Ipswich Indoor Sports Centre and International official Greg Donnelly prepares for a massive week of World Cup action.
Ipswich Indoor Sports Centre and International official Greg Donnelly prepares for a massive week of World Cup action. Sarah Harvey

Donnelly in key World Cup role

BEING involved in a World Cup is a pinnacle challenge for any dedicated sportsperson or official.

But when the World Cup is on your doorstep, it's so much more meaningful.

That's how Ipswich's international administrator Greg Donnelly is preparing to oversee the Indoor Cricket World Cup starting at Darra in Brisbane this weekend.

As president of Indoor Cricket Australia and president of the World Indoor Cricket Association, Donnelly is in many ways the man in the hot seat.

However, far from being anxious, Donnelly sees nothing but positives in helping to host an even bigger event than last year's national championships in Ipswich.

“I'm more excited for the sport than nervous,” the former player, coach and now top-flight administrator said.

“This is just a wonderful opportunity for us.”

Last year's national titles at the Ipswich Indoor Sports Centre generated an incredible atmosphere with high-powered music, pumped-up players and strong crowd involvement.

With Australia starting favourites in the five World Cup competitions, Donnelly expects next week's tournament to create an even better buzz for players and spectators. The show court will be completely surrounded by grandstands.

“This is by far the biggest event the sport has had,” Donnelly, 52, said.

“Since our merger with Cricket Australia (in February), the credibility we've gained, the momentum the sport has gained and infrastructure is just going to continually get bigger and bigger and bigger.

“In Queensland, it's a big chance for us to showcase the sport and to prove to Cricket Australia that we are a worthwhile investment.”

Cricket Australia supremos James Sutherland (CEO) and Jack Clarke (chairman) are among the officials expected to inspect the World Cup next week.

“That is significant in itself,” Donnelly said, aware the duo are making a flying visit around other major commitments in Melbourne and India.

Australia was the first country to merge cricket and indoor cricket.

“All the other countries are closely monitoring how we're going with it,” Donnelly said.

Since the first World Cup was staged in 1995, Australian teams have won every title.

“The pressure is really on us big time,” Donnelly said, foreseeing Australia's elite indoor cricketers being on contracts over the next four or five years.

“Each year, everybody seems to get a little bit closer.”

Eight countries are drawn to compete next week, including fierce Aussie rivals South Africa and New Zealand, dark horses Sri Lanka and the old enemy England.

Round robin games are being played in open men's and women's competition, boys' and girls' 19 and under, and a new 16 and under boys' series before finals on Saturday week.

Camira-based Taylor Peach is representing Australia in the 16 and under competition.

Former Boonah player and Queensland coach Donna Dalby is in charge of the Aussie women's side.

Matches start on Sunday after the official opening, featuring 400 guests, at the Gabba tomorrow. Former Queensland and international cricketer Ian Healy was yesterday appointed ambassador for the World Cup.

Tickets are available at the door.

More World Cup information at: www.cricket.com.au/indoorwc.

Key Facts
What: Indoor Cricket World Cup
Where: Brisbane West Indoor Cricket Centre at Darra
When: Matches start Sunday from 8am. Games scheduled all day and each night next week. Finals are on October 17.
Divisions: Open men and women, 19 and under boys and girls, 16 and under boys.
Teams: Australia, England, South Africa, New Zealand, Wales, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka. Tickets: Available at door or check out: www. cricket.com.au/indoorwc


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