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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Carnival Opening Ceremony Awaits Troubled Tournament

NEW DELHI -- Ten thousand policemen, sniffer dogs and bomb detectors are being used to guard cricket's top players and officials at the World Cup opening ceremony in Calcutta's Eden Gardens ground on Sunday.


The game's most prestigious limited-overs tournament is waiting for a carnival start in front of 100,000 fans as organizers and world cricket chiefs try to resolve a crisis that threatens the credibility of the showpiece.


Australia's and West Indies' refusal to play their matches in Sri Lanka because of security fears, following last week's fatal bomb blast, has rocked the 12-team event starting next Wednesday.


Organizers, banking on millions of cricket fans and television viewers to produce a revenue of $100 million, were beginning talks with International Cricket Council chiefs on Friday to find a way out of the impasse.


Former Miss Universe Sushmita Sen, one of young India's hottest idols, will be spotlighted during the 75-minute long opening ceremony, organized by Italian event management firm Half Moon.


Sushmita will be wrapped in the 12 teams' flags which she will undrape from herself and present to the team captains, sparking a local controversy with political groups objecting to the display.


India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Australia, England, New Zealand, West Indies, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya, the Netherlands and the United Arab Emirates compete for the Cup which has 37 scheduled matches in 26 venues from Feb. 14 to March 17.