out - why not? Contrary to what Paul (fawning Lancashire biased commentator) Allott says, Anderson is not good enough to play regularly in one-day cricket. It has been a mystery to me why he keeps getting picked.

    Look at his record - he is way too inconsistent. The number of times he gives away boundaries at crucial times just when accuracy is needed, seems to get consistently overlooked.

    Swann will be far more accurate than Anderson - I am certain of that. Good move by the selectors.

  • Comment number 66.

    In 1814 Thomas Lord was bought out for £5000 by William Ward, that year he sold Lord's cricket ground, and this year the English Cricket Board was bought out for 20 million dollars. They sold a lot more than a cricket ground this year, they sold the respect of English cricket. From the moment Stanford arrived on the most vulgar of transport, the helicopter, and landed on the hallowed ground of the MCC, pimping his cash in front of the accepting eyes of Giles Clarke, he was an outcast. rightly so, he has disrespected the wives of the England players, and invaded the sanctity of the England dressing room. I for one would rather watch the ashes in june, with all the idiosyncratic quality that cricket has to offer than the brazen, brash americanized interpretation. peace.

  • Comment number 67.

    Were not the Saffas and Aussies initially approached by Mr Stanford to play in this tournament? We should ask why they kicked his offer in to touch but the ECB happily jumped in to bed with him!

  • Comment number 68.

    re #5, Dr Grammar: prescient. 2 codes is what will happen: it was already splitting into "specialists"; 20/20 will just accelerate that trend until the forms separate entirely.

    re #66, cybermikeyd: and that's the nub of WHY they will separate: because money will be the all-important driver of one, and "purism" the respected foundation of the other.

    unfortunately what that means is that there will be less money (hence less interest - from players) in Test cricket, so it will struggle to remain viable - and may well need support back from its brash new offspring to sustain itself.

    in a sense, that's what the stanford series is already doing, before its due time.

    personally, i wish 20/20 had not been invented; it is in danger of completely corrupting the world's most curious and mystically entertaining game.

    but since it has been, ALL the governing bodies had best sort out, and quick, exactly how to accommodate (and encourage) both forms at once.

  • Comment number 69.

    How can any form of English cricket ever again be about a squad. A decision is made and "ever present" Jimmy Anderson misses out on the chance of a possible £400K. Bad enough and for the other three. No pressure on him or them if he or they have to take the field as a 12th Man substitute fielder. No additional reward either. No "conflict of interest" theories in the media if any of them drop a catch or two and costs the rest of the team their win. I could go on.
    If they had to go at all, then the winning pool should have been split equally by the whole squad. They could surely insist on that. This has the potential to affect every other form of cricket we play by dividing the squad.Perhaps the best result for England in this circus would be to lose

  • Comment number 70.

    Agnew is sounding like an old fashioned cricket snob..
    He went to Antigua with a closed mind. The criticism of the wicket has been ridiculous - considering the weather that has been in Antigua the wicket is remarkable - and producing exciting cricket.

    20twenty is a bit of a nonsense, but its helping the Windies get back into cricket - and Agnew has completely lost site of that -apart from an occasional after though at the end of his articles.

    I hope the Windies team win, not out of any bitterness - just Windies need it more than England - and cricket needs agood West Indies team.

  • Comment number 71.

    I'm disgusted by the reaction of the ex cricketer journalists, particularly Aggers, to this game.

    The "vulgarity" of the concept is a valid argument, however I personally think the way it is reported smacks of hypocrisy.

    Wind the clock back to 1985. Aggers is part of the England side playing for the Ashes. Had Stanford come in then and offere 20 million dollars for the winning side in a game of 20/20 cricket, would he have said "Sorry guys, this is vulgar. I'm staying at home".

    No he wouldn't. There is an enormous amount of jealousy involved here.

    If it's such a vulgar concept, why are you even there covering it Aggers?

  • Comment number 72.

    This article is rather churlish.

    The Stanford 20/20 series that is held as a Carribean-wide tournament annually looks like great fun from the few highlights I have seen on Sky, with genuine entertainment value to be had for the spectators and players.

    The matches in this series are exhibition matches if very well paid ones, that's all, so I can't see the fuss that is being made about them and any complaining that KP has done makes him look like as hypocritical as Aggers.

