It's hard to travel around Dhaka this week without running into Stumpy, mascot to the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup. The city is dotted with posters of the upbeat, cartoonish blue elephant. In each one, he's holding a cricket bat-shaped clock, counting down to the second the World Cup begins.
As if anyone in cricket-mad Bangladesh could forget.
This is Bangladesh's first chance to host a major international sporting event, and everyone here is bursting with pride. We got a taste of it when we stopped to interview some fans playing a casual game at a Dhaka university. Even the security guard wandered over to share his thoughts on the upcoming action. "Everyone is excited that the World Cup is going to be held here," he said. "We are all feeling good. We are expecting the Bangladesh team will win." His sentiments were echoed by the crowd around him.
In all, eight matches will be played here, six in the capital Dhaka and two in the port city Chittagong. Neighbors Sri Lanka and India share the hosting duties, with Mumbai having the honor of holding the final match.
Bangladesh is spending roughly $45 million on the event, which a spokesperson said involved the most "massive security operation in the history of Bangladesh." Over 2,000 policemen will be present at Sher-e-Bangla Cricket Stadium and surrounding roofs and roads will be cleared. The country's elite police forces, including the SWAT and RAB, will be present.
Dhaka is busy with the finishing touches. Two weeks before the first match, a visit to Sher-e-Bangla Cricket Stadium revealed workers applying a final dose of paint to the banisters and groundskeepers mowing the lawns. The stadium is small by international standards, seating only 25,000, and the limited number of tickets has been a sore point here. The Bangladesh Cricket Board gave away 10,000 seats per match to government officials, VIPs and the ICC, leaving the country's millions of cricket fans to vie for the remaining 15,000. Hopefuls queued for as long as three days for tickets, and many left empty-handed.
But if the scarceness of tickets has dampened enthusiasm, it is hard to tell. Games will be displayed on giant screens throughout Dhaka, Chittagong and the country's 64 districts. With the opening match between Bangladesh and rival India, expect much of the country to be watching.
No hard feelings for the Bangladeshi fans, but I think its the Sri Lankans who are going to win this time.
This world cup is going to be an awesome event. Four teams are top contenders India, Australia, South Africa and Srilanka, and one can never rule out England, Pakistan, New Zealand and West Indies. What makes this tournament even more special is that, the so called minnows, Bangladesh, Canada, Ireland have played exceptionally well in the warm up games and given scares to top level teams. This is going to be one exciting tournament, can't wait for it to start. Good luck for Bangladesh, India and Sri lanka for hosting the games successfully...
here is the time to enjoy the cricket extravaganza. month long cricket carnival ison the card. undoughtedly men in blue, india, is the hot favourite followed by proteas and aussies. but, pakistan, sri lanka, west indies and even keniya and bangladesh are cappable of rewritting history..anyway lakhs of fans are waiting for the grand finale..
This is nice really. I proud for it. God bless Bangladesh.
It gives the impression that Bangladesh is the major host. There are 49 matches and only 8 are to be held in Bangladesh. Most are in India and rest in SL. As expected, lousy reporting from CNN.
Cricket is only watched in India, srilakna, pakistan, bangladesh and a very few other countries. It doesnt create much hype or excitement else where in the world other then these few countries.
I wish we could forward time to see the football wolrd cup again. I am not fan of football but the world was in carnival mood during the last football world cup
It"s all English topics. Look at what i said.
Anyone saw the mauling South Africa subjected the world champions and currently ranked #1 team in the world to during the warm up game?
This is going to be a thriller. Adapt quickly to the conditions or die!!!
How can anyone want to watch soccer when you can watch cricket....
I think in great game of cricket, any team can become champion. It's all about effort and team work. Cricket is unpredictable game, so wishing best of luck to all the 14 team. I am sure this world cup will be remembered forever. It was great opening ceremony done by one of the host Bangladesh. I am from Pakistan, kind of upset that we are not part of hosting world cup. But I want to tell you people, we are also cricket lovers. We want to have peace in our country and happiness. May God bless everyone around.
Hope Bangladesh will show some exceptional performance with the hot favourites.
Calling Bangladesh minnows is a clear indication that you have not followed cricket in the last 2 years! Also, we are a test playing nation and Canada and Ireland are really not in the same league as Bangladesh.
