Posts Tagged ‘allen stanford’

Sir Allen Stanford has been arrested by the FBI and will face charges in a US federal court this morning. The allegedly fraudulent cricket-loving Texan billionaire and admirer of Matt Prior’s wife has denied any wrongdoing.

If any aggreived West Indian cricket fans want to see the man who was briefly touted as the WICB’s saviour (and who may still owe Ramnaresh Sarwan and Shivnarine Chanderpaul a million dollars) in tears, then go here.

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Well, that was easier than expected.

England enjoyed a comfortable 10-wicket win over the Windies, mainly thanks to a combination of some fine bowling by the hosts and some awful fielding by the tourists. No doubt this will encourage some people to start dreaming of Ashes success, but that may prove to be a little wide of the mark.

Nevertheless, it’s nice to see an England Test victory – there hasn’t been one since last August, before SStrauss was captain, before Allen Stanford was a wanted man, and before English Test cricketers played in the IPL.

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Inzamam ul-Haq could be amongst a host of Lahore Badshahs players about to take a bite of the Big Apple (or rather the big APL) as Jay Mir of the American Sports & Entertainment Group (me neither) plans an ‘American Premier League‘ Twenty20 tournament based at a converted baseball field in New York.

The last man to try and sell cricket to the Americans, of course, was Allen Stanford. The less said about that, I think, the better.

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Andrew Strauss hasn’t played a limited overs international since April 2007, but tonight he leads England in a Twenty20 international against a West Indies side superficially similar to the Stanford Superstars team that beat England by 10 wickets back when Allen Stanford was more likely to be asked ‘is it fun being a millionaire?‘ than ‘how do you plead?‘.

Cricinfo’s preview of tonight’s match expects Ian Bell to open the batting for England alongside Strauss. Yes, that’s right, Ian Bell.

England have never quite managed to get their Twenty20 opening partnership right. They have tried the following in the last four years: Geraint Jones and Marcus Trescothick, Strauss and Trescothick, Trescothick and Bell, Ed Joyce and Michael Vaughan, Alastair Cook and Matt Prior, Prior and Darren Maddy, Prior and Luke Wright, Maddy and Vikram Solanki, Wright and Phil Mustard, and Bell and Wright. That’s 10 different partnerships in a mere 14 matches.

I doubt that Bell and Strauss are the solution, but I will graciously suspend judgement until, ooh, maybe the fifth over of tonight’s match.

UPDATE: It now seems that England will try another opening pair – Steve Davies and Ravi Bopara. They seem more like a Twenty20 opening pair than Strauss and Bell, so let’s hope for some success.

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Allen Stanford has charged with fraud in the USA. The
Texan billionaire and incorrigible flirt has had his offices raided by US Marshalls (Tommy Lee Jones and Robert Downey Jr sadly not amongst them). This, unsurpisingly, has led the ECB to suspend talks with Stanford over future joint projects.

The alleged fraud is said to be related to “misrepresenting the safety and liquidity” of Certificates of Deposit sold by Stanford International Bank.

It has been rumoured for some time that Stanford was looking to scale back his involvement in cricket, but few can have forseen such a dramatic development. The WICB, mired as it already is in bad publicity, could certainly have done without this additional headache – Stanford in effect bankrolls their domestic Twenty20 competition.

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Play has sensationally been abandoned for the day after only ten deliveries of the second Test between England and West Indies at the Sir Vivian Richards stadium in Antigua, after the sand-based outfield was deemed a safety risk to the bowlers.

This raises a number of questions. Firstly, how do you sensationally abandon something? Also, how can a surface that was deemed fit to play on be proved not to be fit for play after a mere ten balls? How does Owais Shah feel right now, having had what may be his last chance to make an impression on the Test cricketing world thwarted by sand? What about the Barmy Army – how do they feel, after keeping faith with England following the disruption to their plans in India? Is an abandoned Test more embarassing than 51 all out?

And, of course, what will the impact be if the Test is moved – either to the ARG or (whisper it) the Stanford ground?

UPDATE: it seems the Test will be restarted on Sunday at the ARG (at least, according to Sky Sports).

