Everything you need to know about the Cricket World Cup 2011
India is about to be hit by a work productivity loss of 768 million man hours. The reason? Cricket.
At least 10-12 million peoples' attention is going to shift to the ICC Cricket World Cup co-hosted by India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka from February 19 to April 2, according to a survey from the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India.
Here's how to be a part of this heady two-month South Asian sports party.
The big ticket
If you haven’t got your World Cup tickets yet, you need to pick up the pace.
Book fast-disappearing tickets on Kyazoonga.com, the official ticket hub online and be weary of fakers on the web.
Prepare to pay about 12 percent of the ticket fare in service, bank charges and taxes.
Kyazoonga writes a big “Woo hoo!” when your booking is confirmed. Nice touch.
There have however, been some complaints about overseas fans not having received their tickets yet. The reassuring bit is that the website has constant updates and email support for different crisis situations (but no way to track couriers) and getting in touch with the constantly congested helpline is a pain.
If you don’t find good seats online, which is a possibility at this point, officially appointed travel agents (see travel deals below) are your best bet.
These guys aren’t allowed to sell tickets minus a package, so a way around that for Mumbaikars is to get the transfer package that comes with a match pass, and stadium transfer. This will cost you more than face value, but that’s the price you pay for being a slow coach.
If all else fails, every Mumbaikar knows someone who knows someone who can score tickets. Hint: find a member of the Garware Club -- they get one to two tickets based on a computerized lottery system -- and start sucking up now.
If your World Cup watching involves travel, Cutting Edge Events (+91 9820027663/ +91 9819549724, www.cuttingedgeevents.info) is your best bet. Why? Most importantly, they have a ton of ticket packages available NOW, and tie ups with hotels that may appear to be out of rooms when you try booking online.
Also offering similar packages is Tui (+91 (0) 22 33005555, www.tui.in) which is pricier than the former. The base package for the final match at Cutting Edge Events starts at Rs 27,800, while the one at Tui is Rs 42,000.
If you’re travelling within India, book a domestic flight on Cleartrip.com and get the base fare free off your next domestic ticket (redeemable only on SpiceJet). Book before March 20 and use before April 11.
Online travel booking engine Yatra.com is running a similar deal with a free ticket redeemable on highly recommended budget airline IndiGo. Book before March 25 and use before April 15.
Travel agents say accommodation in smaller cities like Mohali and Nagpur is filling up fast, so if you have a ticket, figure out hotel arrangements quickly.
Note: India is issuing six-month multiple-entry visas, but a new rule means once you leave the country, you have to wait two months before returning, so no hopping in and out on a whim.
Best matches to attend
The most fun
games to attend are the ones involving the hosts because that's when the
stadiums will be brimming with fans.
1. Bangladesh vs. India in Mirpur (the opening game), February 19. Bangladesh knocked India out of the World Cup in 2007, and the Indians have still not gotten over it.
2. Pakistan vs. Sri Lanka in Colombo, February 26. Pakistan was supposed to hold 14 matches, including one semi-final but were stripped of their World Cup hosting rights in the wake of the 2009 attack on the Sri Lankan national cricket team in Lahore.
3. India vs. England in Bangalore (the
game was moved from Eden Gardens
to Bangalore because the legendary Kolkata stadium was not prepared in time for this match. #FAIL), February 27. Pakistan might be India’s most hated rival, but it never hurts to stick it to India's former colonial overlords.
4. Australia vs. Sri Lanka in Colombo, March 5. Sri Lanka beat Australia in the 1996 final. Australia trumped them in the 2007 final. And so it goes ...
5. Australia vs. Pakistan in Colombo, March 19. It's a weekend match between two of the most aggressively offensive sides in world cricket today.
6. India vs. West Indies in Chennai, March 20. This is the last game in Group B and there is a chance one of the two sides will need to win it to guarantee a place in the quarterfinals.
7. Final in Mumbai, April 2. A World Cup final in Mumbai, the cradle of Indian cricket. And if India is playing Pakistan (the only opportunity for the two teams to meet), it will be madness. And Bal Thackeray’s head might explode. You won't want to miss it for the world.
Bar hopping in the best host cities
Here’s where to fill your soul with beer at the best host cities this World Cup.
New Delhi: What could be more perfect than Howzzat, a cricket-themed bar that brews its own beer and has ginormous TV screens? Alternatively, cozy Red Monkey Bar has all-day happy hours on Mondays and Tuesdays, discounts on beer and sangria and stadium-like, true live sound system.