    All this 'downfall of western civilisation' talk is becoming very tedious and over-reactionary. Everything changes.

  • Comment number 73.

    Apart from the Circus above... when the proper cricket starts again in India, does anyone know whether the One Day game in Guwahati will take place in the light of the following? I am travelling to India for a few of the games and was looking forward to visiting Assam.

  • Comment number 74.

    All this talk of team closeness we have been hearing from KP leads me to wonder: Has he thought how good it would be for team unity, instead of sharing his nightmare of the team list being written, to have persuaded his men to put all the winnings in a pot and share them out equally amongst the squad?

  • Comment number 75.

    As an ardent England fan who usually has to grab every second of play I can of play, I've realised that couldn't care less whether they win tonight or not. Does anyone?

  • Comment number 76.

    Why is there suddenly such a furore over Stanford's 20Twenty for 20 and Giles Clarke's role in the ECB's sell-out? What else should we expect from the man who negotiated the broadcasting deal with Sky, depriving many cricket lovers of the right to watch test cricket in this country? Not content with that, Clarke then brought forward the bidding process for TV coverage of test cricket for the period 2010 to 2013, before the responsible government minister had concluded his review of listed events protected by law and which must be offered to free-to-air TV broadcasters at a “fair and reasonable price”.

    I for one hope that the current negative reaction to the Stanford series and the ECB's role in its creation will force the departure of Clarke and David Collier, who is similarly culpable over the Sky debacle.


  • Comment number 77.

    Well I think that numbers 71 and 72 have hit the nail on the head as they say. Well said both of you. Perhaps the complainers are really football fans writing in and being negative because Cricket is for once getting a few headlines during the overpaid, under-skilled, and very boring footy season.

    And yes. I and hundreds of millions of other Cricket fans can't wait for the big game number 75.

  • Comment number 78.

    Aggers, England are not in a lose-lose situation. I think not. Try telling that to a player who will, if they win, all of a sudden have in excess of $600K in their bank account Monday morning.

    Lot of these journalists are coming across as jealous type.

  • Comment number 79.

    This has been a masterstroke by Stanford. As they say, negative publicty can sometimes be good publicity. How many of us knew Stanford wealth management company prior to his involvement? Now a lot more people worldwide do. This was exactly his plan.

    Also, his company has avoided bad investments unlike so many financial companies that have gone bust or are needing help as a result of buying up bad debt.

  • Comment number 80.

    Lighten up Aggers, all this negativity is both disrespectful to the West Indies and damaging to England's reputation - like the cricketers, you represent our country when you write. No wonder Tony Crozier was incensed when you interviewed him on Radio 5 in the week.

    Stanford has bought Team England for 20million, the ECB has agreed to it. It is his tournament, if it now turns out that we have made a pact with the devil, then weve only ourselves to blame. Turn your criticism to ECB if you dont like it.

    Of course there are cultural differences between the UK and West Indies, but lets stop painting ourselves as stick in the muds. Remember that 20-20 cricket was invented in England, and its been a stunning success, so we can hardly complain when others build on that success, we need to do the same.

    Im much more interested to hear your views on how cricket moves forward in this era of huge opportunity and no small amount of threat. Personally, while i enjoy some smash and grab cricket from time to time, Test Cricket will never be surpassed for me. I have my Ashes tickets already and wouldnt swap them for the world. What worries me is if youngsters and grass roots cricketers are brought up playing 20-20 alone, how do we produce players capable of making the transition to the longer form of the game with the levels of concentration and patience required. Its those sorts of issues which id like to hear your views on, not whether you think Stanford should be high fiving members of the crowd or not.

  • Comment number 81.

    People seem to be incredulous that KP wants the whole thing over with. But you have to sympathise with the man. He's the captain and I can only imagine the appalling pressure he's under. Yes, sportsmen have to deal with pressure but in this case there are some added, and quite distasteful, extras. As captain, he's the man who will be most responsible if they lose the big game. Always a big responsibility but in this case there's the added weight of all that cash. Then he has to tell 4 people that they're not even going to get a shot at the big money. Could you, as a captain, walk up to a freind and team-mate and give them that news? Could you do it without being concerned about the effect it will have on them? Then he's had poor pitches, bad floodlights, stomach upsets, and a billionaire messing about with his player's wives while they're trying to concentrate on playing a match. I've never much liked Pietersen as a person but I really smpathise with him over this, he's in a no-win situation.

