The 12th edition of the ICC World Cup will start later today (Thursday) at the Kennington Oval, London, when hosts England take on South Africa. Celebrations for cricket’s biggest and third largest individual sports competition globally have already started with a Royal greeting for the all the competing captains.
As the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 Opening Party got under way on the Mall, just up the road the expectant captains got a Royal audience in a very grand ‘pavilion’.
The captains of ten competing teams at the World Cup met the Queen and Prince Harry on the eve of the tournament
The Queen and Prince Harry got the lowdown from the skippers who will be contesting 48 games around the country in the next six weeks, starting with Eoin Morgan’s England taking on the Faf du Plessis-led Proteas at the Oval on Thursday.
Swapping their colourful kits for smart blazers, they enjoyed a break from preparations at a Buckingham Palace garden party, before parading in front of their flags and an excitable crowd as cricket stopped traffic on London’s most famous thoroughfare.
The Mall then hosted a game of street cricket with legends of the sport, including Sir Viv Richards, Anil Kumble and Brett Lee, joined by a cast of celebrities including Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai and Olympic gold medallist Yohan Blake.
And, perhaps in a sign of what the hosts hope is to come, it was Kevin Pietersen who inspired England to a narrow victory over Australia.
Nobel prize winner Malala Yousafzai also joined the carnival and tried her hands at street cricket.
Michael Clarke, Australia’s winning captain four years ago, delivered the World Cup, which has spent the last 100 days visiting communities up and down the country.
And Rudimental and Loryn performed the official song, ‘Stand By’, which is set to be the soundtrack to a cricketing summer like no other.
“Some of the greatest memories of my career were playing in this competition so to have been able to have held this trophy up as captain in 2015 was very special,” said Clarke.
“I think there’s five or six teams that can win it. England are in great form and their preparation has been outstanding so they are obviously the favourites.”