Garfield Sobers champions Twenty20 cause

Published: Thursday, July 27, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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London:Garfield Sobers showed in 1968 how to massacre a bowler, hitting six consecutive sixes off a hapless Malcolm Nash and the West Indies legend now endorses the Twenty20 tournament in the West Indies, hoping it would infuse the much-needed excitement to Caribbean cricket.

Sobers, considered the best all-rounder ever, is working as an ambassador for Texan billionaire Allen Stanford's Twenty20 tournament.

The former West Indies captain had played a similar role in Kerry Packer's World Series in 1977.

Full of enthusiasm for the new competition, Sobers said, ''Although Twenty20 is not a lot of overs, you can still see some of the up-and-coming youngsters, particularly as far as bowling is concerned.

''If you can do it in those four overs, when you come to play at the 50-over level, you have (learnt) to concentrate in the same way and restrict players,'' he was quoted as saying by the BBC Sports.

Asked if he was tempted to have a go at Twenty20, the Caribbean legend quipped, ''I passed that day about 20 years ago''.

He lauded Mr Stanford for masterminding the tournament which offers a whopping winners' purse of one million dollars. Man of the Match in each match pockets 25,000 dollars and Mr Stanford has also donated 280,000 dollars as development funding.

''Mr Stanford knows the worth of sport in the United States and the value of players.

''He felt it was time for somebody to bring a game to the Caribbean which gives the players an opportunity to play for a fairly good sum of money,'' he said.

He was also very optimistic about the future of the tournament.

''Who knows where this could go? All we know at present is that it's very entertaining; a lot of people are talking about it all over the Caribbean. People who didn't have any interest in it are now big fans,'' he pointed out.

''It's good to watch and be involved in it because you try and do something for the future of West Indies cricket. I'm sure that a lot is going to be extracted from this Twenty20 for the future, added the legend who turns 70 this year.

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