Cricket World Cup : Organiser confident of lasting interest

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The Independent Online
ENGLAND MAY have failed to qualify for the second stage of the Cricket World Cup for the first time, but the tournament will still prosper, insists one of its main organisers.

Tim Lamb, chief executive of the England and Wales Cricket Board, believes it will continue to be a "wonderful" competition, even without the hosts. Lamb said: "We've got a feast of cricket still to come; there are still some fantastic sides left in the tournament, and there will be some wonderful matches. The Super Sixes and the semi-finals and finals are a complete sell-out, so we must enjoy the remainder of the Carnival of Cricket.

"As chief executive of the ECB it is naturally disappointing when our side is eliminated, but as chief executive of the country who is organising the World Cup, let's not under-estimate the enormous amount of cricket still to come. This is the most profitable World Cup ever with a global audience of two billion people and a total of 500,000 people will have watched all the matches.

"We've got to bounce back. I don't believe the integrity of the tournament has suffered, but obviously I would have liked England to have got through to the second stage."

However, it does seem inevitable that sports followers not necessarily devoted to cricket will lose some interest in the competition after England's elimination by India at Edgbaston yesterday.

Lamb added: "That may be the natural view of some people, but just because England are not in the later stages should not in any way reduce the interest in the tournament. It's going to be covered on television, in the media and there are so many exciting matches to come.

"And in terms of promoting cricket among the ethnic communities in this country - which the ECB have been majoring on greatly - we have seen how much interest there was in this match among the Indian population in Britain.

"It's important that we all remain upbeat and positive about the fact that this is the Cricket World Cup, it's not going to come here for another 20 years and we've got to make the best of it.

"There is still going to be massive interest. When one door closes, and all that..."