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World Cup organizers defend event

World Cup organizers defend event

When the Cricket World Cup began 48 days ago with a festive opening ceremony in Trelawny, Jamaica, organizers were mostly concerned about how travel restrictions and logistical challenges would affect the tournament.
Little did they know they would have to deal with a murder probe, a faltering host team and the loss of two of the sport's powerhouses.
But the event persevered. And when Saturday's championship game between Australia and Sri Lanka in Barbados closes the tournament, promoters say the biggest sporting event in West Indies history should be deemed a success.
"When you're managing a global marketing event, if you expect everything to go well, then you don't need managers," said Cricket World Cup managing director and CEO Chris Dehring, who has drawn detractors as fans have complained about ticket prices and excessive restrictions at stadiums.
Pointing out positives
But for every hiccup the event encountered, Dehring can counter with a positive.
Poor attendance at many games? "The early loss of India hurt the tournament but most of those seats were already paid for," he said, adding that fans were not allowed to get refunds for tickets bought in advance even if their team was eliminated in the first round.
Ticket prices too high? "That same West Indian who was unhappy about ticket prices has to be happy as a taxpayer," said Dehring, who said the tournament was very profitable for local governments.
Restrictions on musical instruments that many said hurt the ambience West Indians are accustomed to at cricket matches? "There was inaccurate reporting," Dehring said. "We didn't ban musical instruments. We simply asked people to register them."
Dehring said many fans found the registration process too arduous and chose not to bring instruments. The rules were later relaxed, however, and many later matches featured fans with drums, conch shells, bugles and air horns.
But it was Woolmer's death March 18 - one day after his team lost to Ireland on St. Patrick's Day - that brought negative publicity to the region. Dehring said he never considered canceling the event. "It was a tragic occurrence because it's someone I know," Dehring said of the murder, which remains unsolved.
As for the fact it happened in Jamaica, which some locals said tainted the event and their country, Dehring, a Jamaican, said: "It's not my place to comment on that. This would be a tragedy no matter where it happened."
Changing face of cricket
The event also has changed the face of cricket. West Indies star batsman and captain Brian Lara retired after his team's dismal showing in the Super 8s round; Pakistan captain Inzamam ul-Haq resigned after his team's first-round ousting; India coach Greg Chappell stepped down after his team was lambasted at home over its first-round exit (India's departure also hurt revenue because fans of the world's biggest cricket market went back home); Ireland showed it belonged among the big boys after reaching the Super 8s of the tournament; and the West Indies showed off new or renovated stadiums with electronic scoreboards and modern amenities.
But mixed reviews about how the tournament has been run showed there's room for improvement. Many players criticized the fields at some of the stadiums (Australia's Matthew Hayden compared the sandy outfield at Antigua's new stadium to "the beach"), some say teams such as Bermuda, Scotland and Canada should not have been allowed to participate (each suffered lopsided losses), and many said that the event is too long.
"We'll seek to reduce this 47-day World Cup by seven or 10 days, and hopefully we'll get it down to somewhere between five and six weeks next time," Malcolm Speed, president of the International Cricket Council - the sport's governing body - told Cricinfo.com.
Australia was heavily favored in this morning's final. Sri Lanka was criticized for resting top bowlers Chaminda Vaas and Muttiah Muralitharan in an earlier matchup against Australia, with some seeing it as a move to prevent the Australians from getting a read on them.
Organizers hope a tightly contested final would be the proper ending to the tournament. But regardless of the result, the event's legacy likely already has been decided.


Updated : 2021-07-28 22:20 GMT+08:00