Stanford Super Series November 1, 2008

ECB chiefs defend Stanford matches

Cricinfo staff
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Under pressure: Giles Clarke and David Collier defend the ECB's position over the Stanford tournament © Getty Images
 
The ECB has defended its role in the Stanford Super Series after a week of stinging criticisms about how the event has unfolded. These have included disquiet from within the England team about conditions with Sean Morris, the Professional Cricketers' Association chief executive, branding the tournament a 'garden party'.

High-profile figures back in England have also made their feelings clear with Rod Bransgrove, the Hampshire chairman, calling for resignations from the ECB and Lord MacLaurin, the former board chairman, comparing it to a pantomime. The MCC has also expressed concerns ahead of Lord's hosting the proposed Stanford quadrangular event next summer.

However, the current chairman Giles Clarke was adamant that no heads will roll when the ECB conducts a review of the tournament in the near future. "I have no intention of resigning. There will not be resignations," he said ahead of the winner-takes-all US$20 million match on Saturday evening.

"We are doing something completely novel, there are a large number of cultural issues to have come out of this. There have been a lot of interesting points made and we are going to think very carefully about the points that people have made.

"There are things we want to digest, think about which will be looked at in the review which we do at the end of every tour."

When the ECB accepted Stanford's offer for the game earlier this year it was in a difficult position. England players had been frozen out of the inaugural Indian Premier League, and there were increasing rumbles about how leading stars such as Andrew Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen were not able to join the world's other top players in earn the big money.

Clarke almost admitted as such when responding to Morris's comments earlier this week. "These types of opportunities don't come very often," Clarke said. "It would have been interesting to hear what Sean would have said to David and I if we had turned down the chance for his guys to earn major money, we had turned down the chance to get money for the domestic game, and we'd turned down the opportunity to spread the whole Chance to Shine project into the West Indies."

One of the other controversial aspects has been branding the side as an official England team, even though it cannot be one as the matches are not full internationals. David Collier, the ECB chief executive, confirmed this issue will come up during the review ahead of next summer's quadrangular event.

"I think we need to go through the review to address that [the name]," Collier said. "That review will happen pretty quickly, but we do need to discuss that with Stanford team and the broadcasters.

"Next summer, for the quadrangular, it's a Stanford team. The legends who select the team are different to the West Indies selectors, although if they come across as the West Indies side, there are all sorts of contractual issues. When Stanford plays against another side, it won't be a full international. But if two full nations play then it will be official."

With two other international teams due to be invited for the quadrangular tournament there could be a situation where England play under two different titles. Matches between full nations could count as internationals and matches involving Stanford's team would not carry that status.