With much pomp and in remarkable grandeur, the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 got underway at Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka last evening. As the world looks forward to a new spate of excitement to emerge from what has traditionally been considered a gentlemen's game, we in Bangladesh can certainly feel happy and proud that we have had the opportunity to inaugurate this World Cup series on our home soil. There is a sure sense of achievement here for the people of Bangladesh considering that within a mere twelve years of our qualifying as a Test playing nation, we have had this remarkable chance of seeing the ICC launch the 2011 series in our country.
A festive atmosphere has been generated by the World Cup among cricket enthusiasts in Bangladesh, which in itself is a sign of the increasingly deeper roots the game has been digging in the country. This enthusiasm is, in a larger sense, an expectation of the people that during the games as well as after them the national cricket team will break new ground through demonstrating its mettle in the course of the matches it plays against other teams. Overall, however, the fact that this year's World Cup has been inaugurated in Dhaka is symbolic of the desire of Bangladesh's people to see some of the best sportsmanship relating to cricket to be on display in this country. Ours has always been a hospitable society and this trait in the national character has once more been amply demonstrated by the zeal and euphoria with which we have welcomed so many foreign teams to the country.
With the inaugural festivities now behind us, we can all sit back and experience some exciting moments in global cricket. Yes, there have been the many disappointments where coming by tickets is concerned. But that has done nothing to dampen the mood of the country.
To all the participating teams, we say 'Welcome to the land of poetry, to Golden Bengal!' For ourselves, across the spectrum and beyond all barriers, we know this is one moment which brings us together as a people in all our vibrancy of spirit. Let the bugles be sounded!