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May 13, 2006
The ICC has expressed great delight with the work being done ahead of next year's World Cup in the West Indies and Ehsan Mani, the president, said he believes it will be "the best World Cup ever".
Speaking late on Thursday after a series of meetings with other senior officials working on the tournament, Mani said they have been very impressed and the legacy that would be left behind will demonstrate that the West Indies has become a major player in the international game.
"We are delighted with the pace of progress and the level of professionalism being displayed by those charged with the responsibility of getting the tournament in place," Mani said. "There is a whole team doing nothing but living, breathing and sleeping World Cup and that is the way it has to be if you are going to be successful.
"This is the first time the Cricket World Cup is coming to the West Indies and it is long overdue. It was time for the West Indies to say it was ready to stage the game's biggest event. From what we have seen being put in place, I believe this will be one of the greatest ever, actually, the best World Cup ever."
Next year's tournament will be the first time in the history of sport that a major international tournament is played in nine different independent territories.
"Given the legacy and history of West Indies cricket, it's only right that the West Indies should be hosting a World Cup," added Mani, who steps down from his post at the end of July. Percy Sonn of South Africa will replace him.
"The West Indies is unique. Every territory has its own unique flavour and the following of the game here is second to none. The whole culture of the Caribbean is going to make this a fantastic World Cup."
Organisers have predicted that the event will attract more than 100,000 visitors to the bustling archipelago and Mani said the region can handle the traffic adequately.
He added, "The West Indies is used to a lot of tourists, the islands of the Caribbean are hosts to a huge number of people every year. What we have done is to ensure there is a bit of fine-tuning to make sure they are looked after well and are comfortable as possible. All has been progressing well. We are confident.".
© Trinidad & Tobago Express
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