After a spectacular opening ceremony at Dhaka, bringing in the team captains riding the famous rickshaws of Bangladesh, the ICC World Cup cricket for 2011 kicks off with galore, pomp and show and rising temperatures and tall claims by all fourteen participating teams. The sound of famous musicians like Bryan Adams, Sonu Nigam, Runa Laila, and Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy enthralled the jam-packed Bangabandhu National Stadium on 17th February 2011.
Of the fourteen participating teams, only five have the honour of lifting the coveted ICC World Cup at least once. Australia tops the ranks with four cups, West Indies with two and Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka lifting it only one time. This year, an anonymous gambler has placed a bet of $132,000 with a London bookmaker on India winning the title this year – this being the highest ever bet for a one day game.
Today, the first match is being played between India and Bangladesh at Shere Bengal national Stadium, Mirpur. The other matches of the day include duels between New Zealand vs Kenya, Sri Lanka vs Canada, Australia vs Zimbabwe and England vs Netherlands.
While the ecstasy and emotions are high, there is a caution on Pakistani team as Bal Thackeray, the head of the extremist Indian party Shiv Sena, has once again threatened Pakistan cricket team before the opening ceremony of the world cup. Bal says that HE will decide whether to allow Pakistan team to play in the finals or not if they qualify for the final. It may be noted here that Shiv Sena has a previous history of threatening Pakistan cricket team, and mostly they try that the Pakistan cricket team will not play in India. In the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium they once damaged the pitch where Pakistani team will suppose to play a test match in a few days time.
So this is how the ICC World Cup crickets kicks off – temperatures would continue to soar as teams get eliminated and it will be the four lucky ones making to the semis that would finally decide the fate of the cup. I wish the best of luck to our team and hope that Shahid Afridi takes the team to the finals without caring about the threats by the Indian extremists.