Stanford to continue his links with England cricket

December 18th, 2008 - 9:37 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Dec 18 (IANS) England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) heaved a sigh of relief after American billionaire Allen Stanford insisted that he is not going to abandon his multimillion-pound investment in English cricket.The Texas businessman said he is reviewing his involvement with the sport, but that will not affect his work in the West Indies and his commitments with the ECB, The Guardian reported.

Stanford’s clarification contradicted statements by his own spokesperson that a complete pull-out from the sport was “being evaluated”. His statement confirmed his desire to work with the ECB on the Stanford 20/20, the quadrangular tournament at Lord’s and the English Premier League, but added that discussions are on between Stanford and the ECB over these commitments.

The ECB was caught unawares by the announcement of the review, but its chairman, Giles Clarke, was to announce that the quadrangular international series at Lord’s next summer, for which the Texan is a principal backer, will go ahead come what may. When the ECB releases the long-delayed 2009 fixture list, it will include a Lord’s tournament involving England, a Stanford All Stars team, and two sides from Sri Lanka, New Zealand and Pakistan.

Clarke, who is in Mohali for the second Test against India, had hailed the relationship with the Texan as a chance for English cricket to assert its independence. Any uncertainty over the five-year deal the ECB have made with Stanford would put the board in a vulnerable position, and be a boon the increasingly dominant Indian Premier League.

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