19 Feb 2009

England cricket gets what they deserved says former skipper

10:49 pm on 19 February 2009

Fraud accusations levelled against cricket promoter Allen Stanford are a major embarrassment for the sport and raise serious questions about English cricket bosses' decision to go into business with him, according to the former England captain Mike Atherton.

Writing in the Times Atherton says England cricket officialdom have got "exactly what they deserved" for signing up with Stanford without doing their homework.

Stanford's been charged in the United States with fraud, through selling almost $20 billion in securities by promising "improbable and unsubstantiated" returns.

Stanford was behind the Stanford Super Series Twenty20 competition, which culminated with his team of hand-picked Caribbean Superstars defeating England in a Twenty20 match which netted every player on the winning side a million dollars each.

Atherton says because of the relationship with Stanford England officials turned down much more lucrative opportunities in India, South Africa and Australia and they've simply backed the wrong horse.

Most embarrassingly for English officials, he said it was clear from early on that for Stanford, "cricket was being used as little more than a rich man's plaything" and the whole deal was "a tawdry exercise."