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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

In my country, cricket is a religion, with the number of followers far more greater than many other religions prevailing in the land. Having said that, the Cricket World Cup tournament, the biggest international event in the world of cricket, is the most watched and celebrated sports tournament in India. The fact that the 1987 Cricket World Cup was held in India and Pakistan (jointly), and it was the first time hosted outside England (the place where the game began), is enough to prove my point.

How are the hosts for this prestigious event selected?


Quoting Wikipedia,

"The International Cricket Council's executive committee votes for the hosts of the tournament after examining the bids made by the nations keen to hold a Cricket World Cup."

Since the advent of the event, there have been 11 tournaments so far (including the one currently going on). Following is the breakdown of the events and their respective venues (including the proposed ones):

1.      1975    England
2.      1979    England
3.      1983    England & Wales
4.      1987    India & Pakistan
5.      1992    Australia & New Zealand
6.      1996    India, Pakistan & Sri Lanka
7.      1999    England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland & Netherlands
8.      2003    South Africa, Zimbabwe & Kenya
9.      2007    West Indies
10.    2011    India, Sri Lanka & Bangladesh
11.    2015    Australia & New Zealand
12.    2019    England & Wales
13.    2023    India (Source)

Including that of 2023, India will become the second nation to host the event 4 times, first one being England. This again proves the importance of the game in an average Indian's life. Being an international event, it covers almost all the continents of the world.

From the country of the fathers of the game, the Cricket World Cup is spreading its reach to more nations who participate as Associate Teams. Best example being Sri Lanka, who hosted the event for the first time in 1996 (and also won it)! Other good examples are Zimbabwe, Kenya, Bangladesh - to name a few. If the trend continues, we may see countries like Bermuda, UAE and Afghanistan hosting the Cup one day.

Given the vast presence of the tournament, it is like a heaven for travel enthusiasts - lets them cover most of the world if they just follow this event. Below I list down a few must-visit cricket destinations in the history of Cricket World Cup:

1. London, England


London from a hot air balloon

The city of London is home to two of the oldest grounds in the history of cricket - The Kia Oval (aka The Oval) and Lord's (aka the Mecca of Cricket). If you are a cricket lover, you get to visit the MCC Museum (the oldest sports museum in the world) and the MCC Library.

Apart from cricket, you have numerous places to visit while you are in London. London Eye, Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, St. Paul's Cathedral, Tate Modern, Madame Tussads, Tower Bridge and Big Ben are the not-to-be-missed attractions. Well, given the fact that I haven't visited London (yet), you must visit the top ten attractions of the city. Also, if experts are to be believed, you must avoid these eight places!

2. Mumbai, India


Mumbai skyline at night

Being a cricket-loving nation, India has a lot of grounds which host all kinds of cricket games, viz. first-class, List A, Test, ODI and Twenty20. All these pitches are spread all around the country. But, I prefer Mumbai as the cricket travel destination. Firstly, it is home to the God of cricket (aka The Legend aka Master Blaster). Secondly, the city boasts three international ODI grounds - Wankhede Stadium (hosted 1987 Cricket World cup semi-final, and 2011 Cricket World Cup final), Brabourne Stadium, and DY Patil Stadium (This venue has not conducted any international ODI matches so far. The 7th India vs Australia ODI during Australia's 2009 tour of India was supposed to be the first international cricket match to take place here but was cancelled due to heavy rain). Thirdly, Mumbai has Bollywood (one of the largest centres of film production in the world).

Mumbai has a lot to offer to its tourists. Gateway of India, Siddhivinayak Temple, Essel World, Chowpatty, Haji Ali Dargah, Elephanta Caves, Aksa Beach - the city has something for all age groups. Nothing can beat the Vada Pav you get there. Here is a list of the ten places you must visit while you are there.

3. Melbourne, Australia


Melbourne skyline

The city of Melbourne is the second most populous city in the country. It has been ranked the most livable city in the world since 2011. Travelers beware, it is also the fourth most expensive city in the world. The legendary Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) is part of this city itself. It is the thirteenth largest stadium in the world, the largest in Australia. It also has the highest light towers at any sporting venue! It is also one of the world's most famous cricket venues. Do you still wonder why I chose Melbourne to be in this list?

On the tourism front, Melbourne is not back at all! Eureka Tower, Royal Botanic Gardens, Yarra Valley, Shrine of Remembrance, National Sports Museum, one can just go on-and-on-and-on. If you are in Melbourne, do these ten things.

4. Colombo, Sri Lanka


Colombo at night

Colombo is home to the three best grounds of the country - the R. Premadasa Stadium, the Sinhalese Sports Club Ground (aka the Lord's of Sri Lanka), and the P. Sara Oval (aka the Colombo Oval). It is also the capital city, and the largest city of Sri Lanka.

Cricket legend Ian Botham shares his travel experience in Sri Lanka. Mount Lavinia, Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple, Viharamahadevi Park, National Museum, and St. Thomas Chapel are a few places worth seeing. If you plan to visit, do these twelve things.

5. Johannesburg, South Africa


Johannesburg skyline

The city of Johannesburg boasts three international cricket grounds - the Ellis Park Stadium, Old Wanderers, and the New Wanderers Stadium. It is the largest city in South Africa. It is also one of the  fifty largest agglomerations in the world. It is also the world's largest city not situated on the banks of a river body! Did you know? I bet you didn't ;)

Apartheid Museum, Cradle of Humankind, Lion Park, and Hector Pieterson Museum are the must visit places in the city. Go there and do these things.

Have you already visited any (or more) of these places? If yes, do care to share your experiences via comments below. If not, when are you packing your bags?

This post is part of Blogger Dream Team (#BloggerDreamTeam).

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