    On the other hand, the ECB will be rubbing their hands together in glee, as they get their money whatever happens, and because none of them are in the spotlight they won't have the same problems in accepting it as the players will. It's "just business", and as always when that happens, the people doing the actual work get treatd as nothing more than "assets" to be manipulated. I've seen most of the things I love destroyed by the big business attitude, and now that cricket is going that way too I think I might just go and live under the sea.

  • Comment number 82.

    Looking forward to seeing Freddie Flintoff drop a catch in the last over that costs him and his team mates a million each!

    Seriously though, I wonder if there's an agreement amongst the squad that, in the event of winning, the moolah will get shared around?

  • Comment number 83.

    As a West Indian living in England i find the whole Stanford bashing down right annoying.

    First of all while Allen Stanford might have his faults egotism perhaps a fair one to level at the man it has to be said that his regional 20/20 competition has brought and element of professionalism to the game in the Caribbean.

    While i am an avid Test cricket fan, i have to say that Jonathan Agnew and the like are coming across as snobby journalists.

    Agger's i would like to tell you the same thing as i would tell the England cricket team, if you don't like it go away.

    I have to agree with Fazeer Mohamed, isn't it hypocritical to focus on everything negative about the week like a bout of flu and the substandard lights and pitch when (a) every team has to deal with the same conditions and (b) despite all their moaning these clowns from England will still play for the money anyway.

    So despite this morale high ground that the English seem to want to take they are still going to play purely for the money. This is surely contradictory but of course its all the ECB and Stanford's fault not the poor prim a dona crickets from England.

  • Comment number 84.

    no ones been complaining about the monies earned at the Indian league also i was dismayed when Middlesex played someone on loan what does this say about loyalty to the up and coming players who supported them and got them in to the finals?

  • Comment number 85.

    Yes Aggers there are concerns about this tournament but I cant resist the thought of 22 players striving to win $1,000,000 each for one match, even the drinks carriers will get $250,000 each.
    No subtlety but compelling viewing, or in my case, listening.

  • Comment number 86.

    i think the whole competition is a joke!

    middlesex getting neil carter just for the tournament shows a lack of loyalty to their players.

    the pitch is not good enough. the ball was staying down ( chris gayle's dismissal) or leaping up. though it is good to see a turning wicket outside the subcontinent.

    tonights match, i suspect, could fall far short of the standards we expect. the pressure might get to 20 of the 22 players which will ruin what should be a great spectacle

  • Comment number 87.

    Aggers, All interesting stuff but should we be criticising the ECB for being out on a limb. Surely our main target for criticism should be the ICC who appear to have completely lost control of World cricket and all that it stands for,

    I agree entirely that the 20/20 game offers a fantastic opportunity to promote the game to a new audience, However, there seems to be a very real danger that the short-term riches of competitions uncontrolled by a World Governing Body will drive us in a similar direction to the World's banking system!

  • Comment number 88.

    I have all my fingers crossed that our bunch of Judas money grubbers lose this charade......the sport was a game when it was played by gentlemen.

  • Comment number 89.

    Watching this rubbish attemp of a game tonite....just sums up what the feelings that the England players have about this little holiday away... they dont want to be there... K.P is trying to say that they would rather be looking forward to India and the Ashes next year!!! Aggers is right with his comments. The Stanford interview on Sky tonight sums up what he guy who wants to buy a play thing and sell his own brand and so make money!!!

  • Comment number 90.

    Why was this bunfight featured on the cricket pages?

  • Comment number 91.

    Could it be that England have deliberately "thrown" this match to avoid accusations of money grubbing.

    No, not a conspiracy theory. Just a thought.

  • Comment number 92.

    This week has seen a great sport reduced to the level of a tawdry prize show.

    There was no need for the ECB to accept the Stanford dollar so hastily. With the advent of the IPL and the new money coming into the game, the ECB would have had myriad financial opportunities to exploit had they taken their time and properly surveyed the options.

    Instead, they bowed down immediately at the feet of a Texan entrepreneur whose main interest was obviously to boost his own ego and bank balance. This betrayed a desperation which the circumstances did not justify.