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Texan billionaire, helicopter enthusiast and possible evil genius Allen
Stanford is, according to reports, considering pulling out of the
Stanford 20/20 for $20m tournament following massive losses in the
event’s inaugural run (obviously, with his financial nous, he had expected that an event which mainly consisted of him giving away money would turn out to generate an immediate profit). The ECB have been variously reported as “in shock“, “in denial” and “unaware” – quite a combination. Adding to the speculation is the news that the ‘Stanford Legends’ have been disbanded.

This might turn out to be a blessing in disguise for England, who didn’t
really seem all that comfortable over in Antigua, or indeed to be entirely sure exactly why it was that they were there. The main effect of a Stanford pull-out on the team itself would probably be to reinforce the interest of English players in the cash on offer in the IPL, but that was always going to happen anyway. Matt Prior certainly doesn’t seem too upset.

Quite what the effect would be on the ECB’s finances is unclear, though I’d be surprised if they’d budgeted for any future income from a winner takes all match, given England’s shocking record in Twenty20 internationals.

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England are currently being demolished by India in the One Day series between the two sides. Admittedly, the hosts (and Yuvraj in particular) have been exceptional, but England have been awful. What’s the problem?

  • Is it the openers? To some extent. Prior and Bell are not the sort of ODI opening partnership that strikes fear into the hearts of opposition bowlers, and are generally representative of England’s lack of combativeness early in their innings. Prior in particular is now facing accusations that he’s only in the side because he gets on well with Peter Moores, and whilst those are probably unfounded, England’s batting order is certainly a bit odd (Bopara as a specialist batsman at number eight is almost unbelievable).
  • Is it Allen Stanford? The ghosts of the Super Series may still be haunting a large section of the England dressing room, and the distraction of the IPL-ECB negotiations can’t be helping. Confidence is hardly running high.

Chances are that all of these factors are playing a part in England’s slump, but things could still change if the tourists win the next ODI and regain the feel-good factor which characterised Kevin Pietersen‘s first few weeks as captain.

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Allen Stanford’s one-man mission to help cricketers dodge the credit crunch reaches its climax tonight as England take on the Stanford Superstars for $20m. The game takes place amid concerns about million-dollar catches, the quality of the pitch, whether the players are comfortable or not, and even whether their wives are in danger of molestation – and all of those links are just from one newspaper.

Jimmy Anderson will quite possibly be getting angry phone calls from his bank manager and cancelling his order for a helicopter this morning after it was announced that he’s not in the $20m team.

If you want to follow the game, then you can do so here.

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With everyone getting excited about all the money up for grabs on Saturday, it’s refreshing to hear that David ‘Bumble’ Lloyd would give away the prize money if he had been involved in something similar. Of course, that’s easy for him to say as he knows there’s no danger of him ever being in that situation, but it makes you wonder what the current England side might do with the cash should they emerge victorious from Allen Stanford’s cash bonanza.

Time was that KP would probably have spent it on a haircut, but in these times of financial turmoil, he’s more likely to spend it a little more discreetly (perhaps on elocution lessons?).

Luton Town fans will be disappointed that Monty’s not involved, as he pledged to save the club with any money he won. Better than James Caan, I suppose.

How would you spend the money, or how do you think the England players should (if they win, which doesn’t seem a certainty after the game against Middlesex)?

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Just a few weeks before the Standford 20/20 for $20m is scheduled to take place, its future is still shrouded in doubt due to the ongoing dispute between Digicel and the WICB over the status of the Stanford Superstars. An arbitration hearing is currently underway, with a final ruling to be made sometime next week.

The sheer amount of money involved suggests that some sort of compromise will be reached, but any court case so close to the start of the Super Series on October 25th is destined to cause severe embarrassment for all involved (with the possible exception of Allen Stanford himself – a man who arrives at Lord’s in a helicopter can surely have no shame).

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Is the prospect of a bumper pay-day in Antigua come November skewing the judgement of England’s cricketers? Steve Harmison has already been accused of returning to One-Day cricket for mercenary reasons, and in the long build-up to the Stanford Super Series, there will be more focus than ever on who’ll be selected.

Personally, I think the winner-takes-all structure was always going to prove divisive, not least within the team itself. The arrangement between Stanford and the ECB is arguably even more of a potential return to the Packer era than the IPL was, with all that implies.

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