India [ Images ] will take on defending champions Australia [ Images ] and New Zealand [ Images ] in Bangalore and Chennai respectively in the warm-up matches of the Cricket World Cup, International Cricket Council [ Images ] said.
With just six months to go before the first ball of the 2011 Cricket World Cup is bowled, the ICC [ Images ] on Thursday announced the schedule of warm-up matches.
The 14 warm-up matches will be played across Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka [ Images ] from February 12-18 with Bangalore, Chennai, Chittagong, Colombo, Dhaka, Nagpur and Pallekele (Sri Lanka) acting as host cities.
The warm-up matches, with each of the 14 competing sides playing two ties, will kick off with New Zealand taking on Ireland in Nagpur on February 12.
However, none of these matches will carry official ODI status, the ICC said. ICC President Sharad Pawar [ Images ] hoped the mega-event will turn out to be the most successful one.
"The start of ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 is exactly six months away. Let there be no doubt whatsoever that the ICC, along with the three co-hosts, will ensure that the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 is the best of all the World Cups staged so far," Pawar said.
India play four-time and reigning world champions Australia on February 13 in Bangalore, before facing New Zealand in Chennai on February 16.
Muttiah Muralitharan [ Images ], Sri Lanka's legendary off-spinner, who played an important role during his team's 1996 triumph, hoped his country will win the World Cup next year.
"I'm hoping victory in next year's World Cup will not only strengthen our future as a cricketing nation but will also help us produce more world-class cricketers who will go on to entertain the world with their flare, talent, charisma and prowess," he said.
Schedule of Warm-up matches:
Feb 12: New Zealand v Ireland (Nagpur), Zimbabwe v South Africa [ Images ] (Chennai), West Indies [ Images ] v Kenya (Colombo), Sri Lanka v the Netherlands (Pallekele), Bangladesh v Canada [ Images ] (Chittagong)
Feb 13: India v Australia (Bangalore)
Feb 15: Australia v South Africa (Bangalore), Ireland v Zimbabwe (Nagpur), Kenya v the Netherlands (Pallekele), Bangladesh v Pakistan (Dhaka)
Feb 16: India v New Zealand (Chennai), Sri Lanka v West Indies (Colombo), England [ Images ] v Canada (Dhaka)
Feb 18: England v Pakistan (Dhaka).