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CARIBBEAN - cricket -Stanford 20/20 tournament
Compliments of the Nation News
20/20 OFF TO A FLYER. The most lucrative cricket tournament in the history of the game opened in Antigua yesterday evening with glitz, glamour and razzmatazz. The United States Virgin Islands (USVI) scored the first victory of the much heralded Stanford 20/20 competition with an easy 47-run victory over St Maarten. It was the first match of the US$36 million project bankrolled by Texas billionaire Allen Stanford. In this revolutionary version of the game in which the players traditionally wear white clothing, the combatants wore brightly coloured uniforms, bowled an orange ball, and batted with black bats. Above, Allen Stanford (left foreground) and West Indies cricket legend Sir Viv Richards greeting each other ahead of yesterday's opening match. In keeping with the festival spirit of the contest Stanford sent down a few balls to Sir Viv. (Picture by Colin Cumberbatch for Stanford 20/20.)
SEVERAL LEGENDS of West Indies cricket met in Antigua in what is expected to be part of a major development in the game in the region.
The DAILY NATION understands that the meeting was organised by Texan billionaire Allen Stanford, who invited the former players to aid with the structuring of a new project - Stanford 20/20 tournament.
The details of the project are expected to be unveiled today at a massive news conference at the Sticky Wicket Restaurant, which is home to the West Indies Cricket Hall of Fame.
Indications are that over US$1 million could be pumped into the new project with the current players in the region as the central focus.
Last month Stanford indicated his willingness to pump money into West Indies cricket.
Seeing himself as a West Indian, Stanford said: "We have a great product - our cricket - a rich history and legacy. In October I am going to make an announcement about something that is going to take place one year from now and I truly believe the announcement will be part of the re-emergence of cricket as a world-class, professional sport throughout the region."
Sir Garry, the greatest player in the history of the game, also endorsed the new project, saying: "This is magnificent; what more can I say? I am very pleased to be part of it. Let's hope our cricket will make the leap forward from here."
The board met with Stanford for the first time on Sunday night and most said they were overwhelmed by the magnitude of the investment.
"These are the men I will be listening to for advice and guidance," Stanford said yesterday at the tournament launch. "They are the ones who brought glory to the region and the world and they deserve to be part of any project to revive the game."
Date March 07, 2006
20/20 boosts Windies cricket - Roberts
While praising the Antigua-based Texas billionaire's initiative, the Wisden Cricketer of the year in 1975 and former West Indies coach, chastised the WICB for failing to put the necessary funds in the development of West Indies cricket.
"Mr Stanford is doing it as a business, but in doing so he is helping to develop West Indies cricket, he is putting what the WICB has failed to do over the years, putting money into development of West Indies cricket," Roberts said.
Stanford is launching a multi-million dollar Twenty20 cricket series next summer in Antigua with 19 teams participating, and he is getting ready to disburse more than US$2 million in funds early next year to assist participating countries in developing their training programmes and preparing for the tournament.
Roberts, along with several other former West Indies players, is on the Stanford 20/20 tournament board of directors, and while in Trinidad briefing the national players and cricket officials, Roberts advised the WICB to grab Stanford's US$28 million venture wholeheartedly.
On Monday evening, the WICB issued a release on behalf of its territorial boards, triggering concern that members of the regional governing body were unhappy with aspects of how Stanford was executing his plans. The WICB territorial board's statement urged Stanford to take the path of collective participation with the WICB on the project.
The statement spoke of fear of Stanford's investment creating "duplication and division" within West Indies cricket, but Roberts appeared to have different feedback from the territories.
He told the gathering of players and officials that while the response from the territorial boards has been "sound", the WICB has been relatively silent on the developments.
"Officially we haven't heard any word from the West Indies Board, giving its blessings or that they are in full support of it."
Roberts, who claimed 202 wickets Test wickets in 47 matches at an average of 25.61 runs apiece, dispelled the growing concern in the cricket fraternity that Stanford's board and the WICB were at loggerheads.
"We're not in conflict with WICB at all, contrary to that, what we (Stanford directors) are trying to do is to help develop West Indies cricket."
Roberts substituted for former West Indies opener Desmond Haynes in Trinidad, to bring the players up to speed on the tournament.
He advised the national cricketers in attendance, including West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo, to "train hard" and prepare for the US$1 million winner-take-all Twenty20 tournament in Antigua next summer.
Compliments of the Jamaica Observer
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