India-led hosts target World Cup blockbuster

Tuesday, 9 November 2010 23:12 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

AFP— India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have joined hands with the aim of putting on a memorable World Cup as cricket’s showpiece event is played in South Asia for the third time.

A hundred days ahead of the February 17 opening ceremony in the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka, the International Cricket Council gave a thumbs-up to the work done by the three host nations.

“I am confident we will get a good tournament,” ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat told AFP. “Preparations have been going on well and there has been good co-operation between the three host nations.

“With mega-events like these, there will always be something that needs to be done till the end, but we are in control of things.”

The World Cup returns to the sub-continent, the nerve-centre and financial powerhouse of cricket, after India and Pakistan co-hosted the event in 1987 and were joined by Sri Lanka for the 1996 tournament.

Pakistan were also due to co-host the 2011 party, but were stripped of their rights due to security concerns in the volatile nation in the aftermath of the terror attack on the Sri Lankan team in March last year.

The 43-day, 49-match tournament will be played under a new format with India hosting a majority of matches (29), including the final at the new-look Wankhede stadium in Mumbai on April 2.

Sri Lanka’s 12 matches will be held at three venues, including two brand new 25,000-seater stadia in Pallekele near the hill resort of Kandy and Hambantota in the deep south.

The third venue, the existing Premadasa stadium in Colombo, is being re-built from scratch to host seven matches, including a quarter-final and semi-final.

The eight matches alloted to Bangladesh will be played at the Sher-e-Bangla cricket stadium in Mirpur on the outskirts of Dhaka and the Zohur Ahmed Chowdhury stadium in Chittagong.

India will use eight regular Test venues for its 29 matches, having re-constructed the Wankhede stadium and renovated the Eden Gardens in Kolkata and the Chidambaram stadium in Chennai.

ICC president Sharad Pawar, who also heads the tournament organising committee, said the new venues would be ready on schedule.