Before action begins on May 30 with the match between England and South Africa, the 12th Cricket World Cup will have a gala opening ceremony on the evening of May 29. This event, being called a 'party' rather than a ceremony, will take place at The Mall in London.
The hosts for the event would be retired England all-rounder and a cult figure in the country's sporting universe, Andrew 'Freddie' Flintoff, and comedian Paddy McGuinness. The number of people in attendance would be 4000 with all of them being chosen through lucky draw.
Where and when to watch
The opening ceremony of the 2019 World Cup will begin at 5 PM local time and 9:30 PM IST. The official broadcasters of the event, Star Sports, would be bringing the celebrations live on Star Sports 1, Star Sports 2, Star Sports 1 HD and Star Sports 2 HD. Hotstar will carry the live stream on the internet.
What to expect
The event would be a mixture of all-out entertainment featuring music, dance and the much-celebrated British sense of humour. In a wise move, the organisers have allowed the participating teams and players to stay away from the celebrations to prevent over-exertion. However, many legends of the game from various countries will add lustre to the event with their presence.
To add solemnity to the kick-off party, members of the British royal family are expected to make an appearance also. Since Prince Charles had made an appearance at the opening ceremony of the 2013 Champions Trophy, albeit through a video, he may well be the one to feature in this event also. But it may well turn out to be one of the princes with their spouse.
Since a great deal of debate has taken place in England over the issue of multiculturalism and the fact that ICC would like the large expatriate communities from all the participating nations to show their support, the entertainment may well see an eclectic mix of diverse cultural performances.
As the celebrations would only be an hour long, it would be a short and sweet affair. It is useful to recall how the last time England hosted a World Cup - in 1999 - the opening ceremony turned out to be an absolute dud. The fireworks produced more smoke than light and everything else was uninspiring too. Furthermore, the English team in that tournament had been eliminated even before the official song came out. This time, both the performance of the English team and the organisers is likely to be better.