Will there be an opening ceremony for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023?

Fans may have to accept the absence of a star-studded ceremony to kick off India’s Cricket World Cup 2023

Sakshi Gupta
Thursday 05 October 2023 09:45 BST
Pakistan cricket team arrive in India for first time in seven years after visa issues

This year’s Cricket World Cup is set to begin in India on Thursday – but reports have emerged that fans of the sport may have to contend without an opening ceremony.

Such ceremonies are a common ritual for many sporting events, and the last Cricket World Cup held in the subcontinent in 2011 had a grand opening display in Bangladesh’s Dhaka. The 2011 tournament was co-hosted by India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

The opening match of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 is set to be played between England and New Zealand at the Narendra Modi Stadium in India’s western Ahmedabad city on Thursday.

But Indian media reports indicate that the tournament’s organisers have no plans to hold a grand opening ceremony before that match’s play gets underway.

While there may not be an opening ceremony to mark the start of the marquee tournament, the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) have organised a “Captains’ Day” event involving the skippers of all 10 teams.

The event, set to start on Wednesday at the Narendra Modi Stadium, will have the captains do a photoshoot with the World Cup trophy along with a few media interactions.

Earlier this year in April, the BCCI had a huge ceremony to celebrate the start of the Indian Premier League (IPL), which had performances from several big Bollywood stars.

And while organisers have not officially ruled out an opening ceremony on Thursday, The Times of India quoted a source as saying there were never any plans to hold one for the 2023 World Cup.

“In the case of the IPL, you can have a short opening ceremony, as the match starts in the evening. Here, the match starts in the afternoon,” said the source quoted by the newspaper.

New Zealand’s Kane Williamson during practice at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad
New Zealand’s Kane Williamson during practice at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad (REUTERS)

Some reports suggested the BCCI had earlier planned a star-studded opening ceremony in Ahmedabad on the eve of the World Cup, but that these plans were eventually abandoned.

The ceremony, as per the reports, would have featured well-known Bollywood celebrities like Ranveer Singh, Arijit Singh, Tamannaah Bhatia, Shreya Ghoshal and Asha Bhosle.

The star-studded event was planned to have begun after the Captains’ Day event at the Narendra Modi Stadium and included fireworks and a laser show.

The first game of the tournament – England vs New Zealand – is a repeat of the final of the last edition in 2019. England, then led by Eoin Morgan, defeated the Black Caps in the final on a boundary count to clinch their maiden 50-Over World Cup.

England – currently the holders of both 50-Over and 20-Over World Cups – will enter the 2023 World Cup as one of the favourites to win the tournament.

Jos Buttler’s English side will aim to become just the third side to defend their Cricket World Cup title after the West Indies and Australia.

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