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Monday, 10 March, 2003, 11:30 GMT

Plans take shape for Caribbean Cup

By Oliver Brett
BBC Sport in Johannesburg

Queens Park Oval, Port of Spain It could be a logistical nightmare - many of the region's stadia need drastic upgrading, and there is also the vexed issue of playing games in the United States.

One thing, however, is undeniable: the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies promises to be a hugely entertaining spectacle.

And even with plenty of matches left in the 2003 tournament many people are already licking their lips at the prospect of the tournament visiting the Caribbean for the first time.

Chris Dehring, an energetic, snappily-dressed Jamaican, will be the 2007 tournament director.

And he was happy to let BBC Sport in on some of his ideas over a glass of strong rum punch.

Dehring refuses to rule out the odd match in the USA, a move that would doubtless upset some of cricket's dyed-in-the-wool brigade.

But he maintains that the latter stages of the tournament will most certainly be in the West Indies.

"We have it carved in stone that the semi-finals and the final will be at West Indies grounds," he says.

"But in the same way that South Africa this time are the hosts and some matches were played outside the country, we also have a commitment to grow the game internationally."

" Two months is a little long, I think, but there's no ideal structure "
Chris Dehring
CWC 2007 tournament director


However, Dehring admits an overhaul is required to a tournament structure that has seen the 2003 event stretch to nearly two months with arguably too many matches.

"I think the whole thing needs to be improved. Two months is a little long, I think, but there's no ideal structure.

"We cannot have a knee-jerk reaction. We need to sit down with the ICC and discuss issues such as the number of teams - should they be increased or reduced?

"I would say before the end of the year we will have a structure in place, and we will finalise the number of groups and the qualification procedure."

The West Indies comprises 14 different nations, and Dehring admits that without careful planning the potential for chaos looms.

"We have a logistical challenge with travel and accommodation arrangements but we just have to sit down and plan things properly."

No host nation has ever won the World Cup, and the two most recent hosts have crashed out at the first hurdle.

"We are definitely determined to buck that trend, in fact we are determined to win it," says Dehring.

And in truth they should have a fair chance.

While Carl Hooper and Shiv Chanderpaul are likely to have retired by then, impressive youngsters like Ramnaresh Sarwan and Jermaine Lawson should be in their prime.

And how about a special Brian Lara swansong, in front of his own fans?

FIRST-CLASS VENUES

  • St John's, Antigua
  • Georgetown, Guyana
  • Port of Spain, Trinidad
  • Rodney Bay, St Lucia
  • Kingstown, St Vincent
  • Bridgetown, Barbados
  • Kingston, Jamaica

    Much has changed since Clive Lloyd captained the West Indies side that won the first two World Cups in the 1970s.

    But both he and Michael Holding have been charged with helping spread the World Cup gospel.

    Lloyd would like the final to be held in Trinidad, but Holding is not so sure.

    "Trinidad only has one hotel and Jamaica, although it is my country, would not be appropriate either."

    His surprising choice is the tiny island of St Lucia, because of its excellent infrastructure provided by tourism.

    But Holding, who gained the nickname "Whispering Death" during his deceptively brutal heyday, was always difficult to predict.



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    Related to this story:

    Cricket's next hot spot? (09 Mar 03 |  World Cup )
    USA could host 2007 matches (09 Mar 03 |  World Cup )
    Caribbean 'could lose World Cup' (27 Feb 02 |  Cricket )

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