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World Cup on display

— PHOTO: AFP

DEEP BLUE SEA:South Africans Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel pose underwater with the ICC World Cup Trophy.

DUBAI: The cricket World Cup trophy was displayed by South African players Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn in the Dubai aquarium as the 100-day countdown to the event began here on Tuesday.

Morkel and Steyn, who were later joined by members of the South African and Pakistani teams, dived into the aquarium to start the ceremony which was also attended by officials of International Cricket Council (ICC).

The opening ceremony of the World Cup will be held in Dhaka, Bangladesh on February 17. India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka jointly host the 10th World Cup from February 19 to April 2.

Spectacular

“It was spectacular to watch the 100-day countdown ceremony and the ICC and the three host countries are gearing up for the World Cup,” ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat told reporters.

Pakistan was also due to co-host the 2011 party, but was stripped of it's 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. Lorgat said he feels for Pakistan's fans.

“Due to unavoidable circumstances we had to shift the matches from Pakistan and I welcome all the fans there to come to Sri Lanka and support their team as they always do,” said Lorgat.

Pakistan will play all its group matches in Sri Lanka.

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.

Lorgat said the ICC had learnt lessons from the past World Cup, especially the problem of low turnouts due to the high prices of tickets in the event held in the West Indies three years ago. — AFP

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