2019 Cricket World Cup: Virat Kohli and all other captains meet Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Harry ahead of tournament opener
Captains of all 10 participating teams including India skipper Virat Kohli met Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Sussex Prince Harry on the eve of the ICC World Cup 2019 opener. The World Cup starts with hosts England taking on South Africa in the first match of the tournament at The Oval on Thursday. (Check Out: Full schedule (picture) of ICC World Cup 2019)
Before the first match, Virat Kohli (India captain), Eoin Morgan (England captain), Aaron Finch (Australia captain), Faf du Plessis (South Africa captain), Sarfraz Ahmed (Pakistan captain), Kane Williamson (New Zealand captain), Jason Holder (West Indies captain), Dimuth Karunaratne (Sri Lanka captain), Masrafe Mortaza (Bangladesh captain), and Gulbadin Naib (Afghanistan captain) met the Queen and Prince Harry at the Buckingham Palace in Central London on Wednesday.
Watch | ICC Cricket World cup 2019 captains meet Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Harry
The ceremony was hosted to wish all the 10 participating teams before the grandest event of cricket.
Many cricketing legends like Viv Richards, Anil Kumble, Jacques Kallis were involved in the opening ceremony. Nobel peace prize winner Malala Yousafzai represented Pakistan.
A unique 60-second challenge was played during the opening ceremony in which all teams were given one minute to score the maximum runs.
Reacting on the atmosphere,India captain Virat Kohli said he was enjoying the opening ceremony. Kohli also talked up the crowd support India receive whenever they come to England.
“It’s lovely to be here. We have such a huge fan base in England. The amount of people travelling from home as well. It’s great to see at every stadium we play at, at least 50 per cent of the crowd is Indian fans. For us, that’s a thing of pressure but a thing of pride as well. Hopefully, we have got to use to the crowd support to our advantage,” Kohli said during the event.
Ahead of the World Cup opener, captain Morgan said winning a home World Cup could do wonders for cricket in the sport’s birthplace as he prepares to lead his team in their tournament the opener against South Africa.
“It would mean a huge amount. The World Cup alone raises the profile of the game and is a platform for every young kid in this country to have a hero or have the inspiration to pick up a ball or a bat,” Morgan told reporters at the Oval on Wednesday.
“To go on and win it, I couldn’t imagine what that would do,” the former Ireland batsman added.
South Africa, on the other hand, would look to shed their chokers tag and start the World Cup on a positive note. They, however, were dealt with a heavy blow before the start of the tournament with ace fast bowler Dale Steyn being ruled out of the first match of 2019 World Cup because of an injury.
A lot would depend on the young shoulders of Kagiso Rabada if South Africa intent to stop the likes of Jos Buttler, Eoin Morgan and Jonny Bairstow.
The 2019 World Cup will be played in a different format. All the ten teams in the competition - India, England, South Africa, West Indies, Pakistan, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Australia, and Bangladesh - will play against each other in the round-robin stage. The top four teams with qualify for the semi-finals. All the teams will be playing against each and every other team in the World Cup for the first time since 1992.
(With agency inputs)