Sobers declares 2007 World Cup open

DANIEL TOWN, Jamaica, March 12, 2007 (AFP) – The 2007 Cricket World Cup, the first to be held in the Caribbean, was opened here on Sunday in a three-hour, two-million dollar opening ceremony. Sir Garfield Sobers, arguably the greatest player the game has ever known, declared the 16-team, 49-day, 51-match tournament open.

“On behalf of the West Indies, it is my honour and privilege to declare the ninth ICC Cricket World Cup officially open,” said Sobers.

Chris Dehring, the chief executive of the organising committee, said the Caribbean was the ideal place to host the event which has cost in the region of 400 million dollars to stage.

“The world will see the best cricketers competing against the backdrop of one of the most blessed places on the planet,” he said.

“They will see exciting cricket inspired by the rhythm and soul of the West Indies.”

He added that the tournament was the reward for years of “sweat and tears, hard work and sacrifice”.

Ricky Ponting, the skipper of defending champions Australia, said he was keen to get the action underway.

“This is a huge night,” he said. “Our preparations have been really good and now we are looking forward to gett