While cricket barely registers on the sports landscape of North America, the sport is arguably second only to soccer in popularity in many parts of the world, notably in the United Kingdom and its former colonies, including those in the Indian subcontinent, Australia, parts of Africa, and the Caribbean. In fact, the nations of the West Indies have long been considered a powerhouse, having played in top-level Test matches since before World War II.
Hosting the 2007 Cricket World Cup is a matter of huge prestige for the nations of the West Indies. It's also expected to be an economic boon, with more than 100,000 visitors expected for the tournament and another 2.2 billion watching the matches on TV.
If you're a cricket fan, you can use this guide to find information on where the matches are being held, where to stay on the host islands, and more. If you're not a fan yet, here's where you can find out more information about the game.
- Warmup Matches: March 5-9
- Opening Ceremony: March 11
- Group Play: March 13-28
- Super Eight: March 27-April 21
- Semifinals: April 24-25
- Finals: April 28.
Host Nations (click through for more information on destinations, lodging, attractions, etc.):Beausejour Stadium in St. Lucia and Trelawny Park at Greenfields, Jamaica.
Final will be held in Bridgetown, Barbados.
Nations participating: West Indies, Kenya, India, Netherlands, England, Bermuda, Australia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Pakistan, Ireland, Canada, Sri Lanka, Scotland, New Zealand, Bangladesh.
Tickets: Starting at $10 for warmup matches; up to $300 for finals. Order online at the ICC Cricket world Cup 2007 official site.
Getting there: All host islands enjoy substantial air service from the U.S. and Europe. CARICOM, a regional political alliance whose members include the Cricket World Cup, has established a special program whereby visitors need only apply for a single visa to travel between matches in different host nations. The visa costs $100 and is required for visitors from all nations except for citizens of Canada, Germany, Ireland, France, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, South Africa, Spain, United States, and the United Kingdom. The visa fee is waived for children under age 12. For information and a visa application, see the CARICOM website.
More Advice: Make your travel plans as soon as possible if you want to see the Cricket World Cup. Hotel rooms may fill up quickly if the event draws as many visitors as expected, especially on some of the smaller islands. If you're planning a Caribbean vacation but not intending to see the Cricket World Cup, you may want to avoid travel to the tournament host nations in March and April or risk competing for rooms, restaurant reservations and other amenities with hordes of cricket fanatics.