New Delhi, March 21 (IANS) International Cricket Council (ICC) President Sharad Pawar Monday praised the quality of cricket being played in the ongoing World Cup and said the popularity of the tournament has proved that the 50-over format is here to stay.
The group stages came to a nail-biting conclusion Sunday with South Africa, India, England and the West Indies joining Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Australia and New Zealand in the quarter-finals.
The league stage witnessed a few upsets and some tantalisingly close finishes mostly involving the England team.
“We have surely been treated to a real feast of 50-over cricket with some outstanding games,” said Pawar in a statement.
“Few who were in Bangalore 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,” he said.
Pawar thanked the cricketers for taking time out for the social events organised on the sidelines of the World Cup.
The 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 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”.