ECB slammed for opposing IPL, rival tourney ditched (Lead)

February 18th, 2009 - 6:59 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Feb 18 (IANS) Plans for a Twenty20 tournament in the summer to rival the Indian Premier League (IPL) now look to have been ditched following the financial scandal involving its chief backer, American millionaire Sir Allen Stanford.
England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) Chairman Giles Clarke said “there is now a strong possibility” that the Stanford Quadrangular - due to have been held at Lord’s in May, after the IPL - “will not take place.”

“Clearly we are going to have to look at the matter with some rapidity,” Clarke said.

“A number of sides want to play warm-up matches in England prior to the Twenty20 World Cup, so I would expect there will still be major cricket matches at Lord’s.”

England, Sri Lanka, West Indies and a fourth team - both Pakistan and New Zealand were named at various times - were to have played in the tournament.

Keith Bradshaw, the chief executive of MCC, said there was no way the scheduled Stanford Quadrangular at Lord’s in late May could proceed.

“Clearly it’s a huge embarrassment for the ECB if this guy is eventually convicted,” he said.

“I can’t say he made an immediately positive impression on me, when he flew into Lord’s [last year] and started calling Test cricket boring.”

The Daily Telegraph said the Stanford Quadrangular is likely to be replaced by international warm-up matches ahead of the World Twenty20 competition in June.

The British media Wednesday rounded upon English cricket administrators for tying up with Stanford, who now stands accused of a $9.2 billion investment fraud.

“What possessed the sport to embrace a man like Stanford?” the Independent asked, before answering: “Stanford was seen as English cricket’s ally against the growth of the Indian cricket empire.”

“No matter that the subtleties of the game may be beyond him, that the meaning of cricket’s past was of no consequence. He had what everyone wanted. He had oodles of money.”

Former England cricket captain Mike Atherton said linking up with Stanford was intended to be “a strategic move designed to bolster the ECB’s position against increasing dominance of the market by India.”

“Because of the relationship with Stanford, English cricket turned down much more lucrative opportunities with India, South Africa and Australia.”

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