English rival to IPL 'inevitable' claims billionaire backer Stanford

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The Independent Online

Allen Stanford said talks are ongoing with the England and Wales Cricket Board about a possible Twenty20 tournament to rival the Indian Premier League. The Texan billionaire, who has already proposed a one-off 20-over match between England and a West Indies team, believes it is "inevitable" that England will have its own lucrative league to compete with the IPL.

"It's come up in discussions," he said. "The ECB are conservative. They are very, very carefully analysing it. I would look favourably on a proposal. I'm keen that the ECB take the future of cricket in their hands. I'm willing to be a big supporter.

"I think they're going to reach out to private investors and float something. I have spoken to people, a mixture of Europeans and Americans. It's a couple of phone calls and we could see something happen. The private sector would be involved, people like myself, and the ECB run it. TV revenue would be split."

He added: "If you ask me who's going to be directing the Twenty20 game in the future, it'll be the English. The organisation here is better, the management is better, the structure is better. The ECB realise they're at a crossroads. They either let the Indians do it or they step up. You want something that will have lasting value for everybody. The ECB, in my estimation, need to be the driver."

The former South Africa all-rounder Shaun Pollock will play for Durham in the Twenty20 Cup this season. Pollock, who retired from international cricket in February, will join up with Durham in June after his stint in the IPL.

Pollock joins former international team mates Dale Benkenstein, Durham's captain, and Albie Morkel in the north east.