JIS News

Former West Indian fast bowler Michael Holding has expressed support for the Stanford 20/20 cricket tournament, which is currently winding down in Antigua.
The revolutionary tournament, which is the brainchild of Texan billionaire, R. Allen Stanford, offers an abbreviated form of the cricket game, with 20 overs being played by each side. In addition, the participating players wear colourful uniforms, bowl an orange bowl and use black bats.
In an interview with JIS News, Mr. Holding said that the tournament was an excellent idea as it was another avenue to promote cricket in the region. “I support the idea of him [R. Allen Stanford] getting so many teams from so many islands involved in the game. You can definitely see the amount of enthusiasm that persons playing the game have, especially from those islands not accustomed to playing in any regional tournaments,” he said.
Among these new islands are: St. Maarten, St. Kitts, Monsterrat, Dominica, British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, Bahamas, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, United States Virgin Islands and Nevis. “It certainly has created a great deal of interest and that is what is needed to revive cricket in the Caribbean,” he added.
As for the concern that the event was in direct conflict with other West Indian cricket commitments such as the current ‘Windies A’ tour of England, Mr. Holding was dismissive, stating that potential problems were clearly ironed out within the regulations of the Stanford 20/20 tournament. “If anyone is selected for a West Indies cricket tour, they have to go on that tour. If they chose not to go on tour because they want to be in the Stanford 20/20, they will not be allowed to play in that event because West Indies cricket comes first,” he pointed out.
The former bowling extraordinaire was recently conferred with an Honorary Doctor of Law degree for his contribution to cricket by the University of East Anglia, in England. He is currently working as a cricket commentator exclusively on television and spends time in England every summer working with Sky Network from May to September.
Mr. Holding said that he has yet to do commentary for the 20/20 version of the game. When not honouring his summer obligations, he told JIS News that he does cricket commentary in other parts of the world. “This November, I will be heading out to the Ashes series between England and Australia [in Australia] and I hope to be in the Caribbean during March and April for the Cricket World Cup next year,” he informed.
The Stanford 20/20 is the most lucrative cricket tournament in the history of the game, with 19 teams vying for the top prize of US$1,000,000. The cricket boards of the two top teams will receive US$200,000 and US$100,000, respectively.
Some 14 West Indian cricket legends were invited to help in structuring and administering the event. They are Clive Lloyd, Andy Roberts, Gordon Greenidge, Lance Gibbs, Joel Garner, Wes Hall, Curtly Ambrose, Courtney Walsh, Sir Vivian Richards, Desmond Haynes, Ian Bishop, Richie Richardson, Sir Garfield Sobers and Sir Everton Weekes.
Guyana will meet Grenada in the first semi-final tomorrow (August 10), while the second semi-final on August 11, will see Trinidad and Tobago take on Nevis. The grand final is set for August 13.