Cuttack: The ICC chief executive Dave Richardson on Tuesday thanked Indian Cricket Board (BCCI), the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) and the Odisha Cricket Association (OCA) for successfully hosting the ongoing Women's World Cup.
"We are extremely grateful to the BCCI, MCA and OCA who have really pulled out all the stops to really enable the tournament to take place on the schedule dates as it would have been a real blow if we had had to move the event at such late notice," he said.
Richardson, who is currently here to watch the final Group B matches between Australia and New Zealand at DRIEMS Cricket Ground and between South Africa and Pakistan at Barabati Stadium, also spoke of the logistical challenges presented by late changes in the tournament schedule to ensure that Pakistan could compete.
"We've always wanted to hold the Women's World Cup in India and we're thankful to the local associations who have worked with us to make it to happen.
"As far as ICC is concerned the security of all the teams is paramount and obviously with the unique circumstances special arrangements were put in place for Pakistan as well as making sure all the teams are well looked after," he said in a statement.
"A special thanks has to go to the OCA which is hosting the Pakistan team at their academy facility, where I am also staying for a couple of days while I'm in Cuttack. I really couldn't wish to be more comfortable. It provides a secure environment for the players and we couldn't have wished for better under the circumstances," Richardson added.
He said the importance of growing participation in the women's game was paramount to the ICC and hosting the event in India will be beneficial to that goal.
"I think one of the reasons we wanted to hold the ICC Women's World Cup in India, was because of the potential that exists here for the women's game. I think a lot of women support and watch cricket in India but they don't necessarily play and so this is a marvellous opportunity for us to advertise the women's game," Richardson said.
"They are also wonderful role models for young girls and should be an inspiration for many to take up the game. ICC's Strategic Plan 2011-2015 outlines the desire to increase female player participation to 1 million.
"We currently have around 680,000 at the moment and that demonstrates we still have a long way to go but India is where a lot of the potential lies," he concluded.