    While some might find the money involved in the IPL unsavoury, at least the tournament itself had some competitive integrity and provided an entertaining spectacle. In that instance, the money was spent to attract talent and raise the standard of competition. The Stanford competition, by contrast, used its finance as a crude prop, a means of manufacturing interest. They forgot that supporters care about watching good cricket, and not about the players' level of remuneration.

    If this contest is to continue in future years, it needs to become just that - a contest. That means a proper tournament structure (league or cup), a more sensible distribution of pay so that the game and not the prize money is the focus, and perhaps the involvement of more international sides. Oh, and tell Stanford to behave like an adult and not a child with a new toy.

  • Comment number 93.

    I think the biggest mistake the ECB made was agreeing to this event under the guise of the England national team. As soon as the primary motivation of the players becomes anything other than pride in representing their nation the integrity of the players and the national side is damaged. Naturally the players were uncertain how they should react: they wanted the opportunity to benefit financially from the event, but knew that they would be pilloried by England fans and media if they were honest and said that pride in playing for the nation was secondary to the cash. If such an event is to take place again, it has to be as a collection of individual players, rather than as the national side. This would allow the players to treat the event for what it is without compromising themselves or the England cricket team. I fully endorse the comments made previously that the event also needs to have meaning and purpose before money is bought into the equation: if this event had taken place without the cash rewards I doubt it would have raised a single comment. The irony is that in the modern game where marketing and branding of the national side receives so much attention ECB have risked the reputation and image of the team.

  • Comment number 94.

    ECB -

  • Comment number 95.

    What an excellent result for the dismal future of 20/20. A one-sided match is a dull match

    And yet, somehow, this is a terrible result for the future of English cricket.

    Whilst the England players themselves will be disappointed by their failure to perform on the pitch, just imagine how much that will be compounded when they get home with the wives and girlfriends whose disappointment in missing out on all that extra shopping money will surely manifest itself in their own personal refusal to perform.

    How can a chap improve his batting when he isn't getting any practice at the crease?

    Things can only get worse in India.

  • Comment number 96.

    This charade got the damp squib finale that it deserved. Twenty million dollars bought the least exciting cricket match ever played. An England team demoralised by prostitution could barely lift the bat; and the bowlers knew by the end of the first over that they weren't going to win. Did anyone other than the captive crowd watch this farce from its unsavoury beginning to its farcical end? Surely not. This was neither good cricket nor even good television. It did not even make the grade as car-crash television. It's hard to believe that Mr Stanford will feel that he has had value for money for his obscene bribe which culminated only in poetic justice. I paid nothing and still felt cheated. Shame on the ECB and shame on the England players.

  • Comment number 97.

    aggers again the ecb have been sorrly wanting against the bcci this was no more than the ecb prostituting the english 20 20 team to the highest bidder for a match aganst at best the 4th and 5th best teams in the world with the hope the that winner taks all and the amount of money would make it relivant it has not again we are the cricket worlds laughing stock

  • Comment number 98.

    What on earth is everyone on about? The charade element of this tournament was the provided by the superior and snobbish views of 20/20 detractors turning their noses up at the money sloshing about and the perceived crassness of the occasion.

    In the event, a talented and focused team completely outplayed England in every department and Pietersen had no answers. His post match interview was pathetic, blaming the distractions of the week on the lack of focus. I seem to recall that before this match he had told the media that the players were training hard and concentrating on their cricket and were really up for the contest. It would have been nice if instead of blaming everything else under the sun he had acknowledged that the Superstars just played the better cricket.

    The match was indeed a disappointing one-sided affair but the joy of the crowd and the winning team was great to see and if Stanford's players can perform as well as this after their rigorous six weeks' training then this is a message to the WICB and gives hope for a revival of West Indian cricket.

    The right team won, they deserve the money, and England and the ECB look pathetic - but because of their own response - the Texan billionaire does not deserve all the blame.

  • Comment number 99.

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

  • Comment number 100.

    I don't know much about the politics behind cricket - preferring instead to concentrate on enjoying the actual matches.

    But, it's apparent to me that cricket deserves better than this.

    The spirit of our beautiful sport is being tarnished by avirice, greed and innapropriate sensationalism.

    To me, cricket has always transcended these things.

    Congratulations to the winners, but please let's never see the England team put in this position again.

    I'm not a snob, I'm just an ordinary working-class cricket fan.


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