Andy Bull interviewed Allen Stanford and lived to tell a tale about intimidation and money...40 odd billion of it:
With money and power come natural charisma. Stanford commands
through more than just his cash. He has presence, the kind that stops
the pianist on a heavy chord when he comes into the room. He is, for
one thing, big. Bigger than Viv. His handshake crushes rocks and his
voice makes your guts tremble. Interviewing him, I didn't so much ask
him questions as simply listen to him speak. He was intimidating and
evangelical, a mix I've since seen in Nigel Benn after he took up
preaching. Stanford isn't just buying people, he's selling to them. The
man has serious plans and, after an hour in his company, I was sold.
Stanford Financial is worth around $43bn (£21bn). "The key players,
Giles Clarke and David Collier, waited at the foot of the steps in
obeisance, their hair buffeted by the helicopter's blades," wrote
Atherton of Stanford's arrival at Lord's. It's a cute turn of phrase,
but what else was he expecting? Something like that scene in 300 where
King Leonidas shouts "This is Sparta!" and pushes the messenger into
the bottomless pit?
Looks like Peter Moores and the selectors are beginning to feel the pressure of all that money:
Competition for places is expected to be intense, along with the pressure on the selectors who will decide the final squad.
But Moores said only merit will guarantee a player their flight to Antigua.
"The fact that it's worth more money doesn't matter, you still use the same judgement to pick the side," said Moores.
Meanwhile, here's a wonderfully thoughtful piece by Mukul Kesavan on the BCCI's Stalinist tendencies regarding ICL players and officials.