You should know: Locals say you should watch the match with 500 plus fans on giant screens at the DLF promenade. For free!
Howzzat, Galaxy Hotel, NH-8, Sector 15, Part II, Gurgaon; +91 (0) 24 4565000; Red Monkey, 47 Defence Colony Market; +91 9910808653.
Chennai: Start drinking at noon considering all bars shut at 11 p.m. at 10 Downing Street (a 15-minute drive from the Chepauk stadium), where an afternoon deal of Rs 250 will get you beer, the chef’s special and dessert.
You should know: Respected cricketed website Cricinfo.com calls Chennai spectators “the most knowledgeable cricket fans in the country” so don’t go challenging them to a game of World Cup trivia at the pub.
No.50, Kences Inn Boutique Hotel, North Boag Road, T.Nagar; +91 (0) 44 28152152, 28113004
Bangalore: A 10-minute walk from M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, Guzzlers Inn is a convenient pre and post match watering hole.
You should know: A 2010 DNA story reveals that the tech hub of India and a big student town is increasingly resorting to hypnosis to deal with stress. Don’t look directly into those crazy fan eyes.
48, Rest House Road, Brigade Road; +91 (0) 80 25587336, +91 9844096185
Kolkata: Hookah, flavored shots, and a long, long bar at new club Nocturne that stays open later than most, until 3 a.m.
You should know: Kolkata is home to the largest Indian cricket stadium, Eden Gardens, and some notoriously fervid Indian cricket fans. Should you get into a pub brawl with a Bengali bloke, respectfully call him dada for instant calming effect.
Nocturne, 31, Shakespeare Sarani, HSBC Building, Elgin; +91 9831252442, +91 (0) 33 22903648
Mumbai: Special world cup offers and big TV screens at Sports Bar Express and Geoffrey’s.
You should know: Stroll through Shivaji Park for a glimpse into the birthplace of future pro Indian cricketers. Many greats including Sachin Tendulkar have been nurtured on this ground.
Read more on "Mumbai's maidans: Former birthplaces of India's cricket gods" on CNNGo.
Sports Bar Express, ground floor, Regal Cinema Building, Shahid Bhagat Singh Road, Colaba, +91 (0) 22 66396682; Geoffrey’s, Marine Plaza, 29 Marine Drive; +91 (0) 22 22851212
Colombo: Sir Donald Bradman's memorabilia and lots of beer at Cricket Club Cafe, a bar housed in a pretty bungalow.
You should know: Hit one of the many casinos in Colombo, especially if you’re heading to India next, where gambling is illegal.
Cricket Club Cafe, 34, Queens Road; +94 (0) 11 2501384, thecricketclubcafeceylon.com
City to avoid: Ahmedabad. Two things: An alcohol-free, vegetarian Indian state. Enough said.
Trivia source: A new book on the history of world cup cricket
CNNGo scored some excerpts prior to the release of "The History of World Cup Cricket" by James Alter, just so you can show off. Silly points? Not.
1979: Viv Richards is the only person to have played World Cup football and World Cup cricket, having represented Antigua in qualifying matches for the 1974 finals.
1983: In 1983, a fielding circle was introduced, 30 yards away from the stumps. Four fieldsmen needed to be inside it.
1987: Courtney Walsh’s decision not to run out the last Pakistani batsman Salim Jaffer, who had completely backed out of his crease at the non-strikers end, potentially cost West Indies the World Cup that year.
1992: White balls and colored kits were not used until 1992. Prior to this, teams had dressed in white and used red balls.
1996: Ricky Ponting became the youngest World Cup centurion (21 years and 76 days) against West Indies at Jaipur.
CrickeTech: Podcasts, online gaming and live mobile streaming
Listen to cool World Cup podcasts featuring quick bites from players; play the new Fantasy Cricket League online by Zapak; Vodafone subscribers can watch live streaming of the match coverage; Google users are invited to mark all important points around match venues using Google Map Maker.
Jersey shore: Personalized Team India jersey
How about a blue Team India jersey with your name and favorite number on it?
Myntra and Nike team up to bring you customized jerseys that you can order online, preview your personalized details and have delivered to your doorstep, for Rs 895.
Place your bets: Bookies say India
International Cricket Council chief Haroon Lorgat has suggested legalizing sports betting in India in order to curb corruption in the game of cricket. FYI: Bookmakers hold India clear favorites to win this World Cup as they believe this is the best Indian side ever, and are too difficult a team to beat at home.