MELBOURNE: On a day the ICC announced this was the most popular World Cup in terms of global viewership, its chairman had to endure a few seconds of embarrassment at the prize distribution dais. N Srinivasan was booed by sections of the 90,000-plus turnout at MCG.
In his first World Cup after becoming the ICC’s first chairman in 2013, the former BCCI president was there to hand over the trophy. As soon as his name was announced, many in the crowd started roaring derogatory chants. Sachin Tendulkar was also present and his name being announced almost immediately after Srinivasan’s diverted the attention of the crowd. The booing stopped as soon as the announcer introduced Tendulkar.
Before that, Srinivasan made a courtesy visit to the press box. On the world body’s decision to reduce the number of teams from 14 to 10 in the next World Cup, he said the move was necessary for the appeal of the event. He added the decision shouldn’t affect smaller teams adversely, who will be compensated with funds to improve their domestic structure.
“During the next eight-year cycle, the ICC will spend nearly $300 million on Associate nations. We want them to develop a sound domestic structure which will help them put in place a good system. It’s not just about playing tournaments. Development means improvement of domestic structure and that’s what the ICC will help in,” said Srinivasan.
Later in the day, an ICC statement said the number of TV viewers worldwide crossed a billion, making it the most watched World Cup ever. According to it, the turnout of 93,013 was a record for cricket matches at MCG, surpassing the 87,182 who came for the 1992 final. The official tournament turnout was 10,16,421.