With the money Stanford is pumping into West Indies cricket, it is certainly clear that his promotions can ignite a new passion for the game. Here we are flicking through the station in Miami and there is an ad on ESPN about the Stanford mini series which begins this Saturday [see below]. ESPN promotes and advertises games that are dominate in the US, unfortunately cricket is not one of those.
Middlesex takes on Trinidad
Middlesex captain Shaun Udal believes that his team's US$400,000 clash with Stanford 20/20 Champions Trinidad and Tobago will be a battle of the spinners. And Udal believes that Middlesex has the advantage in that department.
"We've been watching DVDs of them (Trinidad and Tobago) playing, we've got an idea of how they approach 20/20 cricket, spin plays quite heavily in their set up and it does in ours, hopefully it will be a battle of the spinners," Udal told the Antiguan media upon the team's arrival in the Caribbean on Sunday afternoon.
The off spinning skipper said he was happy with his team's spin duo of himself and Indian left arm spinner Murali Kartik while Trinidad has lost their most dominant spinner in Dave Mohammed who is with the Stanford Superstars.
"Murali Kartik is a world class performer, he's done it for India against the best in the world, I bowl off spin as well, so we have two experienced guys who have been around the block and know how to react under pressure so if the wickets do spin then we are more than happy with the spin partnership that we've got," asserted the thirty nine year old who appeared in four Tests and eleven One Day Internationals for England.
Miserly 27 year old leg spinner Samuel Badree will lead the Trinidad and Tobago spin attack and he will have off spinner Sherwin Ganga, the younger brother of captain Daren Ganga, as support along with another off spinner, Amit Jaggernauth.
The inexperienced 20/20 player, 24 year old Jaggernauth, made his Test debut against Australia earlier this year and comes in the Trinidad squad for Mohammed who dominated the wicket taking chart in the Stanford 20/20 Tournament this year.
Despite his team, the reigning English Twenty20 champions, being vastly more experienced than the Trinidadians in this form of the game, Udal believes the pressure is on the home side to perform in their backyard.
"The pressure is not on us, Trinidad and Tobago are the holders of the (Stanford) 20/20 Championship, they played at this ground before, the pressure is on them and it's nice for us to come out here as underdogs," Udal reasoned.
"The key is having the experience to cope with the pressure and we've got bags of experience within our side," Udal assured.
He believes that his team has a balanced combination but fingered big hitting South African all rounder Tyrone Henderson as a critical part of their unit.
"He's a vital part of our set up, he's a hard hitter and changes the course of a game, on his day he is a proven match winner. With the ball he has gotten more wickets in domestic Twenty20 than anybody who's ever played the game," Udal said.
And despite losing the services of key batsman Owais Shah to the English national side Udal is confident his batting line up will get the job done.
"We've lost Shah but we've gained Andrew Strauss. We've lost one world class batsman and replaced him with another and we've signed Neil Dexter from Kent who is an outstandingly exciting young batsman so we've got lots of options with the bat, Ed Joyce will bat higher up in the order so there's lots of experience," Udal said.
Middlesex's first match is against England on Sunday October 26th while they take on Trinidad and Tobago the following day and go up against the Stanford Superstars on Thursday October 30th.
In addition to appearance fees, Middlesex and Trinidad and Tobago will clash for a winner takes all cheque of US$180,000 along with a Man of the Match prize of US$10,000.
Middlesex squad: Shaun Udal (captain), Neil Carter, Neil Dexter, Steven Finn, Billy Godleman, Tyrone Henderson, Ed Joyce, Murali Kartik, Dawid Malan, Eoin Morgan, Tim Murtagh, David Nash, Alan Richardson, Ben Scott, Andrew Strauss
For more information about the Stanford 20/20 Tournament email info@Stanford2020.com or log on to www.Stanford2020.com.