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November 2008
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John Stern: Five lessons we learned from Stanford week

November 4th, 2008 by John Stern in England, Stanford Twenty20, Twenty20 and tagged , , , ,

1. Next time, don’t just change the name, change the team.
The Stanford Superstars are the best performers from the Stanford 20/20 so let’s do the same. Make the English team an all-stars XI from the Twenty20 Cup which would add kudos to that tournament and provide the Stanford event with the sort of context so lacking from last week’s farrago.

2. The jury’s still very much out on Peter Moores.
If the players were, as KP claimed, distracted by “nonsense” then this should have been the perfect opportunity for the coach to show us what he’s made of and ensure the players were switched on to the game. Instead, he trotted the same lame excuses as the rest of them.

3. KP is the new Tony Greig.
The obvious similarities were there before but his revoltingly condescending quotes about how Chris Gayle and his team needed the money more took him dangerously close to ‘grovel’ territory.

4. Leave the Wags at home.
They got plenty of the flak in Ashes 2006-07 and now at least one of them is the centre of another storm, albeit not entirely of their own making. A return to old-fashioned values is the only option – let them admire from afar. Or alternatively go the whole hog and give them the full Ryder Cup treatment. And then you find out which player invites his Mum along, like Jose Maria Olazabal.

5. England are mentally frail.
When push came to shove, they weren’t up for it. Whatever their misgivings about the event, there is no excuse for being completely ill-prepared for a game against a team of mostly sub-international players. The paradox is, of course, had they being playing Australia …

John Stern is editor of The Wisden Cricketer

Posted in England, Stanford Twenty20, Twenty20 | 8 Comments »

King Cricket: Get down at the Stanford Twenty20 party

November 4th, 2008 by Alex Bowden in England, Miscellaneous, Stanford Twenty20 and tagged , , , ,

Some people were playing a cricket match in Antigua to win $20million. We were going to a bar in Manchester. It was hard to see the connection.

The connection was that we were going to the official UK Stanford VIP party. Did we want cocktails? Did we want some canapés? Did we want a big screen showing the match? Did we want to see Glen Chapple? This was the place to be.

You shouldn’t caricature people but if you imagine a typical cricket supporter The Living Room on Deansgate is exactly the kind of place he (yes, he) wouldn’t go. But this was Twenty20 and it was for money. They were presumably after a different sort of person. We were intrigued to see if that sort of person actually existed.

We were greeted with the first of our two free cocktails at the door. It was yellow and sticky and we weren’t unduly bothered that the second and final free cocktail wasn’t due until the innings break. In reality, the odd one was proffered during England’s innings, but we restrained ourself.

The VIP room had lots of people standing up. We don’t mind standing up but we were a VIP. VIPs sit down. We went and sat with some strangers.

The strangers, Paul and Dave, were decent sorts. They’d been to a lot of Lancashire Twenty20 matches that season. Maybe they were the target audience. While they were more enthusiastic about the match than most of the VIPs, that only meant they were more enthusiastic than ‘not at all enthusiastic’.

Dave had entered a competition on Lancashire’s website. “I won – so I felt like I had to come.”

During the Superstars’ innings, we spoke about England’s slow, inevitable defeat; how everyone already knew the result, but the players had to play it out and we had to watch it.

“It happened at a few of the Lancashire matches this season,” said Dave. “It’s like having a knife slowly pushed into your chest.”

I asked if this match felt like that.

Lacking the burden of caring how the match went, we tucked into the jerk chicken and pastie things that surfaced around this point and when we finished, England promptly lost.
Then there was another celebrity appearance. Glen Chapple had given out prizes between innings, but this was far better than that. It was Oliver Newby.

Granted, we might have been alone in being genuinely enthused about this, but we were right and everyone else was wrong. You can usually count on Oliver Newby to say something amusingly sordid whenever he’s interviewed. On this occasion he said that he’d enjoyed watching Chris Gayle. “I’m partial to a bit of Chris Gayle spanking,” he said.

In the spirit of VIP-dom we got a taxi home. It cost loads.

Posted in England, Miscellaneous, Stanford Twenty20 | 7 Comments »

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