SA v Pakistan
Proteas display CWC trophy
Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel display the CWC trophy (File)
Dubai - The Cricket World Cup trophy was displayed by South African players Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn in the Dubai aquarium as the 100-day countdown to the event began on Tuesday.
Morkel and Steyn, who were later joined by members of the South African and Pakistani teams, dived into the aquarium to start the ceremony which was also attended by officials of International Cricket Council (ICC).
The opening ceremony of the World Cup will be held in Dhaka, Bangladesh on February 17. India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka jointly host the 10th World Cup from February 19 to April 2.
"It was spectacular to watch the 100-day countdown ceremony and the ICC and the three host countries are gearing up for the World Cup," ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat told reporters.
Pakistan were also due to co-host the 2011 party, but were stripped of their rights due to security concerns in the volatile nation in the aftermath of the terror attack on the Sri Lankan team in March last year.
Lorgat said he feels for Pakistan's fans.
"Due to unavoidable circumstances we had to shift the matches from Pakistan and I welcome all the fans there to come to Sri Lanka and support their team as they always do," said Lorgat.
Pakistan will play all its group matches in Sri Lanka.
The 43-day, 49-match tournament will be played under a new format with India hosting a majority of matches (29), including the final at the new-look Wankhede stadium in Mumbai on April 2.
Lorgat said the ICC had learnt lessons from the past World Cup, especially the problem of low turn outs due to the high prices of tickets in the last event held in the West Indies three years ago.
"I hope lessons learnt from the 2007 event will help us and we have done everything to make this event in the sub-continent a special one," said Lorgat, who also hails from South Africa.
Pakistan coach Waqar Younis hoped Pakistan do well in the World Cup.
"It was nice to begin the 100-day countdown here," said Waqar, who was Pakistan captain in the 2003 World Cup. "We still have one series to play in New Zealand and hope that we remain focused to win the mega event."
South African captain Graeme Smith said he hoped the World Cup will be a success.
"The World Cup is a prestigious event and being held in the sub-continent, where cricket is a passion, makes it a special event," said Smith whose country has never won the mega event since re-admitted to international fold in 1992 after a lengthy ban due to apartheid.
"Every team wants to win the World Cup and we will also make extra effort to win it," said Smith."