Melbourne, July 8 (IANS) The 100-day countdown to the ICC T20 World Cup started on Friday with the hallowed turf of the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) being dropped into the city centre amid a bevy of cricket stars, including the likes of Aaron Finch, Shane Watson, Waqar Younis and Morne Morkel launching the ‘World Cup Trophy Tour’.
The tournament will feature the world’s best men’s cricketers from 16 countries, with an Australian side, captained by Finch, determined to defend the title they won in the UAE last year. It is the first time the men’s tournament is being hosted Down Under, with the women’s equivalent taking place 2020.
Finch said the period between now and the start of the mega-event will be crucial to his side’s chances of retaining the crown.
“It’s an exciting time for cricket with so many world-class teams coming out to play all around the country. Now that there’s just 100 days to go, you can feel the excitement building among the team about the prospect of playing in a home World Cup in front of our fans,” the Australia white-ball skipper was quoted as saying by ICC.
“In a World Cup, every game is tough, and anyone can beat anyone on their day so the white-ball cricket we’ve got coming up over the next couple of months is going to be crucial to make sure we are ready come the first ball of the World Cup in October,” added Finch, who is trying to overcome a prolonged lean patch.
The ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Tour will see the trophy travel across four continents before returning to Geelong on October 16, when the tournament gets underway.
ICC Chief Executive Geoff Allardice said the tour is a big milestone in the hosting of the tournament.
“Celebrating the start of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Trophy Tour, driven by Nissan, is another important milestone in taking the trophy to 10 countries for the first time ever, once again showing our commitment to using the T20 format as vehicle to grow the game and to engage new fans across the world.
“With just 100 days to go until the start of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup there is a real sense of excitement ahead of the 16 teams coming together in Australia to compete for the ultimate prize in T20 cricket.”
The tour will see the trophy visit 35 locations in 13 countries across four continents. The T20 World Cup trophy will make stops in Fiji, Finland, Germany, Ghana, Indonesia, Japan, Namibia, Nepal, Singapore and Vanuatu for the first time, taking the sport to more fans in different countries.