Following the phenomenal success of Football Fridays, Magnificent Fridays are here as another World Cup dawns!

This time around, all eyes are on the cricket pitch and if youâ??re not a cricket fan (yet) Iâ??ll give you a few good (looking) reasons to watch.

South African spirit

The 2011 ICC World Cup begins on 19 February 2011 and South Africans are urged to get behind the boys in green and gold in the true spirit of sportsmanship. With only a few days to go before the World Cup begins, excitement is mounting.

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With Magnificent Fridays and messages of support streaming in from South African celebrities and the general public alike, the Proteas will not be short of support, albeit from another continent! Even Madiba joined in to send the boys a few words of encouragement.

The background info

The 10th ICC World Cup will be jointly hosted by India, Sri Lanka, and for the first time, Bangladesh. With co-host India being a tournament favourite, itâ??s set to be an interesting World Cup indeed.

The teams contending for the Cup are Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, England, India, Ireland, Kenya, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, the Netherlands, the West Indies and Zimbabwe.

The dark horses of this World Cup are Pakistan and New Zealand, but we will just have to wait and how it all unfolds.

Cricket lovers take note

Unlike the previous three World Cups, in which Australia was the dominant force, always entering the competition as the favourite, this World Cup appears more open with several strong contenders vying for glory.

There are many teams which can spring a surprise and which are capable of lifting the trophy this time around.

There might be situations in which a good team could have an off day, so teams are under pressure to perform well in every game. It will be crucial for the teams to maintain the intensity and bring out their best. It will probably be a case of whichever team is mentally stronger than their opponents on the day, that will decide the outcome.

Hotshots of the game

While cricket fans will be glued to the screens without missing a second of the action, many viewers will have an entirely different set of criteria for determining who the players to watch are, following not only because of how good they are at the sport they play, but also because of their looks.

Players to watch in this respect are: Mitchell Johnson (Australia), Zahir Khan (India), Dwayne Bravo (West Indies), Tim Southee (New Zealand), Brett Lee (Australia), Kumar Sangakkara (Sri Lanka) and our very own JP Duminy.

The Proteas have embarked on an Indian odyssey in quest of the World Cup title, which has evaded them many times before.

Often labelled as â??chokersâ??, the South African team has yet to show their best on the world stage; if they do pull it off, a win could see Graeme Smith ending his reign as captain on a high and the South African public having one more reason to celebrate!

Image: informme.co.za