Australians offered $20 million to play in Stanford Twenty20

February 25th, 2008 - 7:40 pm ICT by admin  

Melbourne, Feb 25 (IANS) Allen Stanford the Texan billionaire intends to offer Australia’s cricketers $20 million for playing a single match in the Stanford twenty20 against West Indies next year. According to Stanford’s new concept the Australians would have to play against an all-star team from around the West Indies, with the winner taking the purse of $20 million as a prize.

Stanford previously had proposed a quadrangular Twenty20 tournament, which was met with concern by the International Cricket Council (ICC).

India refused a similar invitation after winning the Twenty20 world championship in September and since has trumped Stanford by launching the fully franchised IPL.

Stanford is adamant that in “Stanford 20-20″, the domestic competition involving 21 Caribbean nations, cricketers will represent only their own islands but declared the IPL would not distract him from his ambition to gain global exposure by tempting a leading country such as Australia into a shootout.

This time, he believes the idea will get off the ground. While many of the Australian stars sold to Indian franchises in last week’s multimillion-dollar auction are not expected to play in the IPL next year because of international commitments, Stanford may see a chance for a flying visit around next year’s Ashes tour.

He is yet to hold formal talks with Cricket Australia (CA) or the England and Wales Cricket Board about either country’s availability.

“If enough players in Australia or England or India know they have a chance to come down here to the Caribbean - and, probably in their minds, more than likely they’re going to win it - that they can spend a couple of days and walk away each one of them with millions of dollars in their pockets, I think it will probably happen,” Stanford was quoted as saying in The Sydney Morning Herald.

“All this junk I had to go through in the beginning with some of the other folks in cricket trying to derail our whole project, well, the project is too big now.

“So I think next year it is absolutely certain to happen,” he said.

The entrepreneur’s determination to make a regular fixture of the shootout may pose another threat to the Future Tours Programme (FTP), with the BCCI likely to lobby for an annual window in the calendar so the world’s most marketable cricketers can play in the IPL.

Luring the 50-over world champion would be a coup for Stanford, who aims to make money by beaming games around the world.

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