Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth II joins the captains of the teams taking part in the ICC Cricket World Cup for a photograph in the 1844 Room at Buckingham Palace in London yesterday, ahead of the competition’s Opening Party on the Mall. Image Credit: AP

London: The Cricket World Cup captains had a royal engagement when they met Queen Elizabeth on Wednesday before they enthralled the fans outside Buckingham Palace.

The Queen and her sports-mad grandson Prince Harry interacted with the skippers who will be contesting in the 48 games that started at the Oval on Thursday afternoon.

All the captains looked brilliant in their smart blazers, specially designed for the occasion.

They paraded in front of applauding fans, proudly holding their flags. Traffic in those areas came to standstill as the superstars made their way through the streets.

A game of street cricket with legends of the game which included Sir Viv Richards, Anil Kumble and Brett Lee and Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai and Olympic gold medallist Yohan Blake made the occasion even more special and reminded one and all that many cricketers began their journey from street cricket, especially in the subcontinent.

Rudimental and Loryn performed the official song ‘Stand By’. Speaking to the fans, former Australia skipper Michael Clarke said: “Some of the greatest memories of my career were playing in this competition so to have been able to held this trophy up as captain in 2015 was very special.”

When Clarke added that “England are in great form and their preparation has been outstanding so they are obviously the favourites”, he received a rapturous ovation from the onlooking home contingent of fans.

Indian skipper Virat Kohli was the most sought-after celebrity as fans tried to push their way through to get selfies with him. Pakistan’s famous supporter Sufi Abdul Jalil — known as Chacha Cricket — was among the fans, happily chatting to anyone and everyone in the crowd.