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The Cricket Interview / Sir Viv Richards
World Cup organisers mucked up, says Sir Viv
April 27, 2007
Richards, who helped his team to clinch the title in 1975 and 1979, was blistering in his criticisms of the ninth World Cup which he saw as too regulated, too expensive and too long.
Organisers, he told Reuters in an interview, had got it hopelessly wrong the first time the showpiece tournament had come to the Caribbean and they owed it to the people to return as soon as possible and put their mistakes right.
"I would love it (back in the Caribbean). They owe us. They should say, 'hey, we mucked up here, let's start this thing over again and get all these indigenous people along'," the 55-year-old said.
Richards was upset that regulations at the start of the tournament restricted fans from bringing their instruments into the grounds, thus depriving the games a traditional Caribbean calypso soundtrack.
Although the rules were later relaxed, he said: "It was a little too late. I would hope they would learn their lessons from the decisions that have been made.
"The true Caribbean people ... we are carnival people, we are vibrant people, not dead people. We like to be heard and we like to have fun. I think nobody addressed that fully."
Expensive tickets were equally a blight on the tournament, Richards added, leading to half-empty stadiums for many of the matches, even the semi-finals.
"I don't think anyone took into consideration the islands they were coming to. Some of those islands' economies are not all that great and when you ask people to pay US$80, $90, $100 for one day to watch cricket, it's too much.
"It's a huge day out for these folk to dig so deep into their pockets.
"Someone made a huge, huge mistake. Whoever is responsible should feel responsible."
The next tournament, in 2011, will be played in the Indian sub-continent.
Richards was equally damning in his assessment of the failure of the host team to progress beyond the second-stage Super Eights.
He put the responsibility mainly on the West Indies Cricket Board. "The way in which they have dealt with the team has not been fully professional. I believe that they have let us down big time.
"We have an establishment like the board who I feel have been incompetent a million and one times over the years.
"We can see why we have a team that haven't quite been successful."
Richards, who was the leading batsman of the 1970s and 1980s in world cricket boasting a Test average of 50.23, said Ramnaresh Sarwan should now succeed Brian Lara as captain but was less specific in his choice of new coach.
Australian Bennett King resigned following West Indies' final match, a defeat by England on Saturday in Bridgetown.
"I'm not bothered where he comes from. If he comes from Timbuktu and is of Chinese origin but is capable of making this team much better I'm quite willing to endorse him," he said.
Richards was speaking at an event organised by World Cup sponsors Johnnie Walker after naming his best 11 players of the tournament.
These were: Matthew Hayden (Australia), Kumar Sangakkara (wicketkeeper-Sri Lanka), Ricky Ponting (captain-Australia), Kevin Pietersen (England), Mahela Jayawardene (Sri Lanka), Herschelle Gibbs (South Africa), Scott Styris (New Zealand), Shaun Tait (Australia), Shane Bond (New Zealand), Glenn McGrath (Australia), Muttiah Muralitharan (Sri Lanka).
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