The much anticipated match up between England and the Stanford Superstars is edging ever closer. Kevin Pietersen’s team will be taking part in the ‘winner takes all’ event in Antigua on Saturday night. However, ahead of this contest, Pietersen has some major concerns regarding the lighting at the ground, writes Thomas Rooney, exclusively for The Village Cricketer.
The England captain had his side do some emergency fielding practice during the victory over Middlesex on Sunday night after several players dropped chances that would normally have been routine. After this match, Paul Collingwood suggested that the lights at the ground were to blame as they were ‘different than any other set’ they have played under.
Now, it seems that Pietersen goes along with this theory. Speaking ahead of the match with Trinidad and Tobago, the Hampshire man said that ‘there could be someone under a $20m catch on Saturday’. This is obviously something he is worried about, given the situation with the lights.
The unique and potentially detrimental reason for visibility being poor is that the floodlights are lower than normal at the ground to avoid any danger from a near by airport. This is the reason being suggested anyway.
Pietersen isn’t just concerned about the lighting though. The pitch being used has proved very sluggish and has made runs extremely hard to come by. This meant the use of spin proved effective in the previous game, so this is an option England will consider ahead of Saturday’s match.
This all seems very bizarre to me. All this fuss was made about the money Sir Alan Stanford has and the amount of money that is at stake in this tournament. However, despite all this, they are playing on a ground where they can’t see the ball and on a pitch that won’t allow many runs to be scored. When this first came about, my first thought was that it would be a run filled contest with lots of entertaining cricket. Now I’m not even sure this will be the case.
I guess that’s why I can’t get excited about the prospect of this match – at all. I won’t even be placing a cricket bet on the game. As things stand, it seems that a group of players are going to win a crazy amount of money for dropping catches and posting totals of just over the 100 mark. They would have earned every penny wouldn’t they?
Putting my feeling about the circumstances of which this game is being played aside, I think it is a game that England will win. The cricket odds will certainly be favouring them to do so. They are a settled team and have put together a good run of results recently. Captain Pietersen will make sure they are prepared for the challenge ahead and will drum into his players the fact that there is a game of cricket to be won.
Without doubt though, even if they don’t admit so, the players will have one thing on their mind – money. That’s the reality. It’s also a reality that certain individuals will be responsible for their team-mates losing a great deal of money.
As always, a dropped catch, a run-out, a bad spell of bowling or a poor shot could be the difference between winning and losing. The players will know this and I suppose my main reason for me wanting England to win is that none of the player’s future confidence is effectied by a very, very costly mistake.