The eyes of the world will be fixed firmly on the Bangabandhu National Stadium (BNS) in Bangladesh on February 17 as it will play host to the opening ceremony of the ICC cricket World Cup 2011.
And Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) president AHM Mustafa Kamal yesterday assured that all possible efforts were being made to make the day a truly memorable one for millions across the country and beyond.
“All our efforts are geared towards making the opening ceremony a massive success,” Kamal told The Daily Star yesterday, adding that the programme would be, “a grand affair, with a scale unlike anything seen before in the country.”
The nearly two-hour long event will be declared officially open by Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and will feature a wide variety of innovative offerings ranging from laser and holographic shows, LED kites and massive coordinated fireworks. Famous artistes, both legendary and contemporary from the region and beyond will also be present during the event which is being organised by Indian event management firm Wizcraft who are working with Asiatic as their local partners.
“Our aim is to make the opening ceremony as engaging as possible,” said Kamal, stating that he was sure people would get their money’s worth from the 115-minute show.
There had been recurring fears that Bangladesh would be under-represented in the opening ceremony as they are co-hosts with India and Sri Lanka, both giants in the game, but Kamal brushed aside such concerns.
“The opening ceremony is being held in Bangladesh, so we will of course focus primarily on Bangladesh.
“Each country is assigned a specific time-limit to showcase their culture, heritage and heroes,” informed Kamal adding that Bangladesh’s skit will be 20 minutes long, while India and Sri Lanka would each be represented for 12 minutes.
“The Bangladeshi segment will touch on all aspects of our culture, heritage and history including the Language Movement of 1952 and the Liberation War in 1971,” confirmed Kamal.
“It will also focus on the future and will highlight Bangladesh’s dream of achieving the status of a middle-income country in the near future.
“There will be very few speeches with only the Prime Minister, ICC president and BCB president scheduled to speak at the event.”
The prevailing fear amongst the public, however, is that with only a few thousand tickets up for grabs, many will miss out on the festivities at the BNS.
But Kamal said that contingencies were in place for those who would be unable to get the privileged ticket or pass.
“We are setting up giant screens in zilla stadiums of all 64 districts and in a total of 90 locations across the country,” he said. “Not only will the giant screens telecast the whole opening ceremony live, but there will also be cultural programmes held at each location and a synchronised fireworks display with that of the BNS,” said Kamal.
In light of the massive scale of events planned on the day, the government has also declared February 17 (Thursday) a public holiday.
There were also ru-mours doing the rounds that Colombian singer Shakira would be the headline act in next month’s event. And Kamal confirmed that while there had been advanced talks with her representatives, she would not be at the event. However he promised that there would a ‘number of surprises for the people’ fuelling speculation that Canadian singer Bryan Adams could add the opening ceremony to his planned South Asian tour itinerary.
Kamal also expressed his frustration that a number of other expansive plans had not been realised due to certain logistical and security issues, but he stated that he was quite satisfied with how things had built up so far.
Host tournament director Ali Ahsan Babu, reiterated Kamal’s sentiments and said that he too was confident of hosting a grand opening ceremony.
“A number of leading Bangladeshi personalities are involved in the planning and execution of the event,” he said, adding that a number of the new generation of Bangladeshi musicians would perform at the ceremony.
“The captains of all the participating nations will take part in the opening ceremony,” he confirmed adding that not all the team members would be able to make it to the event due to practice matches the day before.
But Indian legend Sachin Tendulkar would most likely be at the
event since India will be playing Bangladesh in the
opening match of the World Cup at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur on February 19.
A total of about 7,000 tickets will be available for the opening ceremony which will go on sale on February 5. Ticket prices range from Tk 1,000 for the gallery, Tk 10,000 for VIP and Tk 20,000 for the grandstand.