Dubai: The most coveted prize in cricket, the World Cup trophy is scheduled to arrive at Lord`s on Sunday and it will be welcomed by England ODI vice-captain Eoin Morgan along with representatives of ECB, Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) and the ICC.
The ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 will commence on February 14, with England taking on host Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).
With only 180 days to go until the opening matches, Morgan said: "The focus will be on 50-over cricket between now and the ICC Cricket World Cup once this Test match against India is over. There will be real competition for places in the England set-up and I know that playing in an ICC Cricket World Cup is special. It is the ICC`s pinnacle event and it is an event that really captures the imagination of the entire cricketing world.
"The fact that the World Cup trophy is now here at Lord`s and will tour England and Wales in the next few weeks will help raise not only profile but also excitement around the ICC Cricket World Cup."
England is scheduled to participate in a tri-series also involving current champion India and four-time champion Australia in January. This will be a good opportunity for the team to assess its preparation ahead of the tournament it has never won, but reached the final three times 1979, 1987 and 1992.
"Everyone in the England camp is hugely excited about the prospect of competing in Australia and New Zealand in what is two hugely challenging environments against the very best players in world cricket," said Morgan, who, having played 78 ODIs for England to date, is aiming to appear in his third ICC World Cup.
Morgan will be joined in welcoming the trophy by Steve Elworthy, the ECB`s Managing Director of Global Events, Derek Brewer, Chief Executive & Secretary of MCC and, Nick Pink, Regional Development Manager - ICC Europe at the Grace Gates.
Elworthy, who played in the ICC Cricket World Cup 1999 when it was last held in England, is looking forward to hosting the trophy at Lord`s: "The last time the ICC Cricket World Cup came to Lord`s was at the end of the 2010 season as a part of the build-up towards the 2011 tournament in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
"It proved incredibly popular with all the visitors to the ground and I am sure that will be the case again especially the spectators at the Middlesex game against India here at Lord`s on Friday."
"For everyone in England and Wales, the trophy tour will not only add to the awareness of the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2015 but also mark the build-up to the next round of ICC global events to be held on these shores the ICC Champions Trophy and the ICC Women`s World Cup, both in 2017, and, of course, the ICC Cricket World Cup itself in 2019."
Brewer added: "Lord`s has a special affinity with the ICC Cricket World Cup staging the first three finals in 1975, 1979 and 1983- as well as the 1999 final. All those finals produced some really iconic images and special memories in the history of the ICC Cricket World Cup. On behalf of MCC it is an honour to welcome the trophy to England and Wales."
The 11th edition of the World Cup will feature a total of 14 teams, which includes the four qualifiers Afghanistan, Ireland, Scotland and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Pink said: "The ICC Europe regional office is based at Lord`s and so this is a special moment for us all. ICC`s Associate Members from Europe are again well represented with Ireland and Scotland - where the trophy will travel to after leaving Cardiff - both reaching next years tournament through a global qualification pathway that culminated in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier in New Zealand earlier this year."
The World Cup trophy will travel to the following locations in the United Kingdom: Lord`s - MCC Museum, Edgbaston, Bristol , Cardiff – Scotland.
The trophy will arrive in the UK from Bangladesh, before which it had toured Sri Lanka, and its next stop will be Scotland. After visiting 13 countries over four months, the trophy will arrive in Melbourne on November 6.