As the Stanford 20/20 for $20m approaches, it’s becoming clearer that the money involved is affecting the way that fans are seeing the game. Only three members of the Barmy Army, for example, are travelling to Antigua.
It’s not too difficult to see why. What interest does the average England fan have in a one-off Twenty20 match against an ‘unofficial‘ West Indies side? Furthermore, it’s possible that England fans may even want England to lose, as winning $1m apiece might be enough to turn the head of a younger player and lead him astray, or to encourage an older player to retire rather than holding on for another few years (and another Ashes series). On the other hand, an individual mistake that costs all of one’s teammates a fortune might lead to division and resentment within the dressing room.
At the root of these issues is that, clearly, this match is about nothing other than money. There is no pretence that the Super Series is about trying to find the world’s best team (those two sides, at least in Twenty20 terms, are both in India at the moment).