Enthralling ceremony marks the start of U/19 Cricket World Cup

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Kuala Lumpur, Feb 15 (UNI) Six high-energy drummers set the scene in an enthralling ceremony with a distinctly Malaysian feel as music blared out across the picturesque Kinrara Oval heralding the start of the ICC U/19 Cricket World Cup here today.

A paraglider landed inside the ground carrying the flags of Malaysia and the International Cricket Council (ICC).

The flags were then raised by the President of the Malaysian Cricket Association (MCA) Tunku Tan Sri Imran Ibni Tuanku Ja'afar, and the seventh U/19 CWC was declared open. All 16 squads were there on the field with their respective flag-bearers leading the way.

''This event is designed to be a finishing school for young cricketers,''said ICC Chief Executive Malcolm Speed. ''When I think back over previous U/19 World Cups the first thing to come to mind is the quality of the players that have come to the fore in the senior global game having first played in this tournament.

Inzamam-ul-Haq, Brian Lara, Yuvraj Singh, Graeme Smith, Sanath Jayasuriya and many other fine players began their international careers on this stage,'' he said.

Tunku Imran said,''It is an honour to be the first non-Test-playing country to host the event.It gives Malaysia, as a developing cricketing country, the opportunity to showcase the fruits of our labour through the aggressive development programmes that we have undertaken.'' After the opening ceremony, the teams departed for their respective venues across the three Malaysian cities of Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Johor. The first round of matches takes place on Sunday, February 17, with eight teams in action on that day.

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