With 200 days to go before the first ball is bowled in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011, the event mascot’s name was unveiled in a simple but impressive ceremony at P. Saravanamuttu Stadium in Colombo on Monday ahead of the third Test between Sri Lanka and India.
The mascot, an elephant, has been named ‘Stumpy’ after an online selection process that drew proposals from thousands of cricket fans around the world. The lucky winner will receive a cricket bat signed by the all-star quartet of India’s Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Sachin Tendulkar and Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardena, all of whom attended the launch to express their excitement about the flagship event.
ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat said: “This is another milestone in the build-up to our flagship event and it’s great to see the game’s best players like Mahendra, Kumar, Sachin and Mahela looking forward to the ICC Cricket World Cup with such enthusiasm.
“As the excitement builds over the coming 200 days, we will see Stumpy throughout the cricket world, promoting the event and generating enthusiasm. I’m grateful to the thousands of cricket fans who showed their passion for our Great Sport and took part in the naming competition. I encourage all fans to start making plans to attend a spectacular event.”
With matches to be hosted in Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka, India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni is expecting the World Cup on home soil to be a career highlight.
He said: “It can’t get any bigger than the ICC Cricket World Cup in which the best of the best enter with just one objective – to take home the Cup that counts.
“It’s not only my dream to be a Cricket World Cup winner but it’s the wish of every member of team India to put his hand on the Cricket World Cup trophy. We’ll work as hard as possible to turn our dreams into reality.
“This trophy has been eluding us for the past 27 years and I think we have a very good chance at home to break the drought.”
Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara said winning the Cricket World Cup was his childhood dream.
“The Cricket World Cup is the apex of all the cricketing competitions. It is the one that all teams and players want to win. I was very fortunate to watch Sri Lanka win the tournament in 1996 and it has been my ambition to win the Cricket World Cup ever since I started playing cricket,” he said.
“The World Cup means everything to us. It is the one point of the cricketing calendar everyone looks forward to and wants to win it. We just have to make sure that we understand how privileged we are to be in that position and carry the hopes and aspirations of so many people.”
India’s iconic batsman Sachin Tendulkar can’t wait for the action to begin. He said: “The Cricket World Cup is the ultimate limited overs competition for a cricketer as it happens only once in four years. The entire cricketing fraternity eagerly waits for this event and when it starts, everyone gets deeply involved.
“It’s a completely different feeling to be part of a Cricket World Cup where the atmosphere and the buzz is very special and to be staged in the sub-continent for the first time in 15 years is a magnificent feeling.”
ICC CWC 2011 Tournament Director Prof Shetty was in Colombo for the launch. He said that, 200 days out from the opening match, plans in all three host countries were on track: “The preparations for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 are on course and I’m happy with the progress we have been making.
“Obviously, the readiness of the stadia is one of the key factors. The construction work is going ahead at a brisk pace which makes me confident that all the stadia will be ready by the end of this year.”
Stumpy was represented by a real life elephant at the launch in Colombo.