16 Oct World Cup 2023: ICC head confident of ‘outstanding’ event despite crowd concerns
MUMBAI: The International Cricket Council (ICC) Chairman Greg Barclay still confident of the success of ongoing Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023, expecting India to stage an “outstanding” event despite concerns over the size and composition of crowds in the early stages of the tournament.
Pakistan team director Mickey Arthur took aim at the ICC for a lack of support for his side in their showpiece match against arch-rivals India in Ahmedabad’s 132,000 capacity stadium on Saturday.
The South African said the game had looked more like a “BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) event” than a major international cricket fixture.
“Every event we have, there are always criticisms from various quarters, things that we will take away and try to work on, try to do better,” Barclay said in answer to a question from AFP in Mumbai on Monday.
The BCCI — the global game’s financial powerhouse — had already been criticised for a delay in announcing the World Cup fixture list until three months before the tournament began.
The schedule was suddenly overhauled a few weeks after it was first published with the dates of some of the biggest matches changed.
Fans have meanwhile complained about online ticketing crashes, and matches not featuring the hosts have been sparsely attended.
Pakistan fans were effectively banned from the Ahmedabad ground after failing to secure visas to cross the border, leaving the arena awash with the blue shirts of India supporters as the hosts coasted to a seven-wicket victory.
But Barclay, speaking in Mumbai after the International Olympic Committee voted to include Twenty20 cricket in the programme for the 2028 Los Angeles Games, defended the organisation of the World Cup.
“This event has only just started, let’s just see how the whole thing plays out. Then we will review what we could change, how we can improve World Cups and the general offering around cricket,” he said.
“I’m satisfied that it will be an outstanding World Cup.”
In Ahmedabad, Pakistan were backed only by a handful of expatriate fans who had made the trip from the United States and United Kingdom.
“It didn’t seem like an ICC event to be brutally honest,” Arthur said afterwards
“It seemed like a bilateral series; it seemed like a BCCI event.”
Arthur also accused the public address system organisers of favouring India by refusing to play “Dil Dil Pakistan”, the nation’s unofficial anthem.
“So yes, that does play a role, but I’m not going to use that as an excuse,” Arthur added.
Since the 2008 attacks on Mumbai, India and Pakistan have not played a full bilateral series, with New Delhi and Islamabad still involved in a bitter diplomatic dispute.