Stanford series a sorry spectacle
The Stanford spectacle is creating plenty of debate, and not just in England
The Stanford spectacle is creating plenty of debate, and not just in England. Greg Baum in the Age
writes that the past week in Antigua hasn't been much good for anyone.
World cricket authorities aren't happy. Whatever the future of cricket, and whatever the place of Twenty20 in it — they're still trying to work it out — they know it isn't this: once-a-year, winner-take-all exhibition matches in substandard conditions, without context or explanation, gratifying one man's ego.
They know the future must include a balance between forms of the game, including Tests; this man says he loathes Test cricket. They know it must look to rebuild the game where it is shaky. This man says he intends to rejuvenate West Indian cricket, yet already has reneged. Still, one man, so many millions. Might as well take it while we can, heh?
The county clubs aren't happy; they think the ECB has allowed itself to be dazzled. The ECB isn't happy; this deal runs for five years, but, having wiped the drool from its mouth and reaffixed its cap, it is already looking for a way out.
The England players aren't happy. For one, four of their party of 15 won't play, so won't make a cent, even if England wins, which means some jockeying for position, an unedifying spectacle (it doesn't seem to have occurred to anyone that they could whack up the $11 million between all 15). It might also mean a team of four off-spinners and no wicketkeeper, but 11 good blokes.
David Leggat in the New Zealand Herald
argues that the England players should not be surprised at how Allen Stanford has treated the tournament.
He's strolled the ground, beaming for his personal cameraman, plonked himself among a group of English players' partners, one pregnant wife on his lap, wandered uninvited into the English dressing room - which the players regard as sacrosanct territory - as if it is his personal fiefdom. Which in a sense it is. It's his money they're taking. What did they expect, a quiet, retiring poodle happy to hand out serious largesse in return for stuff all?
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here