Sonn’s 'Special' Chance to be at Opening of First Caribbean World Cup
ICC President Percy Sonn tonight told the cricketing world how special it was for him to stand before it at the opening of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007.
Mr Sonn also referred to the way this tournament reflects cricket’s diversity and he pledged the sport will use its biggest global platform to continue its ongoing commitment to spread awareness of the issues involving HIV and AIDS.
“It is special to stand before you as ICC President at the opening of the first (ICC Cricket) World Cup in this region,” he said on stage at Jamaica’s new Trelawny Stadium in front of spectators and all 16 teams taking part in the event on Sunday evening.
“The West Indies must rank among the most idyllic, certainly romantic, and definitely stunningly aesthetic of cricketing venues on the globe.
“Together with the richness of its cricketing culture, and a history of cricketing greats, both past and present, the West Indies have come to symbolise to the world so much that is good and progressive about humanity.
“The West Indies (teams that) won the World Cup in 1975 and 1979 popularised our sport greatly and today we are a truly global sport with 97 members in the ICC family.
“The greats of the West Indies teams evoked so much passion and love from the Caribbean and the world that it continues to sustain much in us in a world so greatly in need of hope, of light and love.
“The fact that this is the last Cricket World Cup before (the centenary of the ICC in) 2009, makes it even more special that this event is held here in the West Indies,” he added.
Mr Sonn reflected on the fact that nine countries have come together throughout the region to stage the event that began in England in 1975.
And he also observed that the growth of the sport since that first tournament reflected cricket’s global appeal.
“In the same manner that the West Indies represent unity in diversity, so the 16 teams participating (here) reflect a wide diversity,” said Mr Sonn.
“They have been drawn from all five of our regions – Africa, the Americas, Asia, East Asia Pacific and Europe and represent a profile of cricket worldwide.
“The tie that binds all is what we in the ICC call the Spirit of Cricket, where all play hard and play to win, but also seek to play the right way, respecting your team mates, the officials, the supporters, and your opponents. In short (it is about) honouring the ethos of the game under all circumstances.”
Commenting on cricket’s partnership with UNAIDS and UNICEF, Mr Sonn added: “Cricket will, through the players and officials wearing coloured ribbons during matches, as well as the final, demonstrate its social responsibility to publicise the issues of those affected by HIV and AIDS, and also our support for UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund.”
And looking forward to the tournament that gets underway on the field with the hosts, the West Indies, taking on Pakistan at Sabina Park, Kingston, Jamaica on Tuesday, the ICC President ended his speech with a call to arms for all those that love the game.
“I ask that all of you – players, officials, spectators – enjoy the next 49 days of (ICC) Cricket World Cup, and make this a celebration of all that makes this game great – its excitement, its diversity, its sportsmanship and, yes, its spirit.
“That way, on 28 April, when one of these 16 teams lifts the ICC CWC trophy, all can say that they have played a part in making our sport even stronger,” he added.
The tournament will see 51 matches played with the final to be staged at Kensington Oval, Barbados on 28 April. Australia is the defending champion after beating India in the 2003 ICC Cricket World Cup final in Johannesburg in 2003.