Cricket frenzy has reached fever pitch as the World Cup juggernaut got rolling with a grand opening ceremony in Australia yesterday. The stage is now set for a battle royale, and over a billion hopes are pinned on the Men in Blue — India kickstart their title defence with a match against arch-rivals Pakistan on Sunday. With just a day to go for the biggest cricketing event, hitlist spoke to a few actors on how they are gearing up to catch all the action live...
Sushant Singh Rajput, who is gearing up to play Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni in a biopic, plans to watch India's World Cup matches at home in the company of friends
Sushant Singh Rajput, actor
"I have planned a get-together for my friends at my place on all match days so that we can cheer for our team together. Apart from India, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand are the clear favourites. AB De Villiers would be a delight to watch. Great teams raise their playing standards according to the stage and it cant get bigger than this, so I am sure we will play really well."
Surveen Chawla, actress
"I will be screening all the matches at home on my wall projector screen and invite 25 close friends. We are all excited. New Zealand is my favourite team apart from India as they are dark horses and are playing really well. I think India's current form will improve as the pressure builds up, especially on the day of the India-Pakistan match. I am expecting the team to rise up to the occasion under pressure."
Raveena Tandon, actress
"India vs Pakistan is the most interesting match in any world tournament and entertainment at its best. I have a lot of expectations from Team India in this particular game. I will be watching it at home with family. I will definitely root for India but Australia is also one of my favourite teams and capable of winning the Cup. But I am hoping India defend the World Cup title. Three cheers for India!"
Gauahar Khan, actress
"I am looking forward to all the matches. I am in Ahmedabad for some professional commitments and will be back in the city on March 15. Apart from the India-Pakistan game, I want the Men in Blue to score a victory in each of their matches and win the World Cup again. I am really looking forward to Glenn Maxwell's performance; he is doing some great bowling. I am not sure if I will be able to catch any match live from the stands."
Dia Mirza, actress
"My plans are to wake up early, catch all the excitement of the pre-game coverage, whip up an elaborate breakfast, put on my India jersey, kick back and watch the game. Apart from India, I think Australia are a formidable team. But New Zealand are the dark horses in this tournament and look like they can go all the way. There are too many players across different teams who are extremely special and could win games single-handedly on their day. But from India's point of view, Rohit Sharma at the top will be vital along with Virat Kohli at one down and Suresh Raina as a finisher. I love the World Cup fever and will watch as many games as I can live on my TV set. The team has been away for almost three months and a hectic schedule has clearly taken a bit of a toll. But, the World Cup is a different scenario altogether. Form is always temporary while class is permanent. This team has a lot of class, so I am keeping my fingers crossed."
Varun Dhawan, actor
"My film, 'Badlapur', is releasing on February 20, so I will be busy with the promotions. But, no matter wherever I am, I will definitely watch the India-Pakistan tie along with dad (filmmaker David Dhawan). I hope India finds form soon and the bowlers start swinging the ball. Glenn Maxwell is the player to watch out for."
Pulkit Samrat, actor
"I am going to be ready with my waffles and pancakes and have my blue jersey on — my do-not-disturb mode for the matches. Besides India, my other favourite team is South Africa. AB de Villiers, Glenn Maxwell and our captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni are the players to look forward to. I feel we have the players who can turn it on at world competitive events. Like they say: form is temporary, class is permanent. Let's see if I can squeeze it in between my shoot schedule and watch a live game in Australia."
Rahul Bhat, actor
"The India-Pakistan match is more of a psychological battle; we have always beaten them in every World Cup and I believe this time it will be no different. Although I will be shooting that day for Aur Devdas, I will make sure that I follow the match closely. It would be amazing if India wins back-to-back World Cups. They have a good chance as they would have already played a lot of cricket in that side of the world. Apart from India, it's always been the Australians who are deadly and seem always so ready. I will make sure that I follow all the games that India play through the knockout stages."
Hiten Tejwani, actor
"I have plans to watch the World Cup with friends and family. India, of course, tops my list of favourite teams followed by South Africa. Rohit Sharma and Dale Steyn are definitely players to reckon with in the tournament. As far as India's form is concerned, I feel the team will get better as the tournament progresses."
Inputs from Gaurav Dubey