Dhaka, (JPN): ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 extravaganza began with a grand opening ceremony at the Bangabandhu National Stadium here on Thursday as the 14 captains arrived in colourful rickshaws to thunderous applause of thousands of viewers.
The game's showpiece event returns to the sub-continent after 15 years, shrugging off the controversy of Eden Gardens being stripped off a marquee match, involving co-hosts India.


The opening ceremony at Dhaka began with the Bangladesh national anthem "Amar Shonar Bangla", composed by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore of India.

“Here I am” hitmaker rock star Bryan Adams, Indian singing trio of Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and king of melodious voice Sonu Nigam, who sang the opening anthem, were among the performers to set the stage for the tournament, reflecting the increasing role the entertainment aspect has started to be associated with the game.

It is befitting that the World Cup is being held in the sub-continent this time when the region establishes itself as the nerve centre of the game, though 1992 champions Pakistan are not one of the co-hosts and Bangladesh will be in the party in their silver jubilee year of initiation into one-day cricket.

The PM of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina said words of encouragement to the audience. She was preceded by ICC chief Sharad Pawar who thanked all involved in making the spectacle come alive.

Hasina hoped the World Cup will stengthen the ties between the cricketing countries.

"I congratulate the cricket loving public for their great enthusiasm and cooperation to make this event a grand success," she said.

ICC president Sharad Pawar called it a "historic" day and said this is one of the World Cup championship which will always be remembered.

After the speeches by dignities, there were around 3,500 performers showcased the opening extravaganza with a colourful depiction of Indian, Sri Lankan, and Bangladeshi culture.

Popular singer Runa Laila came to join as the strong crowd dances to her sufi tunes.

The event will complete with song sequences by well-known artists like Canadian rocker Bryan Adams, Indian singer Sonu Nigam and Bangladesh-based Runa Laila.

The most anticipated performance with “Summer of 69” by one and only Canadian star Bryan Adams, began with a huge cheer from crowd.

After such a fervent performance by Canadian star, Indian maestros Shnkar Ehsan Loy joined the party with “De Ghuma Ke”.

 

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