Viv: Ghost of our World Cup disaster can be buried

Sir Viv Richards believes that the ICC
World Twenty20 will provide Caribbean cricket the perfect opportunity to lay the
ghosts of the 2007 World Cup.

He is optimistic that the lessons learnt
both at the IPL and by Trinidad & Tobago during their successful run in
last year’s Champions League Twenty20 will give West Indies an excellent chance
of progressing in the tournament which starts on Friday.

“It’s a great opportunity to
make some amends for the hiccup that we had during the World Cup that was held
in the region,” Richards said.

“It was a disaster in my
opinion, there were so many things that went wrong, but you don’t want to look
back too much.

The 2007 tournament was a crushing disappointment
on almost every conceivable level.

The ICC’s draconian regulations led
to a clampdown on musical instruments and other factors that have made West Indian
cricket so vibrant over the years, while the ticket prices were simply too
steep to allow any significant levels of local support.

The death of Pakistan’s coach, Bob
Woolmer, during the early weeks of the tournament cast a further pall over the
self-styled “carnival of cricket”, while the early exit of such
big-name teams as India and Pakistan took much of the anticipation out of the
protracted latter stages of the competition, which was eventually won by Australia
in a farcical finish in near-darkness.

This time, however, Richards
expects a rich fortnight of entertainment in a compact schedule across three
venues in Guyana, St Lucia and Barbados.

“It’s going to have much more
of a Caribbean flavour this time and rightly so,” he said. “I
definitely know the tickets will be much more affordable, so that will lead to
more relaxed individuals. This is a trial to see how much we’ve learned from
last time.”

Guyana was one of the venues that
came in for some criticism three years ago, with much of the area outside the
purpose-built stadium still awaiting completion come the start of the competition.

But Richards is confident they’ll
put up a good show on behalf of the region now. “They wouldn’t put it on
the agenda if it wasn’t ready,” he said. “They are a passionate
cricket-loving nation and they always attract good crowds, which is one of the reasons
why they were chosen.”