Famous cricketers feature in tech advisory board

Published: Monday, October 17, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Sydney:Ken Gordon is hurrying back to the Caribbean from International Cricket Council (ICC) business here for face-to-face discussions with Allen Stanford on the wealthy Antigua-based Texan investor's plans to launch a regional, US$28 million 20/20 (20 overs an innings) tournament next year.

"Any injection into West Indies cricket of that kind of money is a good thing," the new West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) president said before flying out of Sydney yesterday after attending an International Cricket Council (ICC) board meeting.

"What we have to ensure is that it is not in conflict with our system.

"Mr Stanford kept me informed of his plans even before the official announcement of the tournament and assured me that his objective is to work with the WICB on this," he added.

"I found it impossible to accept his invitation to attend the launch in Antigua but we've scheduled a meeting soon after I return," he explained.

Stanford, whose financial services companies have offices in North and Latin America, Europe and the Caribbean, announced details of the inaugural tournament on October 3.

They feature a US$1 million prize to the champions with US$500,000 to the runners-up, lucrative awards for Player of the Match and significant investment in players' development, practice and training facilities and promotion in each of the 17 separate competing territories.

Stanford has assembled a technical advisory board of West Indies cricket legends including Sir Garry Sobers, Sir Everton Weekes, Clive Lloyd and Viv Richards and chaired by Andy Roberts.

Although generally welcomed throughout the Caribbean, there have been words of caution from Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) president and WICB board member Ellis Lewis and others.

Stanford's plan was part of an overall discussion at the ICC meeting here last week on the implications of 20/20 cricket on the game generally.

"The ICC meeting recognised that 20/20 is an emerging factor and there was a critical assessment of its impact and the effect it might have on Test cricket especially," Gordon said. "It was obvious to everyone that it requires a careful balancing act."

England, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand are the only countries yet to stage 20/20 domestic tournaments.

Although 20/20 internationals have been played in New Zealand and England with others scheduled in the coming year in South Africa, Pakistan, New Zealand and England, ICC official Brendon McClements said last week that regular international tournaments are someway off.

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