ICC president Pawar starts his speech in Bengali
Dhaka: The president of the International Cricket Council Sharad Pawar on Thursday surprised everyone as he delivered the introductory lines of his speech at the inauguration ceremony of the World Cup in Bengali.
"Swagato (Welcome)," Pawar said at the Bangabandhu Stadium. "Bangladesh khoobi sundor desh (Bangladesh is a beautiful country)," the Indian Union Minister of Agriculture stated amid thunderous applause from a sell-out crowd.
There was more surprise as Pawar addressed the Bangla crowd saying, "Pradhan Mantrir haath dhore progotir pothe egiye cholechen apnara (The Bangladesh Prime Minister is guiding you (Bangaldeshi public) towards the road to progress)."
Pawar praised the local organisers for arranging the event on such a grand scale.
"This will be a World Cup which everyone will remember," Pawar said.
"I have been associated with two World Cup opening ceremonies but this was organised on a grand scale."
Pawar thanked Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the government of India for their support. He also thanked BCCI president Shashank Manohar and his Sri Lankan counterpart DS de Silva for their support.
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina received the biggest cheer during the opening round of speeches but she made a faux pas while announcing the tournament open in Bengali.
She initially said "Biswa Cup Du Hajar Ek" (which means World Cup 2001) but later corrected when she declared the tournament open in English.