December 2010

ICC Cricket World Cup 2011
December 2010

Jointly Hosted By

Sri Lanka | India | Bangladesh

To say  "cricket is a religion" in Sri Lanka is an overused metaphor, but nothing else comes quite as close to describing the passion, or how it mesmerises this nation. A very strange thing happens when Sri Lanka plays cricket - everybody watches. No matter what race or religion, almost the entire country is spellbound whenever the national team takes the field.

Words: Dr. Aadhil Aziz

It's somewhat of a strange game, longer than baseball, sometimes going on for five days - yes, I did say five days. The more exciting one day matches consist of '50 overs' and the ICC Cricket World Cup, is held once every four years, and is a one-day game, consisting of '50 overs' for each team. However recently shorter versions of the game have been cropping up, like 'six-a-side,' or the very popular '20-20.'

My memories of cricket are fleeting and varied, from playing with friends down the street as a child, to watching every single match in 1996, when Sri Lanka won the World Cup for the first time.

This will be the second time that Sri Lanka will be co-hosts, (with India and Bangladesh) of this tenth prestigious ICC World Cup, and this year looks to be as exciting as the previous encounters. With more participating countries than ever before, and the collective roar of an entire nation behind them, Sri Lanka would want their team to do well, and hopefully go on to win the Cup, after coming close on the last few occasions.

Kumar Sangakkara, Captain of the Sri Lankan team speaking about the upcoming tournament says, "during the last one and a half years much of our success has flowed from the consistent improvement in our bowling. We now have a bowling unit that is second to none in the world. Our batting has also been strong, but more inconsistent.

If our batsmen match the rate of improvement we have seen from our bowlers, then I think we can challenge any team in the world.

Aside from preparing well, which we will do, we need to ensure we have the mental strength and the right attitude to help us win during the big knock-out games when the pressure will be on. We are really confident and excited about the tournament. It is a huge honour for the country to be co-hosts and we also believe that we have the team to win it."

With 14 national teams scheduled to compete, this year's tournament promises to have some serious match play. Teams that qualified this year are Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, England, India, Ireland, Kenya, Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, West Indies and Zimbabwe. The tournament will begin with the 14 teams being split into two groups and then a round robin session of the seven teams each playing each other. The top four teams of each group will then enter into a quarter final and the knock out stage of the competition.

In Sri Lanka there will be three venues, with two brand new additions especially built for the 2011 ICC World Cup. The first is the prestigious 'Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium,' in Hambantota.' Hambantota was one of the areas in the south of Sri Lanka that was devastated during the Asian tsunami of December 2004, but since has had much development including the construction of the Magam Ruhunupura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port, which saw the first ship docking at the Port in November, 2010, the on-going construction of the international airport in Mattala and the beautiful new stadium, which will host Sri Lanka vs. Canada on February 20, and then Pakistan vs. Kenya on February 23.

The second is the 'Pallakelle International Cricket Stadium' near the beautiful city of Kandy, also built specifically for the World Cup. Kandy was one of the former capitals of Sri Lanka and has several interesting tourist attractions including the 'Temple of the Tooth Relic,' which is said to house the tooth relic of Lord Buddha. This spectacular new venue will host Pakistan vs. New Zealand on March 8, and then Sri Lanka vs. Zimbabwe on March 10.

The third venue is in Colombo and is the grand 'R. Premadasa Stadium,' also fondly called the 'Kettarama International Cricket Stadium,' which has undergone a major renovation for the tournament and will host Sri Lanka vs. Pakistan on February 26, Sri Lanka vs. Kenya on March 1, Pakistan vs. Canada on March 3, and the highly anticipated encounter of long-term rivals, Sri Lanka vs. Australia on March 5 as well as Pakistan vs. Australia on March 19. This memorable stadium will also host one of the two semi-finals on March 29, 2011, with the finals to be held in Mumbai, India on April 2, 2011.

Whoever ends up lifting the trophy can be assured of a firecracker atmosphere at all the big match-ups. As a nation we are proud to be co-hosts for the second time, especially since the last time we were co-hosts we won the tournament for the first time ever. If you have never been to a cricket match, then try to plan your trip around Sri Lanka to coincide with one of two new stadia, one down the coast, and the other in the hills. And if you have hardly any time left at all, then come watch a thriller at the newly renovated stadium in the city of Colombo!


With 14 national teams scheduled to compete,this year's tournament promises to have some serious match play.Teams that qualified

this year are:

New Zealand
South Africa
Sri Lanka
West Indies

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    R. Premadasa stadium

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    Pallekele International cricket Stadium

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    Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium, Hambantota

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