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ICC Cricket World Cup 2023: Captains' Day Sees Skippers Assemble Under One Roof Before Big Day

The stage was set for all the 10 captains as they gathered at the world's largest cricket stadium in Ahmedabad on the eve of the biggest Cricket World Cup ever.

Captains of countries participating in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 Captains' Day
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The ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 kick-starts on October 5 with New Zealand taking on England at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on October 5, 2023. At the ICC's Captain’s Day event, leaders of all 10 teams sat together for a chat ahead of the 48-game tournament to be played across 10 venues over the next 45 days, touching upon points such as pressure of expectations, their strengths and what they have learnt from the past editions. (Full Coverage |  Schedule | Cricket News | ENG vs NZ Preview)

Speaking ahead of the England versus New Zealand fixture, English skipper Jos Buttler was excited ahead of the tournament opener. "I don't see us as defending champions. We're very much in the same boat now as everybody sat here on the eve of the tournament trying to win it," said England skipper Buttler. "We feel ready. We're very excited. We all know India is such a fantastic place to play cricket and we're really excited about the tournament starting tomorrow," he added.

Buttler added, "The team’s been mainly together for a long time since 2015, since the start of that sort of revolution that you mentioned, and I think you said right through the game. Now in England, young players coming through play a certain way and are determined to carry on the style, and I think we know it gives us the best chance of success."

"We will get it wrong at times, but we’ve made peace with that, and it’s something we want to continue to strive to do, to keep pushing the boundaries. Other teams will push you and move it on further, so we always want to try and be at the head of that curve as well."

Kane Williamson, who alongside Tim Southee, are on the injury list, was excited about the challenges that lie for New Zealand in the tournament. He said, "As you mentioned, you come to another event, and everybody certainly starts from the same position and starts again, and you go from tournament to tournament, teams change, opposition conditions. For us, it's focusing on the style of cricket that we want to keep committing to, and that gives us the best chance of putting on our best performance. 

"It's been nice to have some enjoyable times and certainly full of different challenges over a number of tournaments that we have been involved in, but we're really excited about the challenges that lie ahead for this one. And the difference is that it will bring, compared to other tournaments, a great occasion here in India. Sports is just loved by so many, and it's going to be so well supported as well. So, we're just looking forward to getting involved."

Australia's Pat Cummins hoped that his side would be able to replicate performances of the champion teams from the past.

"Yeah, I can't take too much credit for many (tournament wins) of them. There's a couple of the boys that were there in 2015, which obviously gives us confidence,” he replied when asked about Australia’s successful record in World Cup history.

"We had a really strong year in the early 2000s. I think one-day cricket is a format that's really suited Australian teams of the past," he said. "The teams led by Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting had all bases covered. Not only taking the game on with the batting and having some good quick bowlers, but even in the field, that early kind of 2000s era, I grew up watching. Yeah, they were amazing, really athletic. So hopefully we can carry it on. It's a pretty good history we've had in World Cups. So hopefully another one," Cummins added.

On the other hand, South Africa's Temba Bavuma said the experience of playing in the IPL is relevant to all countries.

"I think that's something that's relevant to all the teams. A lot of the teams have guys who play in India, who've done well in India. So, I wouldn't really say it's an advantage for (just) us," he said. "(What) we can do is the guys who have that experience and knowledge, they can share it amongst the team or use it in terms of, you know, our strategies, our plans. But I wouldn't really say it's an advantage unique to us as a team," he said.

Sri Lanka skipper Dasun Shanaka said his players are motivated to make a statement.

"It's exciting times for us. We have been struggling a lot in the recent past with injuries but at the same time we have a good record," he said. "You know, as a group, we are looking forward to the World Cup and everyone wants to make a statement that we are there to perform well in this tournament," Shanaka said.

Afghanistan skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi said his team is strong in the spin department. "Our main strength is in the spin department, but I believe we have worked very hard over the last couple of years," he said.

Bangladesh's Shakib Al Hasan cited his team's strong performance in the points system. “We prepared well. If we talk about the last four years since the 2019 World Cup, we are probably the third or fourth team in the qualifiers point system. So, we have done really well as a group,” he said.

"Now it's time for us to put on a good show in this World Cup and I think our team is ready and also the country is expecting a little more than what we did previously," Shakib added.

The Netherlands’ Scott Edwards said his boys were motivated to bring their good performance from the Qualifiers into the main tournament.

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"It's obviously a pretty tricky tournament, the Qualifiers especially, so really proud of how the boys went about that. We take a lot of confidence in the way we played there and, you know, hopefully bring that into this tournament," Edwards said.
(With Inputs from PTI and ICC)

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