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Posts Tagged ‘stanford super series’

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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New Zealand and the West Indies go into their two-Test series both looking for a boost, but with radically different recent histories.

For the Black Caps, a struggle to overcome Bangladesh was followed by failure against a vulnerable Australia, and the selectors’ dissatisfaction with the latter is evident from the changes that have been made to the Test side for this series. Out have gone Aaron Redmond, Chris Martin, Grant Elliott, Tim Southee, Peter Fulton; in have come Jacob Oram, James Franklin, Mark Gillespie, Tim McIntosh and Jeetan Patel.

The West Indies, or at least some of them, come in to the series radically richer than they were a few weeks ago following the Stanford Super Series. What effect this will have on the team dynamic, and on the relative importance afforded to Test cricket as opposed to Twenty20, remains to be seen.

The fact that the home side have recently slipped behind the tourists in the ICC Test rankings has not been lost on either side, and this factor promises to increase the pressure on both sides. Recent history between these sides suggests that New Zealand are favourites, but the Windies will fancy their chances, and this should be a close (and, I hope, entertaining) series.

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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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The contrast between the moods of the two sides going into this series. India are on a high following their Test triumph over Australia, whilst England have compounded their failure in the Stanford Super Series with an embarrassing warm-up defeat by a Mumbai Cricket Association XI.

Although it seems an age since England last played an ODI, their recent form is impressive. Kevin Pietersen‘s honeymoon period seems to be over now, though, and this tour will be a real test for the likes of Samit Patel and Graeme Swann.

The tourists may be particularly pensive given the wealth of young talent available to India, not least amongst them a certain Virat Kohli. Many of these players will have an eye on the Test spots vacated by Ganguly and Kumble‘s retirements, and hence will have plenty of incentive to perform.

The first ODI starts at 9am local time (3:30am UK time), and you can follow it here, or here.

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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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Andrew Strauss will find himself in the unusual situation of playing against England tonight.

When Middlesex take on England (as part of the Stanford Super Series), the county side may well be considered favourites, not least due to their wealth of Twenty20 experience. Also, Middlesex’s flexibility in terms of bringing in overseas stars such as Neil Carter gives them an edge, although KP isn’t exactly England born and bred.

You can follow the game live here.

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