Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

'Bond' Villain's Thunderball Knocks Living Daylights out of Calypso Game

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

'Bond' Villain's Thunderball Knocks Living Daylights out of Calypso Game

Article excerpt

Byline: David Mellor

SIR ALLEN STANFORD always presented like a wannabe James Bond film villain, hell bent on world domination, even if only in the increasingly pathetic world of international cricket.

So it's no surprise that he may be the real thing, accused by the all-powerful United States Securities and Exchange Commission of "a massive fraud" perhaps amounting to $8billion.

Stanford's public humiliation is a serious blow to the credibility of the England Cricket Board, and particularly to their newly re-elected chairman Giles Clarke. Clarke must be thanking his lucky stars the main re-election vote was 10 days ago, not next week.

But if it's an embarrassment to England, it's a potentially fatal blow to Caribbean cricket, because Stanford's money was one of the few positives for a game in precipitous, and perhaps terminal decline.

For those of us brought up in the era of Wes Hall and Charlie Griffiths, Viv Richards and Gordon Greenidge, it's almost impossible to take in quite how low the game has sunk in what used to be one of its great strongholds.

Years ago the farce of the unplayable sandy surface in Antigua, and the embarrassment of having to abandon the Second Test with just 10 balls bowled would have been unimaginable.

Why did no one spot the problems with the outfield before the match started? And why was nothing done to prevent such a public humiliation for cricket worldwide? Was it simply an oversight by blundering officials, or more disturbingly, is it because no one really cares that much about cricket in the Caribbean any more? Questions worth asking because the present Test is being played on a pitch rutted by football, now the West Indies' predominant game, in front of a crowd overwhelmingly consisting of 4,000 English tourists. Where are the locals? More significantly, where are the kids, who are the game's future. …

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