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Posts Tagged ‘stanford 20/20’

Part two of the Twenty20 Champions League Preview:

  • The Bangalore Royal Challengers have almost as many South Africans in their squad as the sides representing that country (even without the injured Kevin Pietersen). Jacques Kallis, Mark Boucher and Dale Steyn all feature, whilst Rahul Dravid demonstrated in this year’s IPL that there’s a role for him in Twenty20 cricket which doesn’t simply involve driving down the run-rate.
  • Somerset‘s preparation has been dominated by Marcus Trescothick’s return to India, with some of the coverage seemingly willing him to suffer a breakdown. Assuming all is well with Trescothick, he and Justin Langer make an experience opening pair, with possible future ‘England’ wicketkeeper Craig Kieswetter also capable of making quick runs. It’s difficult to assess how well the English sides will do, but at first glance it seems a mighty task for Somerset to win the tournament.
  • Sussex have a reasonably balanced side which was impressive during the English domestic Twenty20 Cup, with the batting of Michael Yardy and Ed Joyce and the bowling of James Kirtley particular highlights, with Luke Wright and to some extent Yasir Arafat capable both of adding runs and taking wickets at crucial moments. The side may struggle against some of the millionaire IPL teams, but perhaps greater experience of Twenty20 cricket will count in their favour.
  • Trinidad & Tobago are arguably considerably stronger than the side which is representing the West Indies at the moment, with Dwayne Bravo one of the stars of the (now presumably defunct) Stanford 20/20 competition alongside spinner Dave Mohammed, and with Windies wicketkeeper Dinesh Ramdin also in the side.
  • Wayamba have the experience of Mahela Jayawardene and the magic of Mendis. The latter will most likely bamboozle a number of players who are missing international experience, although he didn’t quite live up to his billing for Kolkatta in the IPL. The side look more like dark horses than front-runners, but, as I’ve already said, anything could happen over 20 overs.
  • Victoria might suffer for the loss of Dirk Nannes, but David Hussey and Brad Hodge have the class to make an impact with the bat. Bryce McGain has another chance to make an impact outside of Australia following his disappointing Test ‘career’.
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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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With the cash bonanza that is the Stanford Super Series about to get underway, here’s a quick introduction to some of the personalities involved:

  • England arguably have the least Twenty20 experience of the four sides competing, but the likes of Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff should be able to adapt their big hitting to the format.

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Tomorrow’s Twenty20 Cup finals day at the Rose Bowl will take place under the shadow of two other events to which the participating teams may or may not be invited.

Firstly, the two finalists would in theory have qualified for the now postponed Twenty20 Champions League, although Kent and Durham wouldn’t have been eligible due to their scandalous fielding of players who took part in an Indian 20/20 League which had the wrong initial in the middle. Now, however, they will qualify for the not-entirely-different ECB-backed Twenty20 Champions League. This new competition will presumably allow Kent and Durham to take part should those teams make it to the final, thus ensuring that the world’s cricket fans will not be unnecessarily denied the opportunity to watch Rob Key play.

In addition to this, the winners will qualify for the potential cash bonanza that is the Stanford Super Series, where they will play against Stanford 20/20 winners Trinidad & Tobago, the Stanford Superstars, and England, all for big money.

Without even taking into account the EPL, English cricket has gone Twenty20-mad. Or should that be money-mad?

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Allen Stanford (of Stanford 20/20 fame) is set for talks with the ECB, to discuss ‘possible joint ventures’ such as an IPL-style English Premier League.

Is this an attempt to usurp any Indian influence on a prospective ECB league, thus triggering thermonuclear war (and not the good sort)? Or just a rich man trying to muscle in on the action?

Some, possibly including myself, would prefer to see the ECB follow, to some extent, a Stanford 20/20 (that is, with players generally representing their ‘local’ teams) model as opposed to the IPL franchise-based meat market.

Things are, in any case, definitely happening with this English IPL idea, and there probably won’t be too long to wait before more details are revealed.

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The Observer has a ‘Big Interview‘ with Allen Stanford today. It’s interesting that he doesn’t envisage his competition as competing for players with the IPL, instead seeing the closed off, inter-island element as a USP.

In reality, though, the tournament’s future is likely to rest on the quality of the cricket as much as the ‘entertainment‘ element, which could easily be replicated by almost any sport.

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Trinidad and Tobago have beaten Jamaica by 9 wickets (with more than half an innings to spare) to claim the $1 million prize.

Despite the fact that it was the final I wanted to see, the match was a bit of a walkover for T&T, with Dave Mohammed (the youngest of TEN children) and Rayad Emrit taking seven wickets for a mere 38 runs between them.

In fact, the cricket has been a bit disappointing throughout in terms of scoring. But there have been one or two interesting cricketers unearthed, especially Sulieman Benn, the first 6’7” spinner I’ve ever seen.

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