Excellent venues are legacy of 2007 World Cup - Bacher
By Keith Holder
May 4, 2007
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) – As far as former South Africa captain and chief executive officer Ali Bacher is concerned, the legacy of the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies is the excellent venues, both new and refurbished.
“The legacy of this Cricket World Cup is the wonderful grounds that have now been established which I think is terrific for West Indies cricket,” Bacher told CMC CricketPlus while watching South Africa’s humiliating seven-wicket defeat by Australia in the second semi-final at the beauteous ground in St Lucia last week.
“What has taken me down the years is that having come here (to the Caribbean) so many times … despite very poor, inadequate cricket facilities for player and spectator alike, you have produced so many great world cricketers. It’s remarkable.
“And what’s happened now, I mean I have been to Grenada, Barbados and here in St Lucia, the grounds are fantastic. So I think this is your legacy and this is what your players, your spectators deserve. It’s terrific.”
Bacher is a former managing director of the United Cricket Board of South Africa and was the CEO for the 2003 World Cup in his native country.
As he basked in the sun while watching play from the Castries Stand at the northern end of the Gross Islet ground with his South African team-mate of the 1960s, outstanding batsman Graeme Pollock, Bacher praised the hospitality, which West Indians showed during the World Cup.
“I think you have left a fantastic impression on all of us visitors who have come to the Caribbean. I know every South African who will be going back will leave with wonderful memories of a group of people, a group of islands where the people are humble, warm and hospitable.
“One of the most wonderful aspects of your famous cricketers is that they never talk of their own feats, the late Sir Clyde Walcott, Wes Hall, (Sir) Garry Sobers, you talk to them, you have to draw out of them their proud performances.
They are very humble people and I think that’s fantastic and a wonderful attribute to some of the greatest cricketers this world has produced who have come from the Caribbean,” Bacher said.
Bacher, however, lashed out at the high prices charged for spectators to watch matches during the seven-week tournament, saying organisers should have taken into consideration the plight of the average local fan.
“I think with regard to the pricing, I think the authorities in retrospect will reflect that they charged too high. It’s a lot of money. One hundred and thirty (US) dollars! If I can tell you in South Africa, the 2003 World Cup final at the Wanderers, the top price was just less than US$40.
“And we did this. We kept the prices low because the overwhelming majority of spectators will be local people. So the prices are too high, particularly once India got knocked out of the tournament (in the first round), tickets became available for the local people but they can’t afford this type of money.
“So I think that is the only reason why unfortunately so many grounds were not full to capacity,” Bacher said.
“The pricing must be low. You must make it affordable for the local community and for whatever reason, there wasn’t to a large extent a Calypso atmosphere at the grounds, which is synonymous with West Indies cricket. Why this happened I do not know.”