Pakistan offer too late to save $5 million showdown September 2, 2006

Stanford 20/20 match will not go ahead

Allen Stanford: Irked by 'a lack of efficiency and miscommunication on the part of the WICB' © Getty Images
The $5 million winner-takes-all Stanford 20/20 SuperStar game between West Indies and South Africa due to be played on November 10 is unlikely to be resurrected despite comments from Shaharyar Khan, chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), that his board would be willing to "bend over backwards" to accommodate the match.

The 20/20 game was officially cancelled earlier this week after it emerged that the PCB were unable to shift dates of the West Indies' tour to Pakistan, which begins with the tourists' arrival on November 7, two days after the end of the Champions Trophy in India. The first Test is scheduled to begin on November 11.

But according to the Barbados-based The Nation, Shaharyar is willing to adjust the schedule by a few days to accommodate the match. Shaharyar revealed that he learned on Monday that the PCB had informed the WICB it was unable to shift the original dates, as requested.

The WICB subsequently released a statement announcing their pleasure at the PCB's stance to accommodate the WICB and shift the dates for the tour. Ken Gordon, the board president, said, "This is very good news to me as we have tried to keep our commitment to do all within our power to shift the tour dates. In fact, I wrote several letters to the PCB and clearly these have finally swayed the Pakistan board in our favour. As soon as I get formal confirmation of the PCB's decision, I will convey it to Mr. Stanford. I hope it is not too late to reinstate the game against South Africa."

However, Allen Stanford, the businessman who conceived the SuperStar game, released a statement soon making clear his displeasure with the way the matter had been handled by the WICB and stating that the game was definitely off.

"The cancellation of the Super Star match was based on a letter written by the president of the WICB, dated August 25, in which it was conveyed that there was absolutely nothing that could be done with the dates for Pakistan and that Ken Gordon, as quoted in his letter, had conveyed his disappointment to the PCB Chairman, Shaharyar Khan.

"After receiving this communication from Gordon and realising the level it had gone to with the PCB and much contemplation on the issue, the extremely difficult decision was made to cancel the match. Subsequent to this, South Africa was informed, agreements with suppliers were cancelled and the Super Star squad that were training in Antigua were informed and the camp was discontinued because of the irresolvable issue with the Pakistan tour dates.

"At this stage it would be unprofessional to reinstate all of this to accommodate what appears to be a lack of efficiency and miscommunication on the part of the WICB, the very organisation who assured us the dates could be accommodated."

As things stand at this stage, the match is off; a PCB official confirmed to Cricinfo that the tour is scheduled to go ahead as per the original itinerary. But Shaharyar was due to contact Gordon from London to discuss the matter further and we may not have heard the last of this.

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of Cricinfo