October 25, 2008

Twenty20

Too many questions for comfort

Kanishkaa Balachandran

Duncan Fletcher, the former England coach, isn't a big fan of the winner-takes-all US$20 million Stanford shootout. Placing so much financial emphasis on what is essentially a one-off match could upset the balance between the three forms of the game, the high stakes involved could upset the morale in the dressing-room and stifle a player's flair and his ability to take risks. Read on in the Guardian.

For example, the Test team will contain some players who appear in Antigua and others who don't. How will a guy who's left out feel when the others start talking about the money they could make next November? The spirit of equality is one of the vital ingredients to a happy dressing room and this doesn't exactly feel equal to me. That crucial bond between players could come under threat.

There are other implications too. Even the four blokes who don't make the final XI stand to earn more for sitting around for three hours doing nothing than guys who are battling it out in the heat of a five-day Test.

In the same paper, Mikey Stafford gives a dummy's guide to the Stanford Super Series.

In the Daily Times, Nasser Hussain wonders if the likes of Andrew Strauss and Monty Panesar feel hard done by when the going gets tough in India if they are playing alongside players who have just boosted their bank accounts.

In the Independent, Stephen Brenkley says England have embarked on a "bizarre" venture and their players might be a trifle uncomfortable about the match and know that in cricketing terms it is meaningless. But the ECB, on the hand, have nothing to complain about.

So it would seem that this Twenny twenny for twenny match, despite its raison d'etre, is doing English and West Indies a world of good. Not so, actually. England, who like to think of themselves as both influential and powerful in cricket and indeed should be so, have been left behind since the announcement of the Stanford match.

Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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