Bridgetown, Barbados: International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executive Malcolm Speed said on 21 April some of the criticism of the World Cup was unwarranted.
“The prospects of the semi-finals are mouth-watering but less so is the criticism of the tournament, some of which has been over the top, to put it mildly,” said Speed.
“No-one ever pretended this World Cup would be a straightforward event to stage.
“There have been some negatives, yes, but there have also been plenty of positives and they surely outweigh the negatives to a significant degree.”
The ICC was criticised for the duration of the touranament with 51 matches spread over 47 days.
High ticket prices, which were out of reach of most locals, and the lack of crowds also came under fire.
The ICC chief executive agreed poor attendance was disappointing.
“It would have been great if every one of the stadia had been full for every match but that has not happened and that has been a disappointment. Ticket pricing may have been an issue, although we would maintain that $25 for a ticket for the group matches is a fair price for a global event.”
Speed praised the facilities provided by the organisers.
“The matches have taken place on good pitches with good practice facilities that make the West Indies the envy of many other of our Full Members as well as providing a great legacy for the game in the region,” said Speed of the West Indies, the likely hosts of Champions Trophy in three years.
“To start with, the event is taking place in the Caribbean, a place to which the game of cricket owes a huge debt for helping to popularise the sport through much of the past half-century.
“Staging it in the region, over nine separate countries, has been a huge logistical challenge. However, it is a challenge to which many people, paid and unpaid have risen and can all be proud of what has been achieved.”
Speed also defended the tournament format.
“The format was criticised, it has cost the tournament in terms of supporters (India and Pakistan going out in the first round) but it has also shown that cricket does exist outside the top eight sides,” he argued.
“To those people who have said the tournament has been too long it is worth pointing out that there are three fewer matches this time when compared to the event in southern Africa four years ago, despite the fact we had an additional two teams taking part.
Speed said he was hoping for a great finale.
“The four sides left - Australia, Sri Lanka, New Zealand and South Africa - will play make-or-break matches, having got to this stage following a rigorous examination of their credentials.
“No one could deny that each of these teams deserves its place in the semi-finals and each is a story in itself Australia, unbeaten and seeking an unprecedented third straight title.
“Sri Lanka, aiming to repeat its 1996 success; New Zealand, three-time semi-finalists but yet to lift the top prize; and South Africa, so close yet again after successive heartaches.”
Speed termed Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer’s death as “tragic” part of the tournament.
“The tragic death of Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer has cast a long shadow over the event. Bob was a fantastic servant to the game at all levels my hope is that we produce a climax which would do justice to Bob’s contribution to our great sport.”