Legendary Sir Garfield honoured by World Cup role
Guyana Chronicle
March 3, 2007

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KINGSTON, Jamaica (CMC) – Sir Garfield Sobers says he feels privileged to play the major role in the opening ceremony of Cricket World Cup later this month.

Speaking after he was chosen on Thursday to raise the curtain on the tournament, Sir Garry said he was excited about the affair.

“It is a great honour to declare the Cricket World Cup open. I’m taking it in stride and I’m looking forward to the occasion,” he said, speaking from his home in Barbados.

The 70-year-old Sir Garry, Barbados’ only living National Hero, accepted an invitation from CWC 2007 Inc. to raise the curtain on the March 11 to April 28 tournament.

The former West Indies captain is the greatest cricketer to have played the game, with 8 032 runs, 26 centuries, 235 wickets and 109 catches in 93 Tests.

Sir Garry said the Cricket World Cup would be a great experience for Caribbean people.

“It will be phenomenal for the Caribbean, especially for those persons who haven’t had the opportunity to see a Cricket World Cup. It will be a fantastic experience,” he noted

Sir Garry was nominated for the role by Jamaica’s government, along with the country’s Local Organising Committee, who has lead responsibility for the organisation of the opening ceremony.

The nomination was readily accepted by CWC 2007 Inc.

“They were of the view that this signal honour is befitting of the greatest cricketer the world has ever seen and it was eagerly endorsed by the CWC Board and all of the other LOCs,” Chris Dehring, the managing director and CEO of CWC 2007 Inc., said.

“It is a privilege and honour for us to have one of the pillars of West Indies cricket, who is revered the world over, declare this momentous event open in front of all of the Caribbean and a global television audience.

“It is because of legends like Sir Garry that we today have the opportunity to host this event.”

Jamaica LOC’s chief executive, Robert Bryan, echoed Dehring’s sentiments, noting that Sir Garry embodied everything cricket meant to the Caribbean.

“Quite simply, he is the best of the best and, in keeping with CWC’s theme of hosting the ‘Best Cricket World Cup Ever’, his was an automatic and unanimous selection,” said Bryan.

Stephen Alleyne, CEO of the Barbados LOC, also endorsed the move.

“I think the entire Caribbean, in fact the entire world, would agree that the most appropriate person to open the Caribbean’s greatest endeavour would be the Caribbean’s – and in fact the world’s – greatest ever cricketer,” Alleyne said.

The opening ceremony takes place at the Greenfield Multi-Purpose Complex in Trelawny, north-western Jamaica on March 11.