The 2015 Cricket World Cup down under is only a year ahead

kersi - world cup launch

By Kersi Meher-Homji

To promote the inauguration of the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand in February 2015, a function was held in Martin Place, Sydney on 14th February, Valentine Day, exactly one year before the mega event.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott was the chief guest. He said, “Cricket lays claim to being our national game so this opportunity to host one of the biggest sporting events in the world will be a thrill for many Australians.

“Not only will our skills on the pitch be on show, but our country as well. I look forward to welcoming teams and supporters from around the world next year.”

The other speakers were Ralph Waters, the Chairman of World Cup 2015 and Gabrielle Upton, the Minister of Sport and Recreation, NSW.

But the most important invitees were Test cricketers Allan Border (under whom Australia won her first World Cup in India in 1987), fast bowler Brett Lee who loves India and Indian songs with passion and young fast bowler Pat Cummins.

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A bit of bhangra to kick off ICC World Cricket Cup 2015 at Martin Place, Sydney. Photo courtesy Nekzad Irani

And it looked as if India and Australia were already in the “Final” as most of the entertainment was provided by Indian dancers, Khursheed Irani stealing the show with her Bollywood dancing provided by Gandhi Creations. Also those present at the function were predominantly Australians and Indians.

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No event is complete without the Bollywood. Photo Courtesy Nekzad Irani

No wonder, as India is the current holder of World Cup having won it under the leadership of MS Dhoni on April 2, 2011 in Mumbai beating Sri Lanka by 6 wickets in the Final. This was India’s second World Cup, having also won it in 1983 in England under skipper Kapil Dev, defeating the then mighty West Indies by 43 runs.

Australia has won it a record four times; in 1987, 1999, 2003 and 2007.

It was a pleasure talking with Allan Border. He was optimistic of Australia regaining the Cup as her recent record in one-day internationals is promising, having beaten England 4-1 in the series concluded last month.

He recalled the 1987 World Cup win in India with nostalgia. “We were rank outsiders to win the Cup so we played without much pressure. But after beating India by one run in Chennai we regained confidence.”

He predicted that Australia and New Zealand would do well because of home advantage.

Brett Lee said that playing the 2003 World Cup in South Africa was a big event for him, especially because Australia won and also because he took a hat-trick against Kenya in Durban. He said that Australia, South Africa and India will be hard to beat in the 2015 World Cup.

Pat Cummings is only 20 and has a huge future ahead of him. In his only Test, against South Africa at Johannesburg in November 2011, the then 18 year-old took 6 for 79 in the second innings.

Needing 310 to win, Australia was in trouble, being 8 for 292, still 18 runs behind when Cummins went out to bat. He scored 13 not out while adding those precious 18 runs and Australia won by two wickets, thanks to the teenager’s all-round performance. He was made Man of the Match but has not played a match since because of injury.

We discussed that Johannesburg triumph and he told me that he hopes to play in the 2015 World Cup.

What are his predictions for the World Cup? “Australia will win”, he said. “But India and Sri Lanka also have a good chance.”

Australia’s current winning champion Michael Clarke sent this message from South Africa, “The ICC Cricket World Cup is the pinnacle of one-day cricket and we’re thrilled that it’s going to be held in our own backyard.”

Fourteen countries will participate in next year’s World Cup with Australia in Pool A and India in Pool B.

Pool A: England, Australia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, New Zealand, Afghanistan and Scotland.

Pool B: South Africa, India, Pakistan, West Indies, Zimbabwe, Ireland and United Arab Emirates.

Cities to host this mega event are Adelaide, Auckland, Brisbane, Canberra, Christchurch, Dunedin, Hamilton, Hobart, Napier, Nelson, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney and Wellington.

Children (age under 16) tickets are $5 for every pool match but higher for quarter finals, semi finals and final. Adults tickets are $20 for every pool match but higher for quarter finals, semi finals and final.

Tickets have gone for sale from yesterday (14 February). They can be purchased at www.cricketworldcup.com

 

 

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