Bangalore: The man who set out to single-handedly revive cricket in the West Indies and England will spend the next 110 years in prison, give or take. The Allen Stanford saga - and the T20 match between the two teams that embarrassed both - is already a footnote in the history of the game. As Mike Atherton asks in a collection of his writings, "(the affair has) a rather surreal tone. Was it really possible that an American 'financier' hoodwinked English cricket, offered the players a million-dollars-a-man match, cavorted around with the players' wives before falling foul of the Securities and Exchanges Commission? Did it really happen?"
It did, and cricket nearly paid a price for the greed and officials' lack of judgement.
Both were inspired - if that's the word - by India's status in world cricket. The English board hoped to use businessman Stanford to counter the IPL and to put India in their place. A year before the infamous match, Stanford had offered a similar winner-take-all deal to India, and it is to the credit of the Indian board that it turned him down.