Stanford collapse could force extra England T20s

Southampton (England): England could find themselves playing two extra Twenty20 internationals against the West Indies at the end of their current season in a bid to fulfil broadcast obligations, three years after the collapse of the Stanford Super Series.

According to a report in Saturday`s edition of Britain`s Daily Telegraph, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) face a problem in honouring a host £260 million ($421 million) broadcast deal with satellite station Sky, signed in 2008.

That was intended to include a Stanford Super Series every November, as well as an Indian Premier League (IPL) type Twenty20 tournament during each English summer.

However, within four months of the inaugural Stanford Super Series in Antigua in November 2008, where a dispirited England lost in the final to what was in effect a West Indian select XI, American businessman Allen Stanford was arrested and accused of being behind a $7 billion (£4.3 billion) fraud.

He is currently in jail where he has been treated for drug addiction, and is due to stand trial in New York on September 12.

Both ECB chairman Giles Clarke and chief executive David Collier were criticised for getting the England cricket team involved in any way at all with a private promoter.

But with the English county game under financial strain, the ECB will be keen not to lose money on the Sky deal despite possible complains from England players about adding matches to an already-packed schedule.

With the West Indies set to stop in the UK en route to Bangladesh, two matches could take place in London the week starting September 19.

England`s final match of the season, a one-day international, is set to take place against India in Cardiff on September 16.

International Cricket Council regulations mean countries are only permitted to play a maximum of three Twenty20 games in any home season.

As a result, should the two West Indies Twenty20 fixtures take place, it is possible they may not be accorded full international status -- something unlikely to please England players ahead of the tour of India.

But they could present a chance to increase the captaincy experience of all-rounder Stuart Broad, recently appointed Twenty20 skipper, ahead of England`s defence of the World Twenty20 title in Sri Lanka next year.

Bureau Report

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