WICB dragging foot on World Cup 2007 plans Comment
says Donald Duff
Stabroek News
May 27, 2002

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While basking in the euphoria of a rare series win over established opponents, the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) must resist the temptation to think that the team's transformation from whipping boys to serious competitors is complete and that more successes are just around the corner even though they might well be.

Based on the obvious home advantage and coming off a hard fought series where both batsmen and bowlers acquitted themselves well, the West Indies should be able to defeat their next opponents New Zealand (weather permitting) in their upcoming two test series thereby avenging their series sweep of a few years ago and moving further up the ladder of the World Test rankings.

But unless the WICB look past the team's performances and focus on plans for the proposed hosting of the 2007 World Cup, any progress in terms of the team's performances, would be superficial to say the least.

There is no denying that the staging of the World Cup in 2007 could open up tremendous possibilities for the growth of the game in the Caribbean at a time when it faces tremendous challenges from other sports some of which are more attractive to the region's youths in a number of ways.

One of the benefits of staging the World Cup in the Caribbean in 2007 will be the improved number of venues that should be erected/renovated which would satisfy rigid ICC requirements and probably bring the region's venues and surrounding environments in line with those of more developed countries.

The improved infrastucture should be able to lead to a better regional performances in coaching, the staging of tournaments and overall level of play.

Additionally, the WICB should be able to capitalise on the increased spectator interest with a possible spin-off effect being thousands of young Caribbean boys dazzled by the exploits of the stars rushing to join clubs in an attempt to be another Lara or Tendulkar.

Tendulkar himself is reported as saying that he got into the game after India's upset win over the West Indies in the final of the 1983 tournament at Lords.

But despite the obvious benefits, the regions cricket administrators are being unduly heavy-footed as it relates to putting plans in place for the staging of the tournament.

With the Cup only five years away the WICB is yet to release any definitive plan on how they intend to go about staging the biggest sporting event ever to be held in the Caribbean.

That cricket in the region is suffering from lack of proper infrastructure which has led to the lowering of the level of play cannot be argued.

Hosting such a mega event will entail huge logistical challenges as it relates to the movement of players, fans and media from one cricket loving territory to the next.

And while the staging of the 2007 World Cup will open up economic opportunities that will benefit the governments of the respective territories there are financial responsibilities that will first have to be met.

However, managing director of the World Cup 2007 Chris Dehring is adamant that the WICB is not lagging behind in its preparations.

"That is because we are being systematic and deliberate in our preparations for this prestigious event and have great confidence in the ability of the Caribbean people to deliver." Says Dehring.

But at the moment the combined peoples of the caribbean are in the dark about the WICB's World Cup master plan.

At the moment the WICB top brass is holding their annual general meeting in Antigua and one would expect that they would use this opportunity to discuss the problems that the staging of an event of such magnitude would entail and even more importantly disseminate their master plan to the governments of Caricom and its peoples.