Posted by: nestaquin | November 2, 2008

Stanford 20/20 for 20 Superstars v England Match Review

While the rest of the cricketing world is celebrating with Chris Gayle’s young, motivated and vibrant team, The Tooting Trumpet, despite his obvious disappointment at his side’s performance, has professionally penned his immediate thoughts on England’s embarrassing 10 wicket loss in Antigua.

After all the hullabaloo and the wringing of hands, Saturday evening brought us the big money match at last.

Having won the toss, KP elected to bat – more accurately, he sent his players out with bats in their hands, since very few of them could be said to be batting in the accepted meaning of the word.

Against disciplined, but hardly world-beating bowling, England slogged and hoicked and missed and missed. That the skipper was bowled round his legs with all three stumps visible tells you all you need to know. Only Samit Patel and Stuart Broad showed any cricketing sense at all, compiling 29 for the ninth wicket, with Broad again looking a better batsman than bowler.

The Superstars’ fielding was energetic rather than flawless, with England’s 99 all out total more the result of their own failings than the opposition’s play. The Trumpet would have backed any of England’s 18 counties to score more than 100, with the better ones topping 140.

As is often the case after a dismal performance with the bat, the game looked completely different when the erstwhile fielders turned up at the crease. Andre Fletcher assessed the length of the England quicks and decided to baseball his way to the target, clearing his front leg and hitting cleanly with a horizontal bat. It was high risk stuff, but it worked.

At the other end, Chris Gayle stood tall and swung a heavy straight bat peppering the boundary from midwicket to long-on with shells aimed into the ecstatic crowd. To the delight of the sponsor, Gayle went to his fifty off just 33 balls off a by now demoralised England XI.

In a familiar tale, England, having invented a game, are now miles behind the opposition in terms of technical skills and, especially, strategic know-how. The Superstars won by 10 wickets with over seven overs to go, with Chris Gayle smashing Flintoff into the crowd for the winning six. Incredibly, if anything, that understates the extent of the win.

Where do England go from here? India is the short answer. In the longer term, England need to think much harder about the game and recognise that hard work, not whinging, wins the day.



  1. The aspect that stands out most from the match is how professional and composed the Windies appeared in comparison to England.

    It should also be noted at how ungracious KP was in defeat not once acknowledging Gayle’s men. He only made weak excuses and it wasn’t what I would expect from an England captain, who have in my experience, always been gentlemen regardless of the situation at the end of matches.

    If the Windies can keep the discipline that Stanford demanded and carry it through the rest of their cricket perhaps they can once again be a force in world cricket.

    My favourite moment during all the many moving moments during the celebrations was Shivnarine Chanderpaul being hugged by his sobbing wife and little child.

    Ian Bishop and Tony Cozier mentioned during the contest that the cash would help many families and communities throughout the region and it will no doubt inspire more children to focus on cricket as a way out of poverty.

    Wonderful images and only the stone hearted would not be overjoyed with the Windies success.

  2. Good points Nesta.

    Given so much concentration on the money, I deliberately focussed this report on the actual cricket as that almost seemed forgotten at times.

    As I wrote in June 2007 here, I believe Stanford is there to do good for West Indian cricket and, by extension, good for cricket as a whole. You wouldn’t believe it if you read our press.

  3. Have to echo the point about going from if not inventing 20/20 at least having the first pro league to now being behind the rest of the world.

    What is it about English sport that is just so bad at evolving?

    One thought added to that is that the central contracted players are inept at 20/20 in the same way England teams of a few years ago were inept at 50/50. The simple comparison of experience in the format shows that they just don’t have enough practice under their belts to be comfortable out there. And boy did it show…

  4. Hello all

    I saw the match (even though I said I wouldn’t), and recognise that the Windies were the more energetic and disciplined side. Agreed with your points too, Nesta.

    I was frankly disappointed by England, I wanted them to put up more of a fight, respect the opposition and STOP COMPLAINING.

    I’m still not sure about what Stanford is really about. But despite the hatchet job done on him by elements of the UK press, Sir Allen has played with a pretty straight bat throughout all of this – right from the moment his ‘eagle’ landed at Lord’s in June ’08.

  5. “Where do England go from here? India is the short answer. In the longer term, England need to think much harder about the game and recognise that hard work, not whinging, wins the day.

    Well said. In all affairs in the sporting world, there is a dominant body at any point of time. Fissures only divide the game and weaken it. The wise course is to go with the dominant body, diplomatically extract concessions and wait for the cycle to end and dominance come back to you. When England and Australia dominated the ICC – and shamelessly indulged in VETO politics, and behaving 10 times nakedly worse than BCCI is doing now, strutting like a peacock, drunk in their power – India and Pakistan lied low. When their turn came, it is no wonder that they are doing what was done unto them. Sri Lanka didnt get a test in England for a long time and even when they did, they were treated contemptuously – and now ECB will make sanctimonious noises about promoting test cricket? England, stop pretending is all I can say. The days of your ‘burden’ are long gone. Cricket today is the BCCI’s ‘burden’. They will do exactly what Eng and Aus did when they were at the helm. No point trying to paint them as oriental villiains. Any sensible person, even in England, will recognise the hypocrisy in that position, though I am not so sure about their counterparts in Australia.

    As TTT observed, the sane course for ECB is to accept India’s primacy and make peace with them – do their bidding, as it were. Confrontation will kill Cricket quickly. By laying low, ECB can atleast hope for the commercial;y succesful phase f India to go down soon, and once it weakens, the ECB will have enough politically smart and cunning people to take advantage, and once power is regained, they can shamelessly bring back the veto, too. Then India can be whipped in its ass, isnt it? And boy, wouldnt ECB do that shamelessly totally forgetting the noise they are making about BCCI dominance now, and doing twice the sort of crimes that they accuse BCCI of now?
    Ofcourse, they would and they would paint that in colours of ‘saving cricket’ – cunning should be the C in ECB.

  6. Personally I neither have sympathy for ECB nor do I approve of BCCI behaving like a Shylock.

    I am unhappy about only one thing – the ICL not being recognized as an international competition, and the ICL players having to sacrifice their careers in other forms of cricket. I am sure, if ECB, CA and other boards join hands with the Players Associations, and demand that the IPL patch up with ICL, Lalit Modi will have to fall in line. I am disappointed with the big players for not supporting the ICL ones.

    Regarding Stanford, if his plan to take the game to US succeeds, we can be sure that Lalit Modi will send an Indian XI to Florida any time of the year.

    About England’s performance @ Stanford 202020, I don’t think they went with their best team.In any England 2020 XI, I would want to see Dimitri Mascarenhas and Bopara, and not Cook and Bell.

    My mind is on Nagpur now, but I have a wish list for the England tour coming up.

    1.English team and press will not whine about the venues, food, weather and security arrangements.
    2.Indian curators prepare sporting pitches and not flat batting tracks.
    3.Indian press leaves Dravid alone and not ask him questions about his retirement.
    4.KP fails with the bat throughout the series and Flintoff performs close to his best with bat and ball.
    5.India wins the first test and escapes with a draw in the second, inspite of Flintoff heroics
    6.A double century for Sehwag

    That’s enough wishes for a day, I think :-)

  7. With regards to the ICL bans I am of the general belief that men should be able to ply their trade wherever and whenever they please and those that hinder them are nothing but oppressors of freedom and common sense.

  8. And I agree with Nestaquin, subject to compliance with contracts freely entered into and sensitively enforced.

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