Stanford’s Money talks Cricket

In the recent past the West Indies Cricket Board has sought to place at its helm individuals whom they perceive to have some business background. This may well have been the reason for having turned to Pat Rousseau and Ken Gordon. In both instances the move failed miserably.
There seems little doubt that should Stanford continue to make the kinds of moves h
e is currently making with the game the WICB may well begin to look at him as a future leader.
One noticeable feature of the Stanford initiatives, however, is the fact that he seems to have little or no interest in any other version of the game.
In keeping with modern trends in international sport, almost all major sporting organisations have come to understand that audiences are no longer interested in being seated for hours on end waiting to get results. They need instant gratification. They need to have results almost immediately.
The crowd attendances at Twenty20 in local competitions in South Africa showed the opportunities available to add several innovative ways of entertaining the people while at the venue. Stanford has recognised this and has also added his own. The results are there for all to see.
It may even be that Stanford does not understand test cricket and may have no interest in this long version of the game.
We are therefore likely to see more Twenty20 cricket in the region but most of the lucrative editions located at the Stanford Cricket Ground.
We are likely to see and hear Stanford not just from his own ground in Antigua but from the playing fields of England.
There is likely to be an aggressive pursuit of players for the shorter version of the game in new competitions where there are willing businessmen and women who believe that this approach would offer them better returns on their investment.
There is also little doubt that the shorter version of the game and the high-level involvement of businessmen would lead to an array of gambling options that are currently under very tight control by the ICC. It is likely to be an open sesame.

As the world quibbles over the popularity of the Twenty20 version of the game of cricket and the impact it is having on the test and One Day varieties it is clear that the players are the major beneficiaries. While we have been hearing complaints about the amount of cricket being played in so far as test and One Day series are concerned there are no complaints about the amount of Twenty20 cricket being played. The money is simply irresistible. The ICC is struggling to maintain control over the sport lest it becomes a redundant institution.
Meanwhile there is evidence everywhere of declining interest in the test and One day tournaments. The current series between the West Indies and Australia in the Caribbean has provided the ICC with all the evidence it needs that in this part of the world there is no little interest in watching test cricket at any venue. Indeed the series has been a disaster in respect of the foolhardiness of the respective governments who listened to their cricket boards and built ridiculous facilities that they now cannot fill even once a year.
The popularity of the Twenty20 version of cricket may well not last forever but while it exists it will allow for greater excitement and impact all aspects of a sport that has long since been in need of change.
Sadly, however, the WICB would learn that for all its frequent changes of leadership, the success of the Stanford Brand on the game in the region and now in Europe is predicated on his financial worth and his willingness to continue to make risky investments.