CWC 2007 opening ceremony just 50 days away By Managing Director/CEO, Chris Dehring
Guyana Chronicle
January 21, 2007

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THE Opening Ceremony of ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 is now just 50 days away.

The start of Warm-up matches is even closer – a mere 44 days to go.

It has been a long and challenging journey for the Caribbean, especially for those closely connected with the Event, and the reality that it is now upon us is a moment for sobering excitement.

The world cannot wait for the games to begin – literally.

The top 16 teams in international cricket will all have arrived here by March 2, eager to vie for the sport’s most prestigious trophy against the scenic backdrop of nine regional Host Venues. Thousands of fans from more than a hundred countries will be flocking to the Caribbean’s shores to soak up not just the on-field drama but the passion and fun associated with life in this tropical nook. They are coming for the cricket but they will definitely want to stay for the party!

We, who call this region home, are beginning to envisage dreamy images of fans jumping to their feet at Warner Park in St Kitts & Nevis or celebrating another boundary at Beausejour in Saint Lucia. Momentum is building rapidly and we know there’s only a short time left now to make sure we get everything just right.

Here at ICC Cricket World Cup West Indies 2007 Inc. our commitment and resolve to deliver the Best Cricket World Cup Ever has intensified even further as we turned our calendars over to the year 2007. Well-established plans and preparations are now being transformed into action, execution and operation throughout the Host Venues.

In Venue Development, work on the 12 stadia continues, with the temporary or overlay elements taking shape on schedule.

There is still a lot to be done to make each ground match-ready but the progress is pleasing and they will be delivered on time. As a follow-up to last November’s ICC Venue Tour, a smaller group of officials will visit each Host Venue, starting in Antigua & Barbuda on January 29, to check on specific matters and finalise tournament-related details.

Meanwhile, CWC’s Event Management Department is currently working with the Local Organising Committees (LOCs) on Match Day Operations Integration and Communication Exercises. In this programme, stadium and LOC officials engage in simulations of actual Match Day scenarios, and work to find solutions in real time. Feedback indicates that this is proving a priceless undertaking and showing just how ready the Host Venues are.

The timely hosting of a regional One-Day fixture between Trinidad & Tobago and Guyana last Wednesday (January 17) allowed staff at Queen’s Park Oval to test their Match Day operations in a ‘live’ setting. Reports are that they performed well. Such simulations will continue into February with St Vincent & the Grenadines LOC having the opportunity of a Match Day dry-run by hosting the February 17 final of the regional One-Day competition.

In another area of Event Management, 4 500 volunteers are now in training for a number of roles during ICC CWC 2007. They will be among the most important ambassadors for the Event and we anticipate that they will do the region proud during this once-in-a-lifetime assignment.

Likewise, work continues apace in the Commercial, Corporate Communications, Cricket Operations and Security departments as we zero in on getting everything right. Public Ticketing will again be in the spotlight with the start of Phase 3 on February 1.

This final stage of Public Ticketing will remain open until the April 28 Final, once tickets are available. The unique feature of Phase 3 is that fans will be able to walk away with their tickets in hand. We expect this to be particularly appealing to Caribbean nationals.

Overall, we are on track but, as has been repeated several times, there is still much to be done and nobody can afford to lapse in their responsibilities. Everyone must pull their weight. As I said on New Year’s Day, each resident of this region must put this ICC Cricket World Cup on his or her agenda. They must ask themselves how will they contribute; what will they do to ensure everything is just right?

A television audience of 2.2 billion people – of varying backgrounds and speaking a diversity of languages – will be observing how we in the Caribbean respond to the many challenges; how our visitors enjoy themselves; what kind of legacy is left after the winning boundary is struck or the last wicket falls. We have 50 days to get it right.