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ICC chief says WC was overshadowed

ICC chief says World Cup will be chiefly remembered for the death of coach Bob Woolmer and the chaotic finish of the final.

cricket Updated: Apr 30, 2007 11:09 IST
Simon Evans

Cricket Chief Malcolm Speed conceded on Sunday that the 2007 World Cup would be chiefly remembered for the death of coach Bob Woolmer and the chaotic finish of the final.

"It's too early to predict how history will view the tournament but certainly Bob Woolmer's tragic death and the finish of the final are two things that will be uppermost in the minds of people who followed the event," International Cricket Council chief executive Speed told reporters.

"It was disappointing there were not a great number of matches that stayed in the minds."

The seven-week tournament, the showpiece of the one-day game, has been criticised for being too long, too expensive for fans and full of mis-matches.

It was overshadowed in any case by the death of Pakistan coach Woolmer on March 18. His death is being treated as murder by the Jamaican police.

To round off a troubled tournament, Saturday's final in Bridgetown was marred by bad weather and a chaotic climax when umpires mistakenly ordered the Australian and Sri Lanka players to play the final three overs in virtual darkness.

Australia won by 53 runs.

'Fundamental error'

"It was a fundamental error which should not have happened," said Speed, who was then asked whether it was the most farcical end to a game he had ever seen.

"Yes, I think it is. It was very unfortunate and a sad way to end what had been a great day of cricket," he said. "It is hard to assess but it is not a good image for the game.

"We sincerely apologise to the wider stakeholders of the game," he said, adding that there were no plans for disciplinary action against those responsible.

ICC general manager for cricket, Dave Richardson, said the match officials and umpires had failed to cope with the pressure of the situation.

He confirmed match referee Jeff Crowe's statement that the confusion had begun when South African Rudi Koertzen, the third umpire, had mistakenly begun to talk about returning on Sunday for the final three overs.

"They got into a pressure situation and were not able to cope with it," he said. "They are apologetic, a little embarrassed, I guess, and regretful."

Speed added that the ICC were looking at cutting the schedule by a week for the next edition in 2011 in the Indian sub-continent but defended the inclusion of 16 teams in the event including Bermuda, the Netherlands and Canada who were heavily defeated.

"We have the ICC Champions Trophy which is where eight top teams play each other ... The World Cup is where countries emerge on the world stage," he said, noting that finalists Sri Lanka had risen from obscurity in the 1980s to win the competition in 1996.

Speed said the major positive of the marathon tournament had been the building and revamping of new venues across the Caribbean.

"The region now has some outstanding cricket grounds, five-star cricket grounds," he said.