The 2019 ICC World Cup officially kicked off with captains of all the ten nations coming together in an exciting opening ceremony which was presented by former England cricketer Andrew Flintoff, Paddy McGuinness and Shibani Dandekar opposite the Buckingham Palace in London.
“We can’t wait to start,” England captain Eoin Morgan said as the crowd present welcomed the skippers with thunderous applause.
“It is lovely to be here. There’s such a huge fan base here. That’s a thing of pressure and a thing of pride as well. We’ll look to utilise the crowd advantage,” India skipper Virat Kohli said at the opening ceremony.
Ahead of the lively ceremony at the Mall in central London, the ten captains were at Buckingham Palace where they met Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, Prince Harry and other members of the Royal Family at a gala event.
After meeting the Royal Family, the ten captains joined the special invitees at the Garden Party hosted by the Queen at the Palace.
Also present at the ceremony was the legendary Sir Vivian Richards and as was John Newman who sang the song ‘Feel the Love’ by Rudimental.
Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest Nobel Prize laureate, was also present there.
Michael Clarke brought the World Cup 2019 trophy accompanied by Graeme Swann. Clarke feels England have a chance to win the World Cup seeing the way they have played in the previous three-four months.
The opening ceremony also saw its share of fun and games with an innovative 60-second challenge, where teams were represented by two ‘guest figures’.
Former Indian skipper Anil Kumble and Bollywood actor Farhan Akhtar made up the Indian team. While Sir Viv Richards was joined by Olympic athlete Yohan Blake for the West Indies. The likes of Jacques Kallis, Brett Lee, Kevin Pietersen and Mahela Jayawardene were among the others involved in this event.
Former Australia batsman David Boon was the umpire for this little game.
The England team with Kevin Pietersen and Chris Hughes scored 74 runs with the Australian side coming in second with 69 runs, while India managed to score only 19 and finished bottom of the pack.
The World Cup, which is back in England for the first time in two decades, will see its first match played on May 30 at the Kensington Oval in London between hosts England and South Africa.
The hosts led by Eoin Morgan have come into the tournament as the top ranked side in the ODI format, and will be up against a Dale Steyn-less South Africa. Both sides are still on the hunt for their first World Cup crown.