The hosting of ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 has been Grenada’s declaration to the world that it has rebounded from the ravages of Hurricane Ivan three years ago, says ICC Chief Executive, Malcolm Speed.
Speaking at today’s Super 8 match between Australia and New Zealand at Grenada National Stadium, he noted that the Grenada Government has seized this priceless occasion to announce the country’s rejuvenation to the global community.
“I’ve spent quite a lot of time with the Prime Minister and other ministers of government, and they were very committed to the Cricket World Cup and to using the matches in Grenada as an opportunity to tell the rest of the world that Grenada has bounced back strongly from terrible times,” he said, complimenting the Host Venue on its tournament preparations.
“Grenada has been outstanding to come back and build a cricket ground like this…everything is first rate. They’ve done a great job and can be very proud.”
Speed extended these sentiments to the entire region, stating that ICC – cricket’s world-governing organisation – is “very pleased with the new cricket grounds throughout the West Indies”.
“I think this gives cricket in the West Indies an opportunity to start again; to have a different approach to how cricket matches are presented here for the next 30 years.
“The enthusiasm everywhere we have gone – from Prime Ministers to anyone working on the Event – has been terrific. There have been some criticisms. I’m not greatly concerned about the criticisms. They always happen with an event like this. You come to expect that there will be people who come in looking for negatives rather than positives. There have been many great positives come out of CWC 2007 in the West Indies. New cricket grounds have replaced old cricket grounds which sadly needed to be replaced. That’s the major positive which has come out of this.
“All the cricket grounds around the Caribbean are as good as – if not better than – anywhere else in the world.”
As for the two-month time period of the ICC’s signature event, the chief executive thinks “the length of this World Cup has been about right”.
“It’s the major event for world cricket. There have been people who have criticised it and said it’s too long. What we have seen is that cricket has been on the front and back pages of newspapers all around the cricket world for the last six weeks.
“As we come into the last week of the tournament I expect this (coverage) will be even bigger.”
Though acknowledging that match attendance during the Super 8s may have suffered from the early eliminations of India and Pakistan and the failure of the West Indies to excel after the Group Stage, Speed noted that “most the games that I have been to have had good crowds”.
“They have been enthusiastic and noisy and, despite some of the things we’ve read, there has been a very good atmosphere.”