ICC Cricket World Cup coming closer, there is a lot of excitement in all the cricket playing nations. Over the years there are many countries, who are got attracted to this game of bat and ball. Cricket was invented by the British people way back in 17th century. It is considered to be one of the oldest games still being played in the contemporary world. It was then exported to many other countries like India, West Indies, Africa and Australia. The official international cricket was played in 1844. The first test match was played in 1877. Cricket moved out of England in the late 17th century. With this the world was revolutionized with this game and today more than 40 countries across the globe are addicted to cricket.
As cricket evolved it became a more professional game with lot of science being involved in it. More than the game itself, it got tremendous popularity from the spectators. The introduction of the ODI (One Day Internationals) format to the world, the game started reaching new levels of popularity. The limited over edition was a major hit with the cricket fans. This led the way to start of the ICC Cricket World Cup.
All the countries which qualify for the ICC Cricket World Cup play against each other to win the ultimate trophy which terms the winner of the cup as the ‘World Champions’. The first ICC Cricekt World Cup was played in England in 1975. Presently, the 10th edition of the ICC Cricekt World Cup will be played in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in 2011.
The first inaugural ICC Cricekt World Cup was played in 1975 in England. It was a major success, where people from all around the world flew in to witness the spectacular event. England was selected as the host for the inaugural ICC Cricket World Cup as only this country had the resources and infrastructure to host such a mega event. This tournament was also known as Prudential Cup, as the sponsor of the event was Prudential Plc. They have also sponsored the next two World Cups.
Eight teams came into the competition to lift the first ever ICC Cricket World Cup and eventually it was the West Indian brute force which took away the cup. West Indies was a completely different team in those times with its fiery pace attack and a demolishing batting line up. Sir Vivian Richards was the main destroyer in this ICC Cricket World Cup. Many experts comment that he has won the ICC Cricket World Cup for the West Indies single handedly. Clive Lloyd was the first ever captain to lift the ICC Cricket World Cup.
The second ICC Cricket World Cup which was schedule in 1979 was also played in England. For the first time in the cricket history International Cricket Council (ICC) decided to introduce the non-Test playing nations also in this event. This gave pathway for teams like Sri Lanka and Canada to participate in the World Cup. Subsequently they didn’t have much of an impact in the pattern of the ICC Cricket World Cup proceedings as the test playing nations were the ultimate teams to enter the Semi-finals. West Indies yet again defeated the hosts by 92 runs and successfully defended their title. This was when West Indies was termed as ‘The Indomitable’.
The third consecutive time England hosted the ICC Cricket World Cup and little did the world know that history of cricket was going to be changed in this very event. Sri Lanka has entered into the test playing nation and Zimbabwe qualified for the ICC Cricket World Cup. ICC also introduced a new rule of 30-yard circle. The rule was a minimum of four fielders should always be present inside this circle excluding the keeper and the bowler. With this the game became even more challenging for the bowlers as the likes of Vivian Richards and others could take maximum advantage of this rule. Indians who were termed as the underdogs in this ICC Cricket World Cup came up with a surprising performance and denied West Indies a third consecutive ICC Cricket World Cup win. India was the first team to challenge the indomitable and go past them.
For the first time the ICC Cricket World Cup was hosted in India. The ICC Cricket World Cup was named as Reliance Cup after the sponsor of the event. Due to the shorter day-light period, the number of overs per innings was reduced from 60 overs to 50 overs. India and Pakistan were the hosting countries and this ICC Cricket World Cup saw the rise of the Australian power. The Australian captain Allan Border lifted the cup in the Eden Gardens. England yet again lost the finals by 7 runs, losing another opportunity to lift the cup. Bundles of records were broken in this World Cup as contemporary cricket was making its way into the limelight.
