Twenty20 cricket just got a little bit glitzier and a whole lot richer! Texas born billionaire Sir Allen Stanford has announced a series of five Twenty20 matches called the Stanford 20-20 for 20. All Star XIs from England and the Carribbean will meet once a year in a winner takes all 20-20 shootout where the spoils will total 20 million dollars or 80 crore rupees. It is believed to be the richest team prize for a single sporting match. The first of the annual matches will be on November 1st in Antigua.
If you thought the IPL packed in a whole lot of entertainment, glitz and glamour in its 44 days then this one just went a notch higher and this is only just the launch party. Sir Allen Stanford and a bunch of cricket stars being set down in the middle of Lords by a chopper, it just set the tone for a series of matches that will feature silver stumps and black bats, but it took Stanford a long time to finalise the series and now he has the IPL for inspiration.
"Well, I do appreciate what IPL has done but I didn't tie up with India because the English have better management and infrastructure," Allen Stanford, Founder, Stanford 20/20 Cricket said.
Lalit Modi might disagree given the success of the IPL and it might even be a case of sour grapes given that the BCCI were also approached and refused Stanford's offer opting instead for their own league. But this has been billed as a far more lucrative venture.
The winning team takes home a whopping $20 million or 80 crore rupees, the losers of course get nothing. Each member of the playing XI that wins will be 1 million dollars or 4 crore rupees richer for just about 3 hours of work. It's the latest in Stanford's efforts to revive cricket in the Caribbean and now in England as well.
"What football has meant for youngsters here, cricket will now attract players as well with this kind of money," Sir Ian Botham, Former England captain said.
Sir Viv Richards, Former West Indies Captain, however was much enthusiastic about its impact on Caribbean cricket.
"This will transform West Indian cricket. This is the future of the game," he added.
The mega success of IPL in India is clearly having a ripple effect in the cricket playing parts of the Western world. The ECB and the West Indian cricket board are hoping this big money high drama T20 cricket will do for English and West Indian cricket what the IPL has done for Indian cricket.