Musical gala marks World Cup opening
Nine independent states from the West Indies will host 51 games involving 16 teams during the gala event.cricket Updated: Mar 13, 2007 22:58 IST
The cricket World Cup officially opened on Sunday with a colourful but low key ceremony.
Nine independent states from the West Indies will host 51 games involving 16 teams, including defending champions Australia.
The competition will last for 47 days leading up to the final on April 28 at the Kensington Oval in Barbados.
Over 2,000 singers, dancers and performers, including several of the Caribbean's top reggae and dancehall performers, participated in the opening at the new stadium close to Montego Bay on the northern coast of Jamaica.
Surprisingly only just over half of the Trelawny stadium was opened to spectators with one of the stands, behind the stage, left empty but those inside enjoyed a celebration of Caribbean culture.
Against a red, gold and green backdrop, reggae singers Jimmy Cliff and Gregory Isaacs, as well as contemporary performers Sean Paul and Shaggy, entertained the crowd of around 10,000 and the squads of the competing nations.
Chris Dehring, CEO of the event, said fans at the World Cup would see "the world's best cricketers competing against the backdrop of the most blessed place on earth".
Former West Indian great Garfield Sobers formally declared the competition open.
The hosts take on Pakistan in the opening game on Tuesday in Kingston.