Superb party in Dhaka as World Cup opens in grand style

Dhaka, Bangladesh - The 10th edition of the Cricket World Cup got off to a spectacular start with a superb opening ceremony on Thursday evening.

West Indies skipper Darren Sammy was among the 14 team captains who took centre during the three-hour cultural and musical presentation in front of 21,000 people in Dhaka’s Bangabandhu Stadium. Also present were several other team officials including West Indies Team Manager Richie Richardson.

One of the highlights was a high-class mini concert by Canadian rock star Bryan Adams, who was specially invited to perform at the event. Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh, officially opened the tournament.

The ceremony also included performances by some of the sub-continent’s brightest star performers, including Chayanot, Sonu Nigam, Iraj Weeraratne, Runa Laila, Sabina Yasmin, Momtaz and Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy. There were also cultural displays and dancing featuring the three host nations – India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka – and a spectacular fireworks display to climax proceedings.

ICC President Sharad Pawar said that February 17, 2011 will go down as a “historic day” as Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka. Pawar welcomed the invited guests, players, match officials, media and the people of Bangladesh to embrace the event and make sure it is the most memorable in history.

“Today is a historic day when the people of Bangladesh join India and Sri Lanka together to host the ICC Cricket World Cup, and make this tournament the most memorable yet. Tonight we welcome the captains of the world’s top 14 teams to the opening ceremony of the 10th ICC Cricket World Cup. One of these captains before us tonight will stand in the magnificent new Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on April 2 and receive the ICC Cricket World Cup trophy. On behalf of the ICC, I wish you all the very best of luck,” Pawar said.

“The ICC Cricket World Cup, our flagship event, provides the stage on which players have the rare opportunity to create legend and to write their own chapter in the history of this great sport. The greatest cricketers in the world will grace this event and I am sure that their ability, whether with bat or ball, will provide excitement and enjoyment for all cricket lovers. To the players and the match officials we wish you good fortune and look forward to some excellent performances.”

The ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 will be played across 13 cities in three countries over the next seven weeks starting at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium on Saturday and culminating with the grand finale in Mumbai on Saturday, April 2.

The President also acknowledged the contribution and support of the Government of Bangladesh and, in particular, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, for her magnificent support she has extended to the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011. There was also praised the Government of India and the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and also the President of Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapaksa and his Government for their great support and cooperation.

Sheikh Hasina said: “It is my great pleasure to be present at this colourful opening ceremony of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 at the Bangabandhu Stadium in Dhaka. We feel greatly privileged to co-host the cricket extravaganza in our beautiful country. I welcome the ICC officials, guests and spectators in this majestic ceremony.

“I would like to extend my thanks to the ICC for selecting Bangladesh to host the opening ceremony and eight matches in Bangladesh. My thanks go to the organisers and patrons for their immense labour to hold the ICC Cricket World Cup successfully. I congratulate my cricket-loving countrymen for their great enthusiasm and cooperation to make this event a grand success.

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