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Stanford Super Series
Stanford Stadium, Antigua: 1 November
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Pietersen blames defeat on distractions

Captain Kevin Pietersen admitted England had been distracted in the build-up to their $20m showdown with the Stanford Superstars in Antigua.

The Superstars XI took home $1m each while England went home with nothing after the crushing 10-wicket defeat.

He told BBC Radio 5 Live: "We shouldn't have got so much into talking about other things besides cricket. We've dived in feet first and come unstuck.

"We've learned that you have to concentrate 100% on cricket."

Controversy raged in the days leading up to Saturday's winner-takes-all encounter as many people connected with English cricket criticised Sir Allen Stanford's tournament - described variously as a "garden party", "obscene" and a "pantomime".

Pietersen suggested those comments had rubbed off on the players, and said they were not as focused as they should have been.

"There are some fantastic cricketers in our dressing room and we have to get on with what we do best," he said.

"We haven't been concentrating on our cricket when we should be focusing on our game. There's been a lot of nonsense but we are going to have to buy into it a lot, lot more."

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BBC Sport's Oliver Brett
He then turned his attention to the winning team, adding: "There are some very happy guys here who are not as fortunate as us.

"When you know how under-privileged some of them are compared to us, and you see boys crying and mums and dads too it's fantastic for them."

England Test batsman Andrew Strauss, who was commentating on the match for 5 Live, said Pietersen's side would be disappointed to have put on such a poor display on such a big stage but stressed there would be bigger challenges ahead.

"In terms of the England cricket team there are more important challenges around the corner," he said.

"We've got a big tour of India and then the Ashes series next summer as well, so I think the players have been put in a difficult position.

"What I will say, and I don't think you can argue with this, is that they haven't played well enough. They've picked a really bad time to put on a poor performance, and no-one will be more disappointed than they are right now."

Texan billionaire Sir Allen Stanford, who put up the prize money for the controversial tournament and also for series over the next four years, said he thought the match had re-ignited a passion for cricket throughout the West Indies.

Sir Allen Stanford and his winning team
Sir Allen Stanford celebrates a stunning victory with his jubilant team
"Let me say this, our cricket in the Caribbean is back!" he told the 10,000-strong crowd during the presentation at the end of the match.

"Three years ago we started an experiment to get young kids who were going elsewhere - American basketball, soccer - back into cricket and to reward the best players in the Caribbean for their professional skills.

"We're doing it, the results are here tonight, we will beat anybody in the world with this team. We are back, we're gonna take the world again and this programme is working."

Darren Sammy, who was man of the match after taking the two big wickets of Pietersen and Owais Shah, agreed with that.

He said: "The Antigua crowd has been tremendous. I think the Stanford Twenty20 tournament is a really good thing.

"It will change the face of cricket in the Caribbean and could change the lives of many cricketers. It has changed the lives of 17 guys here. Words can't express how I feel now."



see also
ECB defends Stanford involvement
01 Nov 08 |  England
ECB plans Stanford Series review
29 Oct 08 |  England
Stanford Super Series results
02 Nov 08 |  Cricket


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