September 28, 2007
Sign of the times?


The International Cricket Conference’s (ICC) inaugural 20/20 Tournament concluded in South Africa on Monday of this week, with victory for India over its neighbour and perennial rival, Pakistan. The result itself was a surprise, given the absence from the Indian team of its “Big Three”, Dravid, Tendulkar and Ganguly, and the dismal failure of that team in the ICC World Cup, held in the Caribbean earlier this year, with these same stars on board.{{more}}

The tournament itself has been hailed as a major success, with contrast being made with the Caribbean venture, considered by most a major disappointment in almost every area. It has also led to the inevitable arguments as to the future of 20/20 cricket on the international scene. Undoubtedly, the much shorter nature of the tournament as a whole helped to maintain public interest, even when the hosts, South Africa, failed once more to reach the semi-final stages.

But at least they had more success than did the West Indies when they were hosts to the world. And to add to Caribbean woes, following the fiasco at home and the Test series drubbing in England, the West Indies was booted out at the fist round, failing to win a simple match. The once-proud world champions found themselves unable to reach the last eight of an international tournament once again.

So what of the future for the Windies? The only indication came in the ominous presence of Texan billionaire Allen Stanford and his Stanford 20/20 star-studded team of directors. Stanford proceeded to steal the limelight by throwing down a challenge to the winner of the ICC 20/20 to meet a Select Standford 20/20 team in the Caribbean in June next year for a massive US $5 million purse. Because his League is not affiliated to the ICC, nor recognized by it, the offer had to be made through the West Indies Cricket Board. If anything points clearly to the future of the floundering game in the West Indies, it is this offer and the willingness of the WICB to facilitate it. A sign of the times, one may ask?