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Cush hopes to cash in on Stanford series

Stanford Super Series, Antigua
All games start at 2130 GMT (BBC commentary details in brackets):
30 Oct: Stanford Superstars v Middlesex (BBC London website)
1 Nov: Stanford Superstars v England (BBC Radio 5 Live)

By Pranav Soneji

Lennox Cush of the Stanford Superstars
I want to ensure my family, my wife and two children, are looked after as well as invest in my business

Lennox Cush
Who would have thought Sir Allen Stanford's philanthropy would be so contagious?

While the billionaire businessman pumps $20m of his vast fortune into the coffers of West Indies and English cricket, one of his Caribbean 'Superstars' is planning on doing the same, albeit on a far smaller scale, in his native Guyana.

Georgetown-born Lennox Cush is a cricketing journeyman, whose career has brought him a relatively modest financial reward. But he now has the prospect of $1m (628,300) landing in his lap for only three hours' work.

He is one of four uncapped West Indians in the Stanford Superstars squad vying for selection against England in cricket's richest one-off contest, in Antigua on Saturday.

While some players might ponder how to blow $1m by thumbing through luxury car brochures and imagining themselves in designer clothes, Cush has his feet firmly planted on the ground.

"I come from a poor background and cricket has made a life for me. I want to give back something from where I came from, it's important to me," he told BBC Sport.

"I also want to ensure my family, my wife and two children, are looked after as well as invest in my business too."

Cush moved to the United States 10 years ago and recently became an American citizen.

He divides his time between the Caribbean and New York, where he plays for the Atlantis Cricket Club in the Eastern American Cricket Association, as well as representing the US in limited-overs internationals.

An American house on sale at a reduced price
Business is tough for Cush as the US housing market continues to falter

Off the field, Cush is a realtor - that is estate agent for UK readers - with his own business, for whom Sir Allen's million-dollar opportunity could not have come at a better time, thanks to the mortgage crisis in the US.

However, Cush views that as "something to fall back on" at the end of his career and insisted: "It's cricket that remains my number one priority."

The all-rounder has been a revelation the ball during the Stanford 20/20 for Guyana over the past two years, and remains the only bowler to have taken a hat-trick in the competition - against Jamaica in the semi-finals in February this year.

His consistent performances saw him finish second only to fellow spinner Dave Mohammed in the overall wicket statistics, with eight dismissals in three matches, figures that earned him a place in the coveted Superstars 15-man squad.

How the Stanford $20m will be split
The 11 winning players will receive $1m each
The four remaining members of the winning squad will share $1m
The winning back-room staff members will share $1m
The ECB and WICB will each receive $3.5m

"The call-up wasn't really a surprise, I did well in the regional Twenty20 tournament so I guess you could say I was expecting it," he said.

"I played for Guyana and it was fun for me. I opened the batting and the bowling with a bit of off-spin. I was the most economical bowler and I'm very glad I have been called up into the squad."

Having spent six years playing club cricket in England, Cush is familiar with the most of the names in Kevin Pietersen's squad.

And there is one England player he is particularly looking forward to reacquainting himself with.

"I played against Andrew Flintoff for the West Indies Under-19s against England Under-19s in 1995 at home," he revealed.

"He was not as strong then as he is now - he is excellent now. He is probably the most dangerous England player. I know everyone has their attention on Mr Pietersen but I think Freddie is the man.

606: DEBATE
Eddsysleftfoot

"England have a good team, I know all about Paul Collingwood, Owais Shah and Steve Harmison; these guys can win the game for England but if we play well as a team, as a cohesive unit, then we can beat anyone."

It is the money on offer in Antigua that has captured the world's attention but Cush says winning the game is uppermost in the minds of his team-mates.

"You can't get the money without doing the job - and that is exactly what we are doing right now," he stated.

"We are focused on the task, which is to beat England. Our six-week training camp went really well, so the mood is good.

"All the bowlers are going well and I think Chris Gayle is at his peak right now, I think he is up for it - as are all of us."

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see also
Stanford backs IPL participation
27 Oct 08 |  Cricket
Stanford's 20/20 for $20m
22 Oct 08 |  Cricket
Antigua lights concern Pietersen
27 Oct 08 |  England
England see off Middlesex threat
27 Oct 08 |  England


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