International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executive Haroon Lorgat says that the success of the 2011 World Cup proves that the 50-over game has a long future ahead of it.
He used an audience of diplomats, business leaders and journalists at a Sri Lanka Press Institute Press Club meeting to reiterate his belief in the 50-over game.
"I had confidently predicted to the media on 1 February that this ICC Cricket World Cup would be the perfect showcase for the 50-over format to answer the critics and I had proclaimed that ‘ODI cricket is alive and well’.
"I am pleased – and naturally relieved – to say that so far the statements I have made have proven to be correct.
"The evidence to prove that 50-over cricket is far from finished has been plentiful. The television audiences have been the biggest in history and the India v England match in Bengaluru on 27 February is the most watched game in the history of ODIs…and it doesn’t take a genius to predict that when India faces Pakistan in Mohali on Wednesday that record may well be smashed.
"And the crowds have been outstanding. Most of us would have been at R Premadasa Stadium on Saturday to watch a full-house celebrate as Sri Lanka cruised into the semi-final. No one that night was questioning the future of 50-over cricket nor will they in Chandigarh on Wednesday and nor were they in Bangladesh where the stadiums continued to be packed even after the home team went out of the competition.
"This World Cup clearly has context and we also have great content. The scoring-rate of more than five runs an over has been the highest in history. Records have tumbled and heroes continue to be made at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011.
"The meaning of the World Cup is building. Can any one of India, Pakistan or Sri Lanka repeat the glory of their predecessor teams or will New Zealand make an even greater narration by writing its name boldly into the history of the game. Who will it be?
"There is something hugely significant at stake – not only for the teams but also for their countries. Can you just imagine what the reception would be like here in Colombo and across this island if Kumar Sangakkara and his team brings home the CWC trophy from Mumbai?
"It would be one of those moments when breath is taken away – not just for the players but for everyone in this country.
"And the same would apply to the other three countries. There is nothing quite like nation v nation cricket when national pride is at stake on a global stage.
"In Mohali, there will be another massive factor that would add to the context. I personally hope to see the mighty power of sport and in particular the Great Spirit of cricket providing a platform for the governments of India and Pakistan to come together around an ICC Cricket World Cup semi-final.
"I heard someone say yesterday that ‘cricket diplomacy is better than no diplomacy’, and another said that ‘cricket will create harmony’.
"A part of the ICC vision is to ‘build bridges between continents, countries and communities’. If this happens it will truly be fantastic and just reward for a sport that has Great Spirit. ‘
“When we started this ICC Cricket World Cup our promotional campaign talked of 14 teams competing in 49 matches for one trophy.
"That trophy – for players, administrators, spectators alike – is The Cup that Counts - a 50-over competition."
© Cricket World 2011