I want south africa to win this time.....
@Roshan The report features Bangladesh since the opening ceremony was held there. So I am not seeing any lousiness over here.
@Damon Even though cricket is only watched in these few countries, just try doing the math, how many people live there. So its not as insignificant as you think it is. I am a big football fan by the way, and want to watch FIFA world cup again too 😛
But best of luck to all the countries. I am expecting some exciting games =D
Hope the best team wins, ofcourse I support India.
All the best India my country. We as a country love our Team India. I believe this time the cup will be our's. Jai India!
@Roshan Just because there are going to be fewer matches in Bangladesh than India and Sri Lanka doesn't mean Bangladesh is less important than the other two as a host. I can't see how CNN was lousy here.
@Damon Try to follow cricket. It really is an exciting game. I'm sure you'll love it once you get the hang of it. =]
@ PS- the Combined population of India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan is more than one-third of the world population! if you go for numbers, then you'll get a shock of your lifetime. in Europe there would be 5 or 6 out of every 10 people who watch football, whereas in the subcontinent, you can hardly find anybody who isn't a cricket fan.
I don't want to predict who'll win the world cup. For India and Sri Lanka, this is the biggest opportunity they'll ever get. Being a Bangladeshi, I hope that our team doesn't succumb to the huge pressure that has built up of expectations of their fans. I hope that they perform up to the mark.
About the opening ceremony, I am overjoyed that we could represent our true spirit for cricket through this 4 hr show.
I hope INDIA win this time as Sachin is going to play in World cup last time. Australia, Srilanka, SA and India teams are favorite team this time. Hope for the best and all the best for Banlgadesh.
I'm South African and I'm feeling this is our year. Great result against India at home recently not to mention our warm up games! I think it's gonna be an amazing tournament whatever the result. We also have the rugby world cup happening in New Zealand soon. Man what a year for sport 🙂
Good Luck every team n as a Bangladeshi i like to say we will play better cricket than Canada ireland etc.
i think the suprise package for this world will be the pakistan team pakistan team is the most unpredictable team in this world they have a habit of suprising us many times they can beat any team anytime anywhere in the world if its their day so guys watch out for pakistan don't be suprised if they reach final unless they hit the axe in their own foot
As i earlier said on espn-cricinfo"Ricky Ponting will make the history and perhaps for many decades" Best of luck Aussie.
We live in Maeyland, USA. Just reached Dhaka for the World Cup. The entire Dhaka city has been washed with soap water as part of the overall preparation. Every road is decorated. Very festive.
Cannot wait for the Bangladesh V India game.
It will be a mracle but what if Bangladesh makes it to the final? Yes it will take a miracle.
@Damon: which part of the world are u from? Cricket is not only followed in the subcontinent, it has a large following in Europe, Australia, new zealand, carribean. If you take the subcontinent itself, thats almost two billion people (including the population of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Srilanka to India). Then add European countries like England, Scotland, Ireland, Netherlands. Australia, new zealand and the west indies might have lesser population compared to India, but they too add numbers. In Australia cricket is one among the top games and cricketers enjoy the fame and following of celebs there. The Middle East, that adds a lot of following. Newer countries that has began to follow are China, Canada and Afghanistan. Oh man how did I forget Africa, (South Africa, Zimbabwe,Kenya, Namibia, so on and on) I just realized the magnitude of cricket's following when explaining it to u...lol...
i'm just shocked. hole world giving their best admiration to this country (Bangladesh).
i love that.The opening ceremony of the World Cup was so cool. the Bangladesh Documentary was so beautiful.
the captains of the 14 competing teams paraded through Dhaka's historic Bangabandhu
Stadium in colourfully draped rickshaws.it's realy new one. It gives me great pleasure . hope for the best 4 all teams.
I wish Bangladesh win or at least make some history like last worldcup by beating some good teams. But definitely I want the Worldcup to come in Subcontinent.
Experts say Bangladesh is capable of making the QFs. Best wishes to the cricketers and the fans.
Wow Great post! I loved it..
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Bangladesh has capability to win this world cup. But players has to
be confident. Not like choosing fielding when you win toss.
Stand up my country Bangladesh. We millions are with you.