Cricket fans the world over are eagerly waiting for the 11th ICC Cricket World Cup to commence next month.
Australia and New Zealand are jointly hosting this 14-Nation event, which begins in Christchurch on February 14, 2015.
It is after a gap of 23 years that the world’s third largest sporting event (behind the Olympics and FIFA Football World Cup) is being held on our shores.
While we expect the pitch to be excellent, the Cricket World Cup will accrue numerous benefits for New Zealand.
World Cup 2015 presents a brilliant opportunity to showcase our beautiful nation to the millions watching on Television (the event will be broadcast in more than 200 countries).
The seven New Zealand cities hosting the matches get a platform to tell the world that New Zealand is a tourist’s paradise.
The government realises the potential and has invested more than $10 million on making the Cricket World Cup a success.
All of us have seen the positive impact that Sir Peter Jackson’s ‘Lord of the Rings’ (the First Part was released in 2001) had on raising New Zealand’s profile on the world stage, and a flow-on effect was in the increased tourist numbers.
The Cricket World Cup will also see between 15,000-25,000 tourists visiting New Zealand. The Australian and New Zealand governments have entered into an agreement that allows international visitors attending this event the ease of applying for a visa only once to enter both countries.
Tourists spending here would boost our economy.
As New Zealanders, it is our responsibility to be good hosts.
This would reaffirm New Zealand’s image as a friendly country to the world.
These cricket enthusiasts will be our guests, and will go back home and spread the good word about New Zealand.
Many Business organisations are tying up events with the World Cup to enhance commercial opportunities between India and New Zealand.
What better occasion can there be other than a sporting event, which captures the imagination of most Indians to strengthen the commercial relations between the countries?
India is New Zealand’s second largest and fastest-growing market for international students. This event further provides an occasion to highlight our excellent educational facilities to the wider world.
This tournament will do a world of good for Cricket in New Zealand. It will create more awareness about the game, and attract newer demographics to the gentleman’s game. I hope that many more youngsters would take to the sport and help strengthen grassroots cricket.
We have all seen what the Rugby World Cup 2011 did for New Zealand.
It galvanised and united us even more as a country. We were fully behind the All Blacks but also supported other countries, and appreciated good sport.
Cricket World Cup gives us another opportunity to reaffirm our status as a sport loving country, capable of successfully hosting big world-class events.
Let the games begin!