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Sad way to finish the WC: Speed

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SPEAKING OUT: Malcolm Speed feels that Woolmer's death and the poor ending to the long-drawn tournament could hurt the game's image.
SPEAKING OUT: Malcolm Speed feels that Woolmer's death and the poor ending to the long-drawn tournament could hurt the game's image.

S. Ram Mahesh

Bridgetown: ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed admitted on Sunday that he hadn't seen a worse finish to a global sporting event.

He conceded the errors made by the umpires on Saturday and the murder of Bob Woolmer earlier in the tournament hurt the game's image.

"It's too early to predict how history will view the tournament but certainly Bob Woolmer's tragic death and the finish of the final are two things that will be uppermost in the minds of people who followed the event," said Speed.

"It was disappointing there were not a great number of matches that stayed in the minds. It's not a good image for the game, we would have far preferred if news highlights had been some of the great cricket played and some of the great decisions made by the umpires. It was unfortunate, a very sad way to finish the World Cup. I hope we can recall the great day's cricket we had before this very unfortunate ending."

Speed said, however, that the officials responsible for the mess wouldn't be punished in an "over-reaction."

"They certainly do have a future in the game we're not going to overreact to this," he said. "The umpires and the playing control team and Jeff Crowe, they had earned the right to umpire in the World Cup final because they are outstanding umpires and an outstanding referee.

"I saw Jeff Crowe this morning, he came up to me and said 'I am very sorry about yesterday (Saturday), we are all very sorry about yesterday, it shouldn't have happened'." But, Speed chose to focus on the positives the "five-star stadiums," the "involvement of local administrators," and the "way Ireland and Bangladesh played" when asked how the World Cup would be remembered.

Though he rebutted some criticism saying the exorbitant prices of tickets wasn't entirely the ICC's responsibility Speed said, "We listen to criticism, and there has been a lot of it from people saying it's been too long so we'll look to make it (the 2011 edition) shorter."

The ICC has been impaled on its own sword this World Cup, and the press conference was rich in symbolism: a backdrop screen, heavy with logos and the ICC's name, caught a draft and swooped to nearly conk Speed on the head.

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