I’ve often said that I wish tournament organisers would scrap opening ceremonies and do something useful with the money.
Imagine if the Olympics said they’d just be doing a little torch-lighting with a camera or two present, and used the millions and millions they saved to build a few athletic centres for communities in need?
Sorry, no Football World Cup opening ceremony, but organisers have built 100 football pitches so that children can have a decent kick around after school.
(Closer to home, maybe Cyril Ramaphosa could have skipped his inauguration, built a few RDP houses with the cash instead, and saved one bloke the embarrassment of a parachute crash landing.)
Sadly for cricket fans who were forced to watch last night’s fiasco outside Buckingham Palace, the Cricket World Cup organisers decided to give an opening ceremony a bash.
They really, really, shouldn’t have, because it was a cringefest.
I’ll quickly hand over to the Guardian for some potshots:
…there were not really any facilities, food or drink for the poor unfortunates who had been roped in to make up the crowd. Someone had thought to put up some portable loos and pack a few box-loads of plastic ponchos to help keep the rain off, but that was it…
There were a few curious tourists, too, peeking through the opaque fencing that surrounded the site, trying to figure out what was going on. Otherwise The Mall, which had been entirely closed off for the event, was empty all the way to the security gates down towards Admiralty Arch…
The ECB desperately wants this World Cup to recapture some of that feeling over the next six weeks. On the evidence of this, the England team are going to have to do some very heavy lifting.
I took this photo last night. This is everyone that was in attendance:
Reminds me of Trump’s inauguration.
The vibe? Oh, sorry, there wasn’t one, but at least Faf wore a nice scarf:
I do think he should have taken it off when meeting the Queen, though:
Back to the damp mess outside, and former England captain Michael Vaughan summed it up:
Feel free to skip through the ICC’s summary of the ‘festivities’, because there aren’t really any highlights:
Oh, look, there’s Kevin Pietersen and some bloke off Love Island representing England. Never forget.
We were represented by Jacques Kallis and Steven Pienaar, and there was a moment where you could actually see the pain in Kallis’ eyes as it all unravelled.
I’m not a fan of the Daily Mail, but I’ll make an exception for some of their trash talk about the ceremony:
TV presenter Paddy McGuinness attempted to ramp up the atmosphere with an enthusiastic ‘that was epic’ at one point, while Flintoff tried to make the cricket challenge sound as tense as the actual World Cup.
However, there were a number of glitches with link-ups between presenters, microphones not working and delays to the scoring, and when the camera panned out to show the crowd it looked somewhat limp…
Viewers tuning into Sky’s live broadcast labelled the event a ‘dud’ and the ‘lamest opening ceremony ever’.
They weren’t wrong.
A special mention goes to Nobel Peace Prize recipient Malala Yousafzai, who represented Pakistan, and somehow managed to offend every Indian in attendance with a little dig at their sub-par performance.
The Indians finished rock bottom in the farcical 60-second challenge, with Pakistan finishing seventh. When host Shibani Dandekar asked Malala about her team’s performance, she couldn’t help herself:
“Pakistan, we were okay, not too bad. We came seventh. But at least we were not last like India,” she said.
Even Nobel Peace Prize winners can’t get over the India versus Pakistan rivalry – glorious.
With that mess out of the way, all eyes now turn to the tournament’s opener, which pits the Proteas against England. Dale Steyn will miss out, but if the rest of the bowlers can step up, and the likes of Quinton de Kock and Faf du Plessis hit their straps, the Poms are there for the taking.
I know it’s the hope that kills you, but let’s storm the castle!
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