Captains’ Day kicks off ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 in style

The ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 stage is set as all 10 captains gathered today at the world’s largest cricket stadium in Ahmedabad on the eve of the biggest Cricket World Cup ever.

Across the next 45 days, 48 matches will take place across 10 world class venues. Beginning with a repeat of the 2019 Final, as England take on New Zealand in the tournament’s opener at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad tomorrow.

Ahead of that match the official ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 official image was taken at the Narendra Modi stadium by celebrity photographer Rohan Shrestha. The 10 captains also shared their thoughts and hopes for the next six weeks with host Ravi Shastri and England winning captain Eoin Morgan in an interactive panel session.

Australia captain Pat Cummins: “I don’t think there’s too many events around the world where you feel like half the world’s tuning in to watch and whenever India play Pakistan in a World Cup. It seems like one of those moments. So, although you’re personally not involved, you feel like you want to watch it and hear about all the commentary and the passion around the game. So, it’s going to be great that it’s at this stadium. You can have over 100,000 people.”

India captain Rohit Sharma: “I have said it from the start, you know, every leader sitting here wants to achieve something really special for their country. It is something that is very highly prized; the 50-Over World Cup is something that I have always dreamt of growing up as a child, and I am sure it is the same for all the guys sitting here as well. One thing I can assure, which I am pretty sure everyone knows, is that people are going to love this tournament here; the stadium is going to be jam-packed because people here in India love their cricket as much as they love their team, but they love their cricket as well. But rest assured, it’s going to be a great tournament.”

Pakistan captain Babar Azam said: “We received good hospitality, and we were not expecting this, but I think the way people responded to us, everyone enjoyed it. We are here for a week in Hyderabad, so we do not feel like we are in India; it was like we are at home. We enjoyed and had a lot of fun. It’s good, and I think it’s a golden opportunity for everyone to give 100% and enjoy the tournament.”

England captain Jos Buttler: “The team’s been mainly together for a long time since 2015, since the start of that sort of revolution that you mentioned, and I think you said right through the game. Now in England, young players coming through play a certain way and are determined to carry on the style, and I think we know it gives us the best chance of success. We will get it wrong at times, but we’ve made peace with that, and it’s something we want to continue to strive to do, to keep pushing the boundaries. Other teams will push you and move it on further, so we always want to try and be at the head of that curve as well.”

Afghanistan captain Hashmatullah Shahidi: “As said before, we will have more crowd and more support, we are expecting the same that the people will come there and support us in the stadium. And we have very good quality spinners and the condition is suitable for us and that will be with us and also with the batting. I believe in this World Cup we will give a statement about the batting that we can do very good, play very good cricket.”

Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan: “I think we have prepared well. If we talk about the last four years since the 2019 World Cup, we are probably the third or fourth team in the qualifiers’ point system. So, we have done really well as a group; now it’s time for us to put on a good show. Our team is ready, and the country is expecting a little more than what we did previously.”

Netherlands captain Scott Edwards: “I think all games in this tournament are going to be tricky. But obviously Pakistan’s a very good side. But, yeah, for us, we’re just excited to get this tournament going. That’s against Pakistan in Hyderabad.”

South Africa captain Temba Bavuma: “I think that’s something that is relevant to all the teams. A lot of the teams have guys who played in India, have done well in India, so I wouldn’t really say it’s an advantage for us. I think all we could do is for the guys who have that experience and knowledge; they can share it among the team or use it in terms of our strategies and plans. But I wouldn’t really say it’s an advantage unique to us as a team.”

Sri Lanka captain Dasun Shanaka: “See, exciting times for us. We have been struggling a lot in the recent past with injuries, but at the same time, we have some good records with us. You know, as a group, we are looking forward to the World Cup. Everyone wants to make a statement, that we are here to perform well in this tournament.”

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson: “As you mentioned, you come to another event, and everybody certainly starts from the same position and starts again, and you go from tournament to tournament, teams change, opposition conditions. For us, it’s focusing on the style of cricket that we want to keep committing to, and that gives us the best chance of putting on our best performance. It’s been nice to have some enjoyable times and certainly full of different challenges over a number of tournaments that we have been involved in, but we’re really excited about the challenges that lie ahead for this one. And the difference is that it will bring, compared to other tournaments, a great occasion here in India. Sports is just loved by so many, and it’s going to be so well supported as well. So, we’re just looking forward to getting involved.”

Fans will be able to catch the panel session with the 10 captains via the Star Sports network from 19h00 IST this evening, bringing the excitement of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 right into their living rooms.

© ICC 2023

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