The 10th Cricket World Cup, a 49-match six-week sporting marathon was formally launched by Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina amidst thunderous cheers here this evening in the renovated Bangabandhu National Stadium in a blaze of colour and pageantry.
“ It gives me great pleasure to declare the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup open,” said Sheikh Hasina and pressed the switch-on button. The prime minister hoped that hosting of the World Cup cricket would help cement international fraternity.
With the formal inaugural of the tournament, Dhaka’s evening sky was lit up with spectacular fireworks as remote-controlled colourful electronic kites went up in flying formation. For the first time the packed crowd in the stadium had a glimpse of “aerial” cricket and a spectacular laser show.
The colourful cultural presentations were made by renowned singers, musicians and dancers of Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka – the three co-hosts of the tournament- showcasing the rich cultural heritage.
The prime minister also thanked the organisers, BCB officials and patrons for their immense contribution to holding the World Cup successfully.
Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) President AHM Mostafa Kamal MP gave the welcome address while ICC President and Indian Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, Local Organising Committee Chairman and Bangladesh Finance Minister AMA Muhith and State Minister for Youth and Sports Ahad Ali Sarkar also spoke at the function.
There was nothing lacking in the amazing opening show that depicted Bangladesh’s long history chronologically and ended with famed rockstar Bryan Adams’s mind-blowing concert and theme song of the World Cup “De Ghumma Ke” to leave the full house excited.
Noted singers from India and Bangladesh rendered the song to present their cultural heritage that not only made the event global but also articulated that sports could bring the whole world under the same umbrella.
At 7 pm Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said at the inauguration, “In this month of February, I recall with gratitude the martyrs of the great Language Movement. I also recall the greatest Bengali of all time, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who had steered the Language Movement.
We feel greatly privileged to co-host the cricket extravaganza in our beautiful country.”
The grand opening ceremony started at 5pm with the popular singers of Bangladesh performing. Thereafter the welcome song of the ceremony “O Prithibi, Ebar ashey Banglake now chiney.. (world, now is the time to come to know Bangladesh) was performed by singers Mila, Kona, Elita, Balam, Hridoy Khan, Arnob and Ibrar Tipu.
The 14 captains of the World Cup teams entered the ground on 14 beautifully decorated rickshaws which was followed by members of the 14 teams joining the march past. Earlier the event’s mascot Stumpy entered the stadium with the captains’ rickshaws followed.
Afterwards, the most attractive part of the ceremony started with enormous passion. As the music and dances crept building up to a crescendo, the fireworks went up. Following this the cultural programme started depicting the heritage of the Sub-continent as the simulated thunderstorm and the fireworks often left the spectators spellbound.
Legendary Bangladeshi singers Runa Laila, Sabina Yasmin and Mumtaz then performed a medley of some of their popular songs. India’s Sanu Nigam also sang.
Subsequently the best of the rural culture of Bangladesh, the rich folk tradition and the greatest achievements in Bangladesh’s history, the Language movement, Bangabandhu’s historic March 7 speech, the independence, gradually became vivid through simultaneous projection of light, sound and fireworks.
Legendary Bryan Adams then came to the stage and the audience stood upto welcome the Canadian Star.
The stunning opening ceremony then ended with the meet’s theme song ‘De Ghuma Ke’ performed by famed Indian singers Shankar, Ehsan and Loy.