Travel

Squeezing that Euro trip between the Cricket World Cup 2019

The 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup Trophy

The 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup Trophy  

Fans with bags, packed and faces painted in team colours, rally behind Team India, 7,000 kilometres from home in the UK for the 12th edition of the Cricket World Cup

The Oval in London will take on South Africa in the first match of the 2019 Cricket World Cup. After two decades, the tournament returns to the sport’s place of origin, the United Kingdom, where, over centuries, emperors and lords, ironsmiths and doctors, men and women, young and old have played the game in its different forms, in a diverse range of costumes — from Nankeen breeches to polyester-cotton jerseys — across the region.

 

Tens of thousands of fans, especially from India (the British High Commission estimates around 80,000 of them), are making their way to England and Wales to witness cricket’s biggest tournament in its birthplace. “We don’t have a global estimate for how many people in total will travel, but it is extremely likely that Indians will be the highest number [in the world] — given the size of the market, passion for the sport in India, and the great flight connections between India and the UK,” says the spokesperson for the British High Commission.

Third World Cup in a row

Chandra Gopalan, 60, an ultramarathoner and the director of Contours chain of gyms in Bengaluru, started planning for the World Cup last July. The 2019 edition will be her third World Cup in a row. In 2011, she watched from Wankhede Stadium, as Mahendra Singh Dhoni hoisted Nuwan Kulasekara for a six to fetch India its second World Cup. In 2015, she flew to Australia to see the hosts win their fifth global title. She’s excited about watching the World Cup live for the third time, this time in England.

Lords Cricket Ground in London

Lords Cricket Ground in London   | Photo Credit: GLYN KIRK

“I love being at the stadium. That atmosphere can be experienced only if you are there. It’s electric, everyone’s gung-ho, supporting their teams. And, I am talking about a regular match. So, it’s going to be much bigger for the World Cup,” she says.

According to Shreya Tobias, a UK resident, there is a great demand for tickets. "Acquiring tickets is so difficult. Even with multiple sale dates I only could only attain tickets through a family friend,"she says.

With matches being played in Southampton, London, Manchester, Cardiff, Leeds among other places, the British High Commission says, Indian visitors can explore several tourist attractions and activities in addition to cricket.

According to Rajeev Kale, president & country head – Holidays, MICE, Visa & Passport Services, Thomas Cook India, people attending the World Cup are also “extending travel to locales like the Lake District, Manchester, Birmingham, London, Windermere, Liverpool, Windsor, Cambridge, and York, among others.”

The London Eye

The London Eye  

Lake District, England’s largest national park, is known for its lakes, mountains and forests. Here lived some of the most famous Romantic-era poets like William Wordsworth, Samuel Coleridge and Robert Southey. National Football Museum in Manchester, London Eye, several The Beatles-related joints in Liverpool (considered the band’s birthplace) are among the must-visit destinations.

Centre Court at the All England Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London

Centre Court at the All England Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London  

Race and rallies
  • Sports fans from India headed for the World Cup have the chance to check more things on their bucket lists. Apart from visiting famous sporting venues, they can also catch iconic events live.
  • The 2019 Wimbledon Championships, for instance, will be held from July 1 to 14. The Cricket World Cup, which will be held from May 30 to July 14, will have a two-day break (on July 7 and 8). So, the fortunate few, who get tickets for Wimbledon, will get to watch the best of the tennis players, wearing traditional whites, rallying on the manicured lawns of the All England Club.
  • British Grand Prix, unfortunately, coincides with the World Cup final. But those who do not have tickets for the final, can head to the Silverstone Circuit, which straddles the Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire border, to watch the 10th race in the 2019 Formula One calendar.

“With an overwhelming influx of travellers visiting Britain for the World Cup, along with the upcoming Wimbledon tennis tournament [from July 1 to 14] and F1 Grand Prix [at Silverstone Circuit on July 14], these destinations are gaining prominence among Indian travellers, and are reputed for both their hospitality and the brag-worthy value they offer,” he adds. Planning all the stops in advance might be difficult, which is why, Daniel D’Souza, president & country head – Leisure (Holidays) of SOTC Travel, says, “Our ‘On-The-Go’ travel offering will let customers make last-minute additions to the trip so they can enjoy the World Cup along with many local attractions.”

Great demand

The British High Commission says more than 3,500 Indians have been applying for a UK visa every day in the lead up to the World Cup. According to its spokesperson, due to the tournament, this number is greater than the usual seasonal increase of applications. “Our visa services partner (VFS Global) processed over 2,00,000 visa applications in India [for UK] during January to April 2019,” the spokesperson adds.

 

Thomas Cook too reports a significant spike in their customers’ demand for UK travel. “Cricket has always been a significantly powerful driver across our travel businesses,” says Rajeev. “This year, for the World Cup between May 30 and July 14, we have witnessed a particularly strong growth with an impressive 36% increase in demand, in comparison to the previous year.”

Tickets and travel
  • Three official travel agents — Bharat Army Travel, Leisure Corp and Fanatic Sports — appointed by the International Cricket Council (ICC) offer World Cup special packages that cover match tickets, accommodation, food and commute. According to ICC, 80,000 tickets will cost £20 or less and 2,00,000 will cost £50 or less. But fans might have to spend over £100 to watch the high-profile games. The India-Pakistan match, arguably the most anticipated one in the group stage, has already been sold out, according to a few reports.
  • For more information, visit icctravelandtours.com

India’s travelling fan club The Bharat Army, which is celebrating its 20-year anniversary, has planned to gather around 8,000 supporters from around the globe to create a special atmosphere for the team. “Expect 5,000 to 6,000 Bharat Army members at each of India’s matches. It’s our largest presence till date,” mentioned Rakesh Patel, one of the founders of the club, on cricketworldcup.com, the official website for the championship.

The Victorian-era Pavilion at Lords Cricket Ground which is also referred as the home of cricket in London, England.

The Victorian-era Pavilion at Lords Cricket Ground which is also referred as the home of cricket in London, England.  

These figures suggest that the Indian team, led by Virat Kohli, will feel at home despite playing 7,000 kilometres away, trying to be world champions for the third time.

another colour code
  • In the first four World Cups, players wore whites and red balls were used instead of the white ones.

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Printable version | Feb 28, 2020 7:57:14 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/travel/squeezing-that-euro-trip-between-the-cricket-world-cup-2019/article27284205.ece

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