Stanford Super Series 2008-09 October 28, 2008

Stanford apologises for on-camera flirting

Cricinfo staff

Allen Stanford is pictured with Matt Prior's wife © Sky Sports

Allen Stanford, the Texan billionaire who has bankrolled the Stanford Super Series, has apologised for his behaviour after being caught on camera flirting with players' wives and girlfriends.

Stanford - who, after all, owns the ground - has his own TV cameramen following his every move at the tournament, though this was perhaps one incident that he might have chosen to cull from transmission. During Sunday's match between England and Middlesex, Stanford was seen with his arm around two women, including Alastair Cook's girlfriend Alice Hunt, while bouncing Matt Prior's pregnant wife, Emma, on his knee. "If that was my wife he'd put on his lap I would have wanted to punch him," one England player told the Daily Mail.

The women were said to be embarrassed, though unsure how to react.

Stuart Broad, who was bowling at the time, commented: "When the pictures came up on the big screen there were a lot of gobsmacked people in our side. Matt Prior was in a state of shock, especially as his wife is pregnant."

Stanford, 58, later issued an apology. "He understood that the players were not particularly pleased with the incident," said a Stanford spokesman. "He called both Kevin Pietersen and Matt Prior personally and they have accepted his apology."

Not all of the England squad were quite so bothered by the incident, however. Stanford will pay the players US$1million each if they beat his Superstars on Saturday, and Graeme Swann told reporters: "We went to bed laughing about it. He phoned KP and Prior to apologise, and it's water under the bridge. I don't think there was any genuine 'let's go home and not play' feeling.

"A few of the lads got upset about the antics with the WAGs, but I didn't see what happened," added Swann. "Someone said he walks around like he owns the place! He has built a ground, organised a tournament and attracted one of the biggest teams in the world ... you can't be surprised if he does feel like he owns the place, because he does."