The longest gap between two ICC Cricket World Cup events was observed in between the 4th and 5th edition of this mega event. Cricket was making big news all across the globe and it was getting lot of coverage from press and media. Sponsored by Benson and Hedges, the 5th edition was hosted by Australia and New Zealand. For the first time colored uniforms were introduced and day and night matches were also included. The world has seen cricket being played under huge flood lights. The traditional red cherry (red leather ball) was replaced by white leather ball. Swing bowling was comparatively easier as the white leather was known for having more swing. Pakistan came up with a brilliant performance under Imran Khan. The likes of Wasim Akram and Inzamamul Haq were witnessed by the world. Not only these players, the minute aspect of cricket which was fielding revolutionized by Jhonty Rhodes of South Africa. He showed the world that one can win matches by exemplary fielding.
This edition was very important in terms of having fair games being played in rain affected matches. This gave birth to the Duckworth & Lewis method. Apart from the rules, even the format was changed from round robin system to qualifying in groups.
The 6th edition of the ICC Cricket World Cup was brought back to India. This time even Sri Lanka was announced as the co-host. Controversies started even before the tournament began as Australia and West Indies backed out from playing in Sri Lanka due to the bombing of Tamil Tigers. ICC hence decided to declare Sri Lanka as the winners on forfeit. This made Sri Lanka jump directly to the quarter finals. Ultimately they went on to win the ICC Cricket World Cup beating Australia. Arjuna Ranatunga played an inspirational role in leading his team from the front. The rule of having only 2 fielders outside the 30-yard circle in the first 15 overs was in to act and the Sri Lankan openers Sanath Jayasurya and Romesh Kaluwitharana took maximum advantage of it.
After a long break ICC Cricket World Cup was taken back to England where it all started. The trophy was changed and so was the format. A controversial format was introduced by the ICC called as Super Six. There was no quarter final system in this but directly semi-finals and finals. This gave advantage to teams like Zimbabwe to come into the Super Six. Australia regained their long lost title of World Champions. They have showed their domination and won the ICC Cricket World Cup with utmost authority. Though they had little shivers from South Africans (which came closest to competing with Australia) they emerged as the winners of the ICC Cricket World Cup. Steve Waugh played a captains knock in the semi finals against South Africa to take his team into the finals. Pakistan who performed well in throughout the tournament could not survive the onslaught of Australia in the finals.
For the first time in the history of cricket, ICC Cricket World Cup was hosted by South Africa. Zimbabwe and Kenya were the co-hosts. This was considered to be one of the biggest successes of all the ICC Cricket World Cups. Commercially there were many sponsors and also the kind of spectators who came to witness the matches was huge. 14 countries participated in this contest. Australia being the favorites in this ICC Cricket World Cup too saw the obvious. The only threat they saw which was coming was from India who gave a killer performance only losing one match in their league stages. In the finals however, Ricky Ponting and his men counter attacked Indian bowling and posted a mammoth score for them to chase. The Indian’s saw the inevitable and a billion hearts broke when master blaster Sachin Tendulkar fell in the very first over to Glenn McGrath. Australia became the first ever team to win the ICC Cricket World Cup thrice.
The Caribbean flavor was tasted by all the teams in the world as the World Cup was taken to West Indies. The once upon a time indomitable team got the chance of hosting the mega event for the first time. It was rather a disappointment for the world as this edition of the icc cricket world cup was not such a big success as the previous one. The early exit of Pakistan and India has costed the ICC in a huge way in terms of viewership. Also this ICC Cricket World Cup was very controversial, as the coach of Pakistan, Bob Woolmer was found dead in his hotel room just before the team went back in Pakistan. Australia won the ICC Cricket World Cup for the third consecutive time defeating a clueless Sri Lankan team. Adam Gilchrist was the Man of the Match as he scored a more than run a ball century. Ricky Ponting became the only captain other than Clive Lloyd to lift the ICC Cricket World Cup twice.
The latest edition of the ICC Cricket World Cup is going to be played yet again on Indian soil. Pakistan is not a part of the hosting team as it was removed due to security reasons. Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are the co-host of this event. The tournament is going to start from 19th of February. There are as many as 14 teams which are playing in this tournament. The recent slump of Australia as the super powers in cricket has brought the prospects of new World Champions back to life. Indian skipper Mahender Singh Dhoni is considered