Colombo: With 200 days to go for the 2011 cricket World Cup, the event’s mascot ‘Stumpy’ was unveiled at a simple but impressive ceremony at the P Saravanamuttu Stadium here Monday on the eve of the third Test between Sri Lanka and India.
The mascot, an elephant, was 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.
The World Cup will be held for the third time in the sub-continent. India and Pakistan had hosted it in 1987, with Sri Lanka being included for the 1996 edition. These three countries, along with Bangladesh were originally to host the 2011 event but Pakistan was dropped on security considerations.
International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executive Haroon Lorgat said of the ‘Stumpy’ unveiling: “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, Sangakkara, 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.”
Dhoni is expecting the World Cup on home soil to be a career highlight.
“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,” he said.
Sangakkara said winning the 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.
Tendulkar can’t wait for the action to begin.
“The 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,” he said.