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02 October 201301:02

Pinnacle event 500 days away

Cricket’s most prestigious event is now just 500 days away, with ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 co-hosts Australia and New Zealand both marking the occasion in style.

Brett Lee poses on Sydney Harbour with the ICC Cricket World Cup trophy and junior cricketers from Mosman cricket club during celebrations to mark 500 days to go until the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup.

New Zealand will host Sri Lanka in the ICC Cricket World Cup opener in Christchurch on February 14, while, later that day, Australia will kick-start its campaign in a blockbuster clash against old rivals England at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).

In New Zealand, international stars Martin Guptill, Kyle Mills and Mitchell McClenaghan joined local kids for a game of beach cricket at Auckland’s idyllic Takapuna Beach.

In Sydney, Australian fast bowling legend Brett Lee helped mark the occasion on the historic Sydney tall ship, Southern Swan, the day before the International Fleet Review begins.

Lee, a key figure in Australia’s ICC Cricket World Cup triumph a decade ago, said he was looking forward to the inspiration provided by one of the world’s biggest sporting events.

“This is a once in a generation opportunity for fans and families to experience the magic of the ICC Cricket World Cup. I’m really looking forward to both Sydney and Australia making the 2015 summer one that inspires young cricketers and provides lasting memories,” he said.

The 2015 event will see 49 matches played across 44 days at 14 venues across the two hosting nations. All 14 teams will need to play in both Australia and New Zealand if they are to claim cricket’s ultimate prize.

With full ticketing details set to be released in November, ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 Chief Executive John Harnden said preparations were on track for the major sporting event.

“Australia and New Zealand have a well-deserved reputation for staging the biggest and best major events which add significant value to the economy, such as the Rugby World Cup in 2011 and the International Fleet Review beginning in Sydney tomorrow,” he said.

“We want as many fans as possible to be a part of this event and with such diverse communities in both countries, we’ll be working hard over the next 500 days to ensure everyone has a team to follow and that they can attend a match to play their part in 2015.”

“We’re confident the ICC Cricket World Cup will attract cricket fans from around the globe and also promote both countries internationally - especially in India and other parts of south Asia,” Mr Harnden said.

The ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 final will be played at the MCG on March 29, following quarter-finals in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Wellington, and semi-finals in Auckland and Sydney.

In just over 100 days, New Zealand will also host the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier across seven venues, from January 13 to February 1 in 2014. A total of 34 matches will be played in the tournament, as ten teams vie for the final two ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 qualifying berths.

To secure access to ticket pre-sales for all ICC Cricket World Cup matches, including finals, register now at www.cricketworldcup.com/register.