COOLIDGE, Antigua: The costliest match in the history of cricket is being played here at the Stanford cricket ground tonight between England and the West Indies All Stars XI as each player of the victorious team will get a prize money of one million dollars.
In all, 20 million dollars have been reserved for the match but the losing team will not get any money.
Months of publicity, planning, and preparation are expected to come to an exciting conclusion, when the two teams take to the field for what represents the richest team prize for a single sporting match.
This brings to a close the Stanford Super Series which is the result of a cooperative agreement between Sir Allen Stanford, an American business tycoon, as well as the England and Wales Cricket Board, and the West Indies Cricket Board.
It featured six matches that also involved Trinidad and Tobago, who prevailed over Middle+++ on Wednesday in the Champions Cup by five wickets to pocket 280,000 dollars.
Trinidad and Tobago are the reigning Stanford Twenty20 Cup champions of the
Caribbean, and Middle+++ are the reigning English County Twenty20 champions.
Now, the West Indies All Stars XI, a team selected from the best of the best of the Stanford Twenty20 Cup competitions under the captaincy of Chris Gayle, and the full-fledged England team under the leadership of Kevin Pietersen, have a chance to become "instant millionaires."
Their historic match guarantees each playing member of the winning side one million dollars to be shared between the 12th man and other non-playing squad members, and a further one million dollars among the management team.
The remaining prize money of seven million dollars was to be shared equally between the ECB and the WICB, but the legal battle which Digicel, the major sponsors of West Indies cricket fought over their rights and entitlements in the series, may deny the Caribbean governing body their split.
West Indies All Stars XI (from): Chris Gayle (captain), Sylvester Joseph (vice captain), Lionel Baker, Sulieman Benn, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Lennox Cush, Travis Dowlin, Rayad Emrit, Andre Fletcher, Chris Gayle, Chad Hampson, Lindon James, Dave Mohammed, Kieron Pollard, Daren Powell, Darren Sammy, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Jerome Taylor.
Kevin Pietersen (capt), Ian Bell, Stuart Broad, Paul Collingwood, Andrew Flintoff, Steve Harmison, Samit Patel, Matt Prior (wk), Owais Shah, Graeme Swann, Luke Wright.
Umpires: Simon Taufel, Rudi Koertzen, TV Replays: Steve Davis, Reserve: Asad Rauf. Match referee: Jeff Crowe.