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ECB confident over Stanford match

England and Wales Cricket Board chairman Giles Clarke expressed confidence on Monday over the world's richest cricket match, the 20-million dollar Stanford Super Series clash against the West Indies.

The opening match between England and the Stanford Superstars side in Antigua on November 1 has been thrown into jeopardy by a dispute between the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and their sponsors Digicel, which is currently the subject of arbitration proceedings in London.

But Clarke said: "There is no reason to believe it won't take place. It's involving two other parties rather than ourselves and it doesn't involve Stanford.

"There are issues the West Indies Cricket Board is addressing with Digicel. We're not party to the issue, it's a matter between the two of them.

"I'm sure everybody involved in this debate is concerned for the best interests of West Indies cricket in particular.

"There's no doubt in my mind everybody is seeking to find a sensible solution to enable this very dramatic and extremely exciting game of cricket, which is much awaited in the Caribbean, to take place.

"It will be followed by our tour of the Caribbean, involving Test matches and ODIs, where, of course, Digicel are the WICB sponsors, so I'm sure that the wise heads involved will sort out the issues."

The ECB chairman also dismissed any concerns the 500,000 pound a man on offer to the winners will cause splits in the England camp between the players selected and those left out.

"We get this issue with central contracts getting bigger and bigger, with who's in the team and the high performance squad," he added.

"The debate on who's in the team is as old as cricket. As rewards rise generally, the rewards are rising for the highest quality players. There's nothing odd in that. Take a look at football.

"In many walks of life rewards have become more significant and what we're seeing is cricket's entire community getting used to the fact the rewards have dramatically increased for current players."

England all-rounder Luke Wright agreed that the lure of big money will not split the players. He said when the England squad got together last week the Stanford match was far from top of their agenda.

"It is a big game due to the financial side but in a cricketing context it's the lowest on the priority over the next year," he said.

"Obviously we've got the Ashes and we're out in India in the One-dayers, then there's the World Twenty20 here next year.

"Speaking to the lads it was really just another game that happens. It was actually very nice to see that everyone was concentrating more on winning the Ashes and winning in India than the Stanford game. That's what we are here for."

source - indiatimes.com
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