ICC President Thanks India for “Outstanding” ICC Champions Trophy
International Cricket Council (ICC) President Percy Sonn today thanked India for hosting what he called an “outstanding” ICC Champions Trophy.
30 days of hard-fought action culminated on Sunday with Australia beating defending champions the West Indies by eight wickets under the Duckworth-Lewis method to lift the one piece of silverware previously absent from its trophy cabinet.
And reflecting on 21 matches involving the top ten ODI sides and spread over four centres, Mr Sonn said: “On behalf of the ICC I would like to thank the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for hosting an outstanding ICC Champions Trophy.
“Although world champions Australia came through to take the spoils, this was still a tournament that, more than any other in recent memory, illustrated the unpredictability of our great game.
“The formbook was turned upside-down on more than one occasion, and matches such as Pakistan’s win over Sri Lanka, South Africa’s great comeback against Pakistan and the West Indies’ win over Australia in the group stages were illustrations of that.
“The ICC Champions Trophy also showed how fascinating one-day cricket can be when there is a balance between bat and ball and that balance helped define this tournament.”
Another highlight for Mr Sonn was the way the players embraced the ICC’s dedication of the event to the Spirit of Cricket.
Only one player – West Indies’ Chris Gayle – was found guilty of a Code of Conduct violation in the 21 matches.
“We called on players and officials to honour the Spirit of Cricket in this tournament and my view is that they have done just that,” he said.
“The sight of the two sides meeting to congratulate each other after each match was not something the ICC ordered players to do; it was a spontaneous gesture that simply caught on and it was wonderful to see.
“And incidents like the one where Australia’s Michael Clarke refused to claim a low catch during a crucial stage of the semi-final against New Zealand without any recourse to the umpires will stick in my mind for quite some time.
“My hope now is that the spirit in which these matches were played will continue for the foreseeable future.”
Mr Sonn added that the format of this year’s ICC Champions Trophy had been a key factor in its sustained level of excitement for players and supporters alike.
“The shape of the tournament has changed on more than one occasion since its inception as the ICC Knock-out in 1998 but there is no doubt this has been the best format yet,” he said.
“It meant there was something riding on virtually every match and that helped provide a real competitive edge to proceedings.
“The format will be further adjusted for the next ICC Champions Trophy in Pakistan in 2008 when only eight teams will take part and that should increase the intensity and excitement still further.”
Mr Sonn praised the work of the many officials and volunteers, paid and unpaid, who helped make the tournament such a success.
“The many, many people who worked selflessly for the betterment of this tournament at the four centres – Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Mohali and the Cricket Club of India in Mumbai – deserve our eternal gratitude as, without their efforts, this tournament could not have taken place.
“And the ICC staff who worked so hard to coordinate the whole process also deserve massive praise for their tireless work,” he added.
The tournament produced many plusses, Mr Sonn said.
“I think we leave India with a host of new friends and a new sense of unity of purpose between the BCCI and the ICC and that has to be great for both parties and the sport in general.
“We also leave safe in the knowledge that the Indian Government is behind the game. Its agreement to grant us a tax exemption is clear proof of that fact, as was the warm welcome I was given when I met Prime Minister Mr Manmohan Singh alongside BCCI President Mr Sharad Pawar.
“We also strengthened our stand against illegal substances as this was the first event in which we have drug-tested players under the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Code.
“We can now look forward to our next great event, the ICC Cricket World Cup in the Caribbean next year, when Australia will look to defend its title.”