The World Cup has been a huge success: Gray

ICC President Malcolm Gray spoke to Pradeep Magazine defending against charges that the council has handled the prickly issues badly.

india Updated: Mar 25, 2003 15:20 IST

This has been a controversial World Cup, mostly for issues that had little to do with cricket: the contracts dispute, England’s refusal to go to Zimbabwe, New Zealand forfeiting their match in Kenya, the black armbands issue… the list goes on.

ICC President Malcolm Gray spoke to Pradeep Magazine defending against charges that the council has handled the prickly issues badly.

Excerpts from the interview:

Don’t you think this World Cup saw too many one-sided matches and that the fault may be too much cricket being played before the tournament?

No, I don’t agree. There were a few one-sided matches but that can’t be helped. All matches can’t go down to the wire and the teams themselves scheduled one-day games in preparation for the event. Some teams peaked at the right time and some too early. But the tournament has been a huge success in terms of television ratings, crowds and quality of play.

How do you propose to avoid the sort of controversies that dogged this Cup, particularly the New Zealand and England problem?

You can never entirely avoid this kind of problem. The world is a volatile place and we have to handle problems like these whenever they crop up. We have set in place a process that can handle these situations so they don’t get out of hand.

Why is the relationship between the ICC and BCCI always so strained?

The ICC’s relationship with any board is the same. There may be some problems with the BCCI with the contracts issue going against India, but there are also problems with England and New Zealand at the moment. Both teams could face damages for not going to Kenya and Zimbabwe. We in the ICC act on behalf of all the members of the board and there is no fight with an individual board.

There were concerns about the ambush marketing clauses being breached even after the tournament began. What’s the situation now?

There were some areas of concern in the beginning with an Indian company using a few players in breach of contract. Luckily, everything was sorted out by February 19 and after that we have had no problem.

Will the battle begin again once the Cup is over?

The arbitration process will begin and we are withholding the money due to India from the World Cup. We will pay them only after the arbitration process is complete. If the ICC wins the case, India will have to pay back the money due to us or face suspension.

Is the ICC concerned with the failure of Bangladesh? And what is the status of Kenya’s application for Test-playing nation?

We’ll be meeting Bangladeshi officials on March 24 to discuss how to raise the standard of the game in their country and how we can help. As far as Kenya is concerned, their application has been with us for the past two years. There is a set process that we follow before deciding on these matters.

First Published: Mar 25, 2003 15:20 IST