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“The ICC is quite excited about hosting this World Cup in the West Indies.
What it does is it gives us some opportunity to be quite different from previous World Cup, different from other sports,” Speed said at a press conference here yesterday after a meeting on Friday with the WICB.
“No other sport can come to the Caribbean and run an event the way cricket can run it so it gives us that point of difference,” added Speed.
“It will enable people to see the different cultures on each of the islands on which we play. I think it gives cricket an opportunity to say to the world that we are prepared to take difficult projects like running the World Cup in a region such as the Caribbean.
“That challenge is the one that attracts me. It is not the easy option. There will be challenges throughout but I am sure that with the right people in place, we will be able to overcome them,” Speed asserted.
Speed revealed that the ICC would continue to work very closely with Managing Director of the Windies World Cup 2007 Chris Dehring and his team as well as the WICB over the next four years like they did with the South African officials.
“I am very confident that the West Indies Cricket Board, Chris and his team will deliver the goods in 2007,” Speed said.
“As a result of that meeting, I am very pleased to be able to report that the West Indies are well and truly on track to deliver the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2007.
“There’s been a good deal of planning, a good deal of strategic thought has gone into the process to-date and I was very pleased to be able to sit in that meeting and come out of it confident that the West Indies are on track,” Speed added.
“There will be some difficulties in running this World Cup because we are dealing with a region and holding matches in separate countries,” Speed observed.
Speed said while it is necessary for grounds in the West Indies, like Kensington Oval in Barbados, to improve its seating capacity, the character of the ground should remain.
“This venue (Kensington Oval) is very well regarded in the Caribbean, it is really well regarded worldwide. It has been the host of some great Test matches and One-Day matches,” Speed said.
“For World Cup, it needs to have greater capacity and there is a plan in place to increase the capacity to 30 000. That would be great if we could use the World Cup to modernise venues like this and leave a legacy throughout the Caribbean of great world-class modern cricket facilities, that would be terrific,” Speed remarked.
He noted that this is one of the objectives the ICC and the WICB is seeking to achieve but warned against making venues unattractive.
“What we would like to do in doing that though is to maintain the character of this ground. It does have a great character and it is an excellent place for Test cricket,” the ICC CEO said.
“We don’t want to lose that and end up with some very bland cricket venues throughout the West Indies because each of them has its own character and it is important that we maintain them,” added Speed.