ICC Chief Executive David Richardson has expressed his satisfaction with preparations for next year’s ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 after receiving detailed updates in Wellington and Melbourne this week. The briefings and presentations took place in the two host cities from 25 to 27 August, and followed venue inspections in which the ICC and the Local Organising Committee (LOC) assessed the 14 tournament stadia and discussed a wide variety of logistical and operational matters with the local authorities. In the three-day meetings, Richardson received updates on various aspects of event management, including match and non-match day venue operations, safety and security, ticketing and marketing, hospitality, status of construction work at various grounds, preparations being made by the host cities, media and broadcast operations, event legacy programmes, and PR and community engagement.
Richardson also attended the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 Board meeting in Wellington, which was also attended by ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 Chief Executive, John Harnden, ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 Head of New Zealand, Therese Walsh, Cricket Australia Chairman, Wally Edwards, New Zealand Cricket Board member, Greg Barclay, and Cricket Australia Chief Executive, James Sutherland. At the conclusion of the meetings, Richardson said, “The updates I have received from these meetings give us great confidence that we are on track to deliver a really memorable event. There is tremendous enthusiasm and anticipation amongst the LOC staff and no stone is being left unturned to ensure the teams, officials, sponsors and media are warmly received and enjoy a great experience during the ICC’s flagship ODI event. For fans in Australia and New Zealand, this is once in a generation opportunity for them to see a galaxy of modern day stars battle out for the ultimate prize in cricket. The two countries possess outstanding playing facilities. Whilst there is some work still to be done at a few venues to enhance the existing infrastructure and facilities, all these projects have the support and backing of the local states and councils and we are confident that the work will be completed before the start of their domestic international cricket seasons.” Richardson had special words for the city of Christchurch, which is recovering from the devastating earthquakes of 2010 and 2011, and will be hosting three matches, including the tournament opener, “Christchurch is at the heart of sport activities in New Zealand. It has gone through some difficult times following the earthquakes but the city’s resilience and the developments at Hagley Oval are fantastic to see. We look forward to the return of international cricket to Christchurch for the opening match on 14 February.”
Richardson said the event had now entered the delivery phase and there was no room for complacency, “With 169 days remaining before the first ball is bowled and the final rounds of meetings and inspections having taken place, the focus is now on delivery. We understand how important World Cups are to the players and the fans and both the ICC and the LOC remain committed to ensuring the event lives up to its very high standards and expectations.” Chris Tetley, ICC Head of Events, who led the inspection tour, said, “Australia and New Zealand possess a first class set of venues, which will be excellent hosts for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 matches. Facilities are being improved with upgrades at a number of venues and these are on track. The focus is now to finalise operational plans with the LOC and each venue, and ensure these plans are executed and implemented to the highest of standards.”
The ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 will start on 14 February with New Zealand taking on Sri Lanka in a day match in Christchurch, while on the same day in Melbourne, host Australia will go head to head with England in a day/night match. Melbourne will also host the final on 29 March. A total of 49 matches will be played across 14 venues, seven in Australia (Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney) and seven in New Zealand (Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Hamilton, Napier, Nelson and Wellington). The format of the tournament is the same as the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011, i.e. two groups of seven sides each, quarter-finals, semi-finals and final. All the knock-out stage matches will have reserve days.
Apart from the 10 Full Members, four qualifiers – Afghanistan, Ireland, Scotland and the United Arab Emirates – will take part in the tournament.