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ICC impressed with progress towards WC

Organisers in the Caribbean have got a thumbs up from ICC expressing satisfaction with the preparations for the 2007 mega event.

india Updated: Aug 12, 2006 16:49 IST

Organisers of the Cricket World Cup to be held in the Caribbean have got a thumbs up from the ICC with Chief Executive Malcolm Speed expressing satisfaction with the preparations for the mega event scheduled for February-March next year.

Speed has praised the ongoing work in the nine host venues and the organising committee based in Jamaica but cautioned that there was no room for complacency.

"There is still much to be done. The message we bring is that we are very happy with progress but we can't relax. There must be great attention to detail," he said in Kingston on Friday after the world body's quarterly meetings with the organising committee.

ICC President Percy Sonn said that the West Indies was further ahead now than South Africa was with six months to go for the 2003 edition.

"I think the West Indies is, relatively speaking, ahead of where South Africa was, vis-a-vis the final stages of this phase, given that they (the West Indies) are building new stadia."

"South Africa didn't build any new stadiums - they just improved on the old stadiums. I think they (the West Indies) are fine (and) further than where South Africa was," Sonn said.

"I want to tell the media that we are very happy to be here in the Caribbean. I think the people are showing the enthusiasm that is required to pull off this job. I can't wait to come back for the tournament."

"What we noticed after the World Cup in South Africa was the growth of cricket amongst the youth, especially in disadvantaged communities. There was a total re-emergence of interest in the game of cricket.

"I believe that for the Americas, this World Cup is going to do the same thing - and that's why we want to support the West Indies with everything that we have," he stressed.

Managing Director & CEO of the event, Chris Dehring said that preparations were in an intensive operational phase, and there will be"heightened awareness" in the coming months with greater marketing and promotional activities planned.

There will be promotional campaigns targeting the Caribbean diaspora in North America, similar to the event launch recently in Delhi, which he said received "tremendous attention."

Describing the region as the "spiritual embryo of one-day cricket", Dehring said the overwhelming worldwide interest in the tournament was the main reason for the strong accommodation demand.

However, he expressed confidence that there will be enough of a variety of accommodation - ranging from bed and breakfast programmes, cruise ships and hotels - for fans to choose from.

"I think this will be the most cosmopolitan Cricket World Cup. We will see people from more countries attending this World Cup than any others before," he declared, alluding to the fact that people from 124 countries have applied for tickets in the first phase of Public Ticketing.