Sunday, February 6, 2011

Cricket mania has been gripping the sub-continent with countdown of ICC Cricket World Cup 2011

Thrill starts with warm-up games:World Cup 2011
Cricket fans are very much excited and indulge in different kinds of preparation to support their favourite teams.

Under-fire officials at India's Eden Gardens in Kolkata expressed confidence about hosting their share of World Cup matches ahead of a final inspection of the famous ground on Monday.

The stadium was stripped of the high-profile match between India and England on February 27 because of concerns about unfinished renovation work, echoing the shambolic buildup to the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi last year.

The match has since been shifted to Bangalore.

A decision on whether Kolkata will host the remaining three World Cup matches -- none of these involving India -- would be taken after an International Cricket Council inspection on Monday.

A Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) official said all the concrete and structural steel work had been completed and workers were busy dismantling their set-ups.

"We will be working till everything is complete," CAB joint-secretary Biswarup Dey was quoted as saying by the Kolkata-based Telegraph newspaper. "We are confident of being 100 percent ready."

In a letter to the Indian board, the ICC had outlined a schedule of works that needed to be carried out at the Edens before the other World Cup matches at the ground.

The stadium is due to host South Africa v Ireland on March 15, Ireland v the Netherlands on March 18 and Zimbabwe v Kenya on March 20.

India go into World Cup as favourites
The World Cup stars, the Retro Ceat Cricket Rating Awards 2011 on Thursday night came alive with more unforgettable moments from the nine previous editions.

The difference though was how the past masters felt it was different this time round with pressure weighing more heavy with each approaching day ahead of the much-awaited event to be held in the sub-continent.

Former India captain Rahul Dravid, honoured for his contribution in the 1999 edition in England, gave MS Dhoni and his boys the thumbs up saying that they deserve the tag of favourites given the kind of cricket the side has played in the last few years. "I also like the way MS (Dhoni) chose to describe the pressure being an added responsibility. He has used the right word. It's not pressure but a great privilege to be playing in front of your home crowds and hopefully India should do well. To me, the tournament will heat up after March 19 when the quarterfinalists will make the stage," said Dravid.

Former Pakistan all-rounder Wasim Akram too provided an insight on how his team of 1992 made it possible in Australia. "We walked from our hotel to the venue of the final to find Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan singing in our dressing room. We all had lunch together as well. We felt light and that was a great start for us. I guess, that how one should approach the World Cup."