21 March 201121:52

Sharad Pawar praises ICC Cricket World Cup as 'potentially the greatest ever'

Pawar feels the standard of cricket has been impressive and there is no doubt that 50-over cricket has a real attraction

Sharad Pawar praises ICC Cricket World Cup as 'potentially the greatest ever' - Cricket News

ICC President Sharad Pawar.

The enduring appeal of 50-over cricket is there for all to see

Cricket's flagship event also highlights important social initiatives such as ThinkWise and Room To Read

ICC President Sharad Pawar has today praised the excitement of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 calling it potentially the greatest and most dramatic ever.

As the group stages came to a nail-biting conclusion yesterday with Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Australia and New Zealand joining South Africa, India, England and the West Indies in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 quarter-finals, Mr Pawar said: "We have surely been treated to a real feast of 50-over cricket with some outstanding games.

"Few who were in Bengaluru will forget the tied match between India and England or Ireland's record-breaking triumph against England while the passion shown by the home supporters for the hosts Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka has been spectacular.

"The standard of cricket has been impressive and there is no doubt that 50-over cricket has a real attraction and an amazing appeal for players, spectators in the grounds and the hundreds of millions watching on television around the world.

"Some people have been predicting the demise of 50-over cricket but they have been proven wrong throughout 'The Cup that Counts'. The television audience figures have set new records and the India v England match was the most viewed game in ICC Cricket World Cup history with multi-millions in India alone tuning in," added Mr Pawar.

Mr Pawar also reminded everyone of the ICC Chief Executive's comments in an interview with ESPNCricinfo in January when Haroon Lorgat had said that the World Cup would prove that ODIs were alive and well.

In the same interview Mr Lorgat had said: "I think the talk of poor interest in 50-over cricket is overstated. I firmly believe that all three forms of the game will co-exist and in fact thrive at international level. To be frank, the talk of a demise of 50-over ODI cricket is way out of whack with what we are experiencing. Players, spectators, TV viewers and administrators still see great value in the ODIs. I hope that the World Cup will add to reversing the poor perception of 50-over cricket as some of the recent matches already have."

Mr Pawar was of course pleased with the huge success and said: "I think the television and crowd figures demonstrate the enduring appeal of the 50-over game and I have no doubt that it will continue to grow from strength to strength in the future."

In concluding, Mr Pawar finally stated that: "The ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 has attracted the attention of the world and it has also provided a show case for the Great Spirit of cricket as well. The players of all teams deserve great credit for giving up their time to support ThinkWise - the ICC's HIV/Aids awareness campaign, Room To Read, which provides books for children to improve literacy and the Great Spirit initiative."