Mumbai, Feb 5: The International Cricket Council (ICC) Chief Executive on Tuesday expressed his thanks to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) and the Odisha Cricket Association (OCA) for their hosting of the successful ICC Women's World Cup India 2013.
Richardson, who is currently in Cuttack 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 said: "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."
Richardson 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 are 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.
"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 for the environment and the players and we couldn't have wished for better under the circumstances."
The ICC Chief Executive added 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.
He said: "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. Already the matches show that these cricketers are serious players and they deserve to be taken seriously.
"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.
"I am sure as time goes on and the tournament gains more momentum we will have more people watching the games - entry is of course free - and those crowds will leave inspired to take up this great game."