They messed the Cup even before the first ball
It is worth over £40,000 (Rs 34 lakh) and is made in England. It travelled to Mumbai, Chennai, Pune, Hyderabad and Delhi, and was in Kolkata on Thursday morning. By the time you read this, it should be winging towards the West Indies. Put it down to travel or what you will, but the World Cup trophy will reach there the worse for wear.
Less than one year after Italy skipper Fabio Cannavaro was photographed holding a broken part of the FIFA World Cup (which was subsequently glued back), the lower gold ring below the coins depicting past winners got detached from the wooden base of cricket’s World Cup.
The 11-kg trophy was supposed to be displayed opposite the Victoria Memorial. This leg of the ‘Cheer for India’ programme — organised by TV18 Network and LG, global partner of the ICC World Cup 2007 — was scheduled for 1 pm and the usual razzmatazz associated with such events was in place.
The only thing missing was the trophy.
As the media got restive and the organisers started working their mobile phones, someone blurted out that it was broken. The news sent shutterbugs into a tizzy and LG representatives barking into their phones even more. One of them was heard repeatedly asking: “Ring ka kya karun (What will I do about the ring?).”
Soon the van in which the trophy had been brought — and outside which four private security guards had been seated, smoking — zoomed away, leaving everyone clueless.
The van reappeared around 2.30 pm and the person asking about the golden ring put his gloves on, took the trophy out and, with a fair amount of ceremony, put it on a podium. It stayed there for an hour as it was supposed to, but photographers were told to keep their distance.
After the trophy had been taken away, the blame game started. Fingers have even been pointed at the ICC. In the evening, a release from a Mumbai-based agency said the "lower gold ring of the ICC CWC trophy was detached from the wooden base" when it received the trophy from the ICC.
"ICC policy does not allow anyone except the official trophy makers to repair/polish the trophy," the release said. "Therefore, LG received the trophy with the lower ring detached from the wooden base."
The statement came after an LG official, speaking from Delhi, said he did not know whether the trophy had come to India already damaged. Asked why only four men were guarding the Cup, the LG official said the personnel were trained and the company was only following the instructions of the ICC.
Messages on the voicemail of ICC's media spokesmen were not responded to, and hence questions like why the original trophy was taken around in this manner went unanswered.