Stanford Superstars v Trinidad & Tobago, Antigua October 25, 2008

Superstars in name only

The lapses the Superstars displayed in the field - including Kieron Pollard's dropped chance - didn't augur well for their US$20 million match © AFP

It is ironic, given the vast sums of money that have been put up for grabs in the coming days, that the opening fixture of the Stanford Super Series counted for absolutely nothing. There was no prize money on the table, and in the end, no lasting memories either, as the underdogs of Trinidad and Tobago failed in their bid to secure regional bragging rights against the misleadingly named Stanford Superstars.

Instead the big guys beat the little guys with ease, displaying the sort of Caribbean cool that looked like simplicity but came within a whisker of being grossly inefficient. With Chris Gayle dropping out of the line-up because of a family problem, and Shivnarine Chanderpaul suffering from a stiff neck, the Superstars line-up was anything but, and that was before their one remaining class act, Ramnaresh Sarwan, was bowled first ball by Samuel Badree.

In fact, had it not been for a pair of key performances from two of Trinidad's finest - Kieron Pollard and Dave Mohammed - the result could easily have gone the other way. With those two turning out for the Superstars and bowling tidily at key stages of the chase, and a third member of their trophy-winning side - Rayad Emrit - sitting on the opposition bench, Trinidad were forced to field three debutants in Justin Guillen, Kevon Cooper and Navin Stewart. Gutsily as the trio performed, this isn't exactly an ideal week to blood the next generation.

Middlesex, Trinidad's next opponents, may have similar gripes if Owais Shah makes the difference for England in Sunday's encounter, but by and large they have fewer such issues to contend with, as Daren Ganga disconsolately pointed out. "In an ideal world I'd have wanted to have an even game, but there's no what if," he said. "Middlesex have the benefit of an overseas player, so it's a bit disappointing, but this is a wonderful opportunity for the young guys to show their mettle. I'm sure this will do well for them and their careers."

Ganga said that there would be squad changes ahead of the Middlesex showdown, with experienced campaigners such as Richard Kelly and Amit Jaggernauth ready to compete for their share of a US$280,000 prize. But regardless of Trinidad's inexperience, they still managed to cause enough problems to a ragged Superstars line-up to reinforce the notion that England are clear favourites for the US$20 million match next Saturday.

It wasn't merely the manner in which Trinidad restricted the Superstars to an insubstantial 146 for 5 in their 20 overs. It was the contrast in approaches of the two batting line-ups. Stanford's men responded to a probing opening burst from Ravi Rampaul and Badree with woolly swipes and impetuosity - best exemplified by the mow across the line that accounted for Travis Dowlin.

The Trinidadians meanwhile remained calm throughout their innings (too calm, as it eventually turned out). With five overs to go they were exactly up with the Superstars run-rate, and the fact that they fell short in the final analysis said more about the gulf in class than any tactical failings. "It was a disappointing loss, but this will give us good momentum going into the Middlesex game," Ganga said.

Of the two sides, it is the victors who will have the greater concerns ahead of their future encounters, despite the protestations of their stand-in captain, Sylvester Joseph. "The pitch wasn't the best and 140-50 was a challenging total," he said. "I thought we lost a few wickets too early, but we knew Trinidad would come at us hard. They were competitive tonight and though they fell short, overall the game was a good one."

But there is an awful lot to be won and lost by the Superstars before this week is out, and the lapses they displayed in the field - in particular a howler of a dropped catch from Pollard at midwicket - didn't augur well for when the pressure is cranked up a million notches next Saturday.

"There are areas we need to work on. We need to work on our bowling, and in the field there were a few blunders," Joseph said. "We've been preparing for six weeks under these conditions, but we've not had a crowd or the media watching us. I think tonight was a trial for us, and hopefully we'll come back to show a better performance in the field."

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Shivam on October 26, 2008, 15:17 GMT

    The performance of the Superstars were nearly unacceptable. With the 20 mil. match coming up drop catches and low scores are something that needs to be in the menu. To me there are players who are worthy of being on the superstars team and have been left out for invalid and excuses, from the Trinidad team that is. Players such as Ramdin, Badree and at least one of the openers,being Perkins and Simmons. The two have always propelled Trinidad to the victories in the past and deserve an opportunity. However I still support the Caribbean side( the superstars) from the 20 mil. match..hope it a gr8 one

  • Lloyd on October 26, 2008, 14:30 GMT

    The first paragraph sets up the jaundiced viewpoint of this "report" so I was surprised to see Mr Miller is not a mere reporter,but an Editor.But for 2 "key performances" the result "could have gone the other way", still you said the match was one-sided. I also could have done without the reference to the "vast sums of money" and "counted for absolutely nothing". Generally speaking everytime a professional athlete takes the field his performance should count for something, and its time cricketers make money. You really need to read "the Next Step for cricket" at

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