Two former West Indies captains have placed their stamp of approval on the lucrative Stanford Twenty20 tournament which is set to bowl off this summer.
Sir Vivian Richards, the most successful captain in the region's history, and fellow Antiguan Richie Richardson, who succeeded him as skipper, both underscored the value of the tournament while in Trinidad and Tobago to oversee the hand-over of US$100,000 to the local cricket board.
Sir Viv said he strongly believed the Stanford Twenty20 initiative would assist in keeping a generation of young cricketers focused and that with the type of assistance being offered by the tournament, it would be an opportunity for advancement.
"This Twenty20 will be good for the region because what we are going to highlight in 2007 (Cricket World Cup), this basically, will be a prelude to what is going to take place," Sir Viv, a director of the Stanford Twenty20 with responsibility for Guyana and Montserrat, told CMC Sports. "The Twenty20 also will create the kind of excitements and energies, that were missing around the Caribbean for a long time."
Richardson, who captained the West Indies 24 times in Tests, said the Twenty20 competition would be an ideal opportunity for the players to get in shape for next year's World Cup in the Caribbean. "Certainly, the Twenty20 tournament will give the guys the opportunity to get into intense training for the shorter version of the game," Richardson, who played 86 Tests between 1983 and 1995, pointed out. "They will have skill trainers and dieticians to monitor all the players in the competition, and certainly it adds for the guy preparing for CWC 2007."