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Texan billionaire pumps millions into cricket
by Marcus Bethel
Jul 05, 2007
If Twenty20 cricket is the channel through which West Indies cricket will plot its revival course, then definitely Sir Allen Stanford is the captain who will take this battered ship home as he pledges the fuel and the flag ship necessary for the voyage.

Stanford told reporters last Wednesday, that after investing $30 million over the past 18 months, he is digging deeper to higher grounds as he pledges US $100 million over the next three years, into the tournament that bears his name. “Our talent in the region is not up to world class standards. It’s up to us to bring it to world class standards, it’s up to us to provide a venue to export it to the world, it’s up to me to put the money in play to make it happen,” the Texan billionaire said.

Stanford announced plans to host a US $20 million Tewnty20 match which will feature the Stanford All Star XI versus the winner of an elimination tournament that would include Sri Lanka, Australia, India and South Africa. In being able to pull this off, and with ESPN present to cover the event, Stanford claims, “We will have something that the world will tune into and pay for and I can see some modest return on the investment.”

The eight-day tournament which bowls off on January 27 with Dominica doing battle against the British Virgin Islands will see the addition of two new teams. The surprise inclusion of Cuba and the Turks & Caicos takes the tally of participating teams to 21, with plans of getting two other Spanish speaking Caribbean territories, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic onboard by 2009.

The ultimate focus is to create 21 professional teams in the Caribbean whereby cricketers can earn a living playing the sport thus encouraging a devoted effort when cricket becomes a full time job. Hopefully, this professional approach will see more infrastructures being set in place for the development of cricketers in the region and encourage more professionals to get involved in the process.

With West Indies cricket adrift and the modest crew trying desperately to hold it together in the absence of committed, reliable officers, there is no better time than now to take the MV Windies to the dockyard. If there is anything worth salvaging then so be it, but to have a luxury liner in the form of the Stanford Twenty20 competition, let’s hope that at least we can see the coast guard towing our distressed vessel back to port.

With the rays of the Inaugural Stanford Twenty20 competition still peeking through the clouds of the gloomy ICC Caribbean World Cup, lets hope there is real good in all for Caribbean cricket and so approach the proposal with open minds and hands. As we strive to rekindle the flames that warm the hearts of West Indians everywhere, let’s continue to rally around our crickets and cheer our generous contributors as we unify to cheer “Viva Allen Stanford Twenty20 cricket.”

 
More Views by Marcus Bethel
  Cricket Returns Home
  WIPA Players Want Clean Slate
  Texan billionaire pumps millions into cricket
  Score : WIPA – 5 WICB – 0
  West versus Indies: A team against itself
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