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The World Cup 2007 Road Show
by Gulu Ezekiel
Jul 28, 2006
New Delhi got a taste of what the 2007 World Cup will be like when the ICC and the WICB, organizers of next year's event unveiled an evening of Caribbean flavour at one of the Capital's glitzy hotels on Thursday night.

The logo, mascot and ICC World Cup trophy were all paraded, though cricket fans around the world are already familiar with them.

What was really on display for the first time in India was the culture of the nine West Indian island nations that will be hosting World Cup matches next March and April.

Considering Trinidad and Tobago is the only nation in the territories to have a full diplomatic presence in New Delhi, the cultural fare on display was both refreshing and long over-due.

The high-profile presence of the Prime Minister of Grenada, Keith Claudius Mitchell raised some eyebrows. Of course Mr. Mitchell was here in his capacity as Chairman, CARICOM Prime Ministers' Sub-Committee on Cricket rather than for any diplomatic or trade reasons.

Speculation was rife however that his presence was also part of the WICB's bid to garner much needed finances from the cash-rich BCCI prior to the World Cup.

But both Mr. Mitchell and Chris Dehring (MD and CEO of ICC CWC WI 2007 Inc) were quick to point out to a rather pointed question, that the WICB has indeed not yet announced it is totally bankrupt!

Another pointer in this direction was IS Bindra being present at the colourful function. Though one of the Vice-Presidents of the BCCI, Bindra is seen as the power behind the throne.

He was however busy fending off queries from swarming journalists throughout the evening, many with TV mikes thrust in his face eager to know his views on the current plight of his bete noir, Jagmohan Dalmiya.

Dehring made a witty speech as he introduced the 12 stadia which will host next year's matches, all of which are either new or completely refurbished, with assistance from Chinese, Israeli and Indian construction firms. He also made numerous sly references to India's defeat in the recent ODI series in the West Indies.

Prime Minister Mitchell was naturally more diplomatic, repeatedly stressing he was hoping for a repeat of the 1983 Prudential World Cup final, though not necessarily the final result, with India taking on the West Indies at Kensington Oval, Bridgetown, Barbados on Saturday, April 28.

He also recounted with pride how his nation had bounced back two years ago from the ravages of Hurricane Ivan that flattened much of the island, including its sporting facilities. The Queen's Park stadium was almost totally destroyed and many had doubted it would be re-built in time for the World Cup.

The evening was rounded off by music by the London-based Trinidad steel band Ebony and solo singer David Rudder, also from Trinidad whose song 'Rally Round the West Indies' has been adopted as the team's anthem.

Exotic dancers and traditional cuisine representing all nine nations added spice to the occasion.

 
More Views by Gulu Ezekiel
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  Foul language on the field of play
  Sachin Tendulkar was the one great unifier that brought the nation together
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