There were journalists at the ceremony who have covered cricket World Cups, Olympics, Asian Games, even football World Cups, and they swore they have never seen anything like this before. For a sport that has a bad history with opening ceremonies, nothing could have been more welcome. It didn't need the Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to declare the World Cup open. The World Cup was open when at 2am last night, thousands were dancing on the streets, signing the best-wishes bat, and tens of cars went round and round the Bangabandhu Stadium. And when similar scenes were taking place at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur, which didn't even have anything to do with the opening ceremony.
And to say that the 50-over format is supposed to be dying. Not in the subcontinent, not in Bangladesh by a long shot. However, like with the good old ODIs, the opening ceremony had its middle overs. Nigam followed up his Celine Dion act from the recently-held Filmfare Awards back home in India with a self-composed song titled Rise Up For Glory, which showed that his great voice needs to be rescued, from himself. The politicians took about half an hour of valuable time, and were on the verge of inviting a streaker. The crowd mimicked and made fun of one of them, another speaker gave two different figures for Bangladesh's population in half a minute, and ICC chief Sharad Pawar tried to speak Bangla but no one could make out a word of what he said.
In the bigger picture, though, all those were minor irritants. There were some very nice touches to the ceremony. Local artists performing before the main function started was one such; getting popular, almost legendary singers, Mumtaz, Sabina Yasmin and Runa Laila, to share the stage was another, as was the crowd going crazy at the first sound of Bollywood music in an overstretched celebration of India.