Stanford Superstar Showdown Washout
If Sir Allen Stanford wanted a hero to emerge from last night's money-spinning dual between England and his so-called "Superstars," his luck was in as the humble Andre Fletcher and brutal Chris Gayle cashed in on a lame showing by an England team that, according to skipper Kevin Pietersen, had got caught up in the hype of it all.
England's much-fancied players resembled, as one commentator succinctly noted, startled rabbits in the blinding headlights of Texas billionaire Sir Allen Stanford's cash-driven juggernaut.
However, while many of the younger home players such as Fletcher and substitute Rayad Emrit were celebrating making cricketing history in a rags-to-riches scenario, the critics of this cricketing circus will feel that all of their moaning and groaning has been justified.
A match that lasted for barely two hours had none of the intrigue, mind games or tension of a test match and was not even particularly enjoyable.
Sir Allen Stanford cannot be held to account for the fact that England only played cricket for the first two overs of the match nor for the fact that the Superstars had scored more boundaries within five overs of their reply than the England had managed in a 75-minute innings that made most neutrals and England fans grimace.
What he is guilty of, however, is overlooking the spirit, culture, and history of the game by rocking up and nonchalantly turning it into a game of baseball, a mindless game for those seeking a quick thrill. He has thus made as many enemies as he has won friends.
Despite all of the criticism that he personally and his ornamentation have been subjected to, he can reflect on a largely successful inauguration. He has, after all, achieved much in a short space of time and won the hearts of the islanders. He can take the plaudits for improving the (infra-) structure of Caribbean cricket, for arousing new interest in "cricket" and he is certainly getting the attention he obviously so desperately craved.
Hopefully, from the more discerning viewpoint of long-standing cricket fanatics, the attention will now revert to the enthralling battle being played out by the best cricketers in the world Down Under and to the more serious and worthy challenges that await this week's "villains" and "heroes" in the Test match arena.
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