The interest in the game for many and we dare say perhaps the participants especially, is the money, the millions that would be given away.
The winner does not really take all. Some money will be given to developing the sport in the Caribbean while the English Cricket Board has also been offered some of it. Still, the winner takes home the biggest piece of the Stanford pie.
The lucrative professional Twenty20 competitions that have been started in India and whic
h seem to be engaged in a war of attrition – the ICL and the IPL – have made significant inroads in how the sport is viewed to say nothing of how it is played. The International Cricket Council (ICC) is at its wits end trying to come to terms with developments, much of which are impacting the sport from outside its control. At this stage the ICC is literally playing ‘catch up’ and not very well.
For the time being it appears that the Twenty20 version has tremendous appeal to any serious business interest in possession of money. The players will go where the money is. Interestingly, in this version of the game, the actual skills of the player in cricketing terms do not seem to matter. It’s all over in 40 overs. It is fast paced and there is a result at the end. The game is ideal for television and that is where the money is to be made.
As it now stands the WICB remains as deep in the financial quagmire as it has ever been. All of the predictions regarding the impact the CWC2007 would have had on the WICB’s treasury seem to have fallen flat. Just one year later even the WICB seems hesitant to make any serious mention of the competition and how it impacted the fortunes of West Indies cricket. The regional and international media appear to have forgotten that CWC2007 ever took place at all.
The WICB’s strategy appears to be to hang on to the coat tails of Allen Stanford as he allows at least for some financial crumbs to fall from his ever-expanding cricket involvement table into the laps of the organisation.
The leadership of the WICB, bereft of new ideas, or perhaps any ideas, appears to be hoping that success of Stanford’s ventures would see the game through to another level. Precisely what that level is seems unclear.
It must be rather irksome to Hunte and his buddies on the WICB to watch Stanford come from nowhere in the sport to reap the harvest that is currently the case. In another society, perhaps, the entire Board would probably have resigned in recognition of their incompetence. Not so in the Caribbean. Like the politicians that lead us, the WICB stands firm in its ignorance telling itself that what it is doing is in the best interest of the game.
In essence therefore the Stanford impact more than anything else seems to be that of allowing the WICB to continue its indulgence in self delusion.