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US tycoon offers $20 mn to a team for T20 match

Agencies

Posted: Feb 25, 2008 at 1407 hrs IST
      

Melbourne, February 25:: Apparently trying to compete with the lucrative IPL, maverick Texan billionaire Allen Stanford has offered the Australian, English and Indian cricketers USD 20 million from a single Twenty20 match next year in the West Indies.

He is wooing Australian and English cricketers to play against an all-star team from around the West Indies for winner-takes-all prize of USD 20 million.

"If enough players in Australia or England or India know they have a chance to come down here to the Caribbean and walk away, each one of them, with millions of dollars in their pocket, I think it will probably happen," Stanford said.

"All this junk I had to go through in the beginning ...well, the project is too big now. So I think next year it is absolutely certain to happen," he was quoted as saying by Sydney Morning Herald.

The Indian Cricket Board had snubbed a similar invitation after its cricketers won the Twenty20 World Cup in September last year and has since trumped Stanford by launching the IPL.

The Texan had suggested that the IPL tapped into the mercenary instincts of the modern sportsman. By contrast, he is adamant that in Stanford Twenty20, the domestic competition involving 21 Caribbean nations, cricketers will represent only their own islands.

"I invited the winner (of the Twenty20 world championship) to come over here (the West Indies) and play first for USD 5 million and then I said, 'I'll give you USD 10 million'. The (Indian board) said, 'No, we don't want to do that, because it would be endorsing a privately funded programme', and look what they've done.

"What I eventually want to have is what I call 'the OK Corral'. Anytime, any place, you come to our field and play one game, Twenty20, for USD 20 million. The best of our players against your team," said the man whose previous proposal of an international quadrangular Twenty20 tournament was shot down by the ICC.

He is yet to hold formal talks with the boards of Australia or England about either country's availability, but expecting their cricketers making a flying visit for just a four-hour match around the time of the Ashes Down Under in June 2009.

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