The Cricket World Cup is one among the biggest tournaments of the world, like the Olympics and the Football World Cup. With its amazing quality of keeping the viewers glued to the match with the most unexpected turns and results, cricket today is the most popular and most watched sport after football and tennis. The ICC world cup, held every four years, is the premier international championship of men’s One Day International Cricket.
History of One Day International (ODI) Cricket-
The first ever international cricket match was played between Canada and the US in September 1844. The first multilateral competition of test cricket at international level, known as the Triangular Tournament, was played in England between England, Australia and South Africa, in the year 1912. England, Australia and South Africa were the only three test playing nations at that time. They were joined by the team of West Indies in 1928, New Zealand in 1930, India in 1932 and Pakistan in 1952.
Cricket was an interesting sport, but gradually the test format of the game was loosing its sheen not only due to the long period of five days involved, but also because most of the matches finished with a draw, disappointing the viewers. Besides, the cricket industry was also facing shortage of capital, income and the skilled labor required for the game. It was turning into a non-profitable business. This led to the invention of the shorter version of the game which finished in one day.
The England Country County cricket teams began playing the shorter version of cricket in the early 1960s. The first one day international match too has an interesting story. It so happened that the five day test match between England and Australia, held in Melbourne in 1971, was ruined due to rain, greatly disappointing the spectators. To fill in the time available on the fifth day and to compensate for the frustrated crowd, a one day match was played between the two teams of England and Australia. It was a 40 over match with 8 balls per over.
The diminishing popularity of the test format and shortage of funds, the increasing popularity of the one-day matches
in England and all other cricket loving nations and the craze of the Football World Cup, inspired the International Cricket Council (ICC) to organize a Cricket World Cup.
The first world cup was held in 1975 in England. England was the only country at that time which had the required resources to host an event of such magnitude. The ICC World Cup was initially known as the Prudential Cup because it was sponsored by the insurance giant Prudential plc in England. When it was held in India and Pakistan in the year 1987, it was called the Reliance World Cup, as the event was sponsored by Reliance group.
Indian sub-continent as host-
The historical World Cup victory of India on 25th June, 1983, under the captaincy of the erstwhile Kapil Dev, heralded the dawn of the immensely profitable industry of cricket in India. Cricket overshadowed every other sport in the country as its popularity soared to crazy heights among Indians, irrespective of age, gender, caste or class. The 1983 World cup win not only changed the face of cricket in India, but this world cup, hosted by England for the third consecutive time, also sowed the seeds for the desire to host the prestigious tournament in the Indian sub-continent.
Mr. NKP Salve, the then BCCI president attending the world cup in England and cheering India through the matches. Inspite of his being a Union minister and also the president of the BCCI, he was refused a few complimentary passes for the final, by the ICCI. This disrespect not only hurt Mr. Salve, but it also gave birth to desire to democratize the ICC and break the dominance of England over all cricket related issues. Along with Mr. Jagmohan Dalmiya and Mr. I. S. Bindra, Salve started efforts to get the priviledge of hosting the world cup in the Indian sub-continent which had the greatest
number of cricket fans in the world. Pakistan fully supported India’s cause. It required quite some efforts by Indiaand Pakistan to convince the ICC to get the World cup in India. Being a significant income generator, England tried to discourage by putting forth causes like- lack of international standard grounds, lack of good hotels for visiting players, lack of enough foreign exchange in India and Pakistan and the shorter days in the Indian sub-continent. The two determined countries played smart with commendable support from their political heads of that time, Mr. Rajiv Gandhi (PM of India) and General Zia-ul-Haq (President of Pakistan). All conditions and moneys were guaranteed, as Reliance won the bid as the chief sponsor of the tournament to be held in India and Pakistan. This paved the way to develop the required infrastructure for the international tournament. India also offered a 50 percent hike in prize money and a more equitable distribution of guarantee money to full and associate members of the ICC.
Regarding the shorter daylight period in the sub-continent, India and Pakistan offered to hold the 60 overs matches spanning in two days. This proposal was rejected and finally the matches were cut short to 50 overs. Ultimately, on July 19, 1984, India and Pakistan won the right to host the 1987 World Cup. The Indian sub-continent is hosting the World Cup for the third time in 2011.
The current trophy was created for the 1999 championship and it was the first permanent prize in the tournament history. Prior to 1999 different trophies were made for each world cup. The current trophy is made of silver and gild. It features a golden globe held up by three silver columns, shaped as stumps and bails. The globe characterizes the cricket ball and the three columns represent the three fundamental aspects of cricket- batting, bowling and fielding. The names of the previous winners are engraved on the base of the trophy, with space for a total of 20 inscriptions.
A quick view of the ICC world Cup-
1975- The inaugural cricket world cup was hosted by England. The matches consisted of 60, six balls overs, with the players wearing cricket whites and using red cricket balls. The 8 teams participating were- England, Australia, India, New Zealand, Pakistan and West Indies. South Africa could not participate because it was at that time banned from international cricket due to apartheid. West Indies won the trophy by defeating Australia in the final match.
1979- The second World Cup was again held in England in 1979. Canadian team too participated in the tournament. West Indies were the winners for the second consecutive time defeating England.
1983- Hosted by England again, Zimbabwe was the new entry this time. India won the cup by defeating West Indies.
1987- Hosted by India and Pakistan, the games were reduced to 50 overs per team due to shorter daylight hours in the Indian sub continent compared to England’s summer days. The 1987 World Cup was won by Australia, played against England, by just 7 runs, which remains the closest margin in the World Cup final’s history.
1992- The cup was co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand in 1992. The 1992 tournament introduced the colored clothing for players, white balls and also day/night matches. South African team participated for the first time as theban lifted. The Cup was won by Pakistan by defeating England.
1996- Held in the Indian sub-continent, co-hosted by India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka won the Cup playing against Australia.
1999- Held in England, with some matches played in Scotland, Ireland, Wales and Netherland. Australia won against Pakistan.
2003- The 2003 World Cup was co-hosted by South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya. The number of teams increased from 12 to 14. Australia won the cup playing against India.
2007- The 2007 tournament was held in West Indies, where again the cup went to Australia playing against Sri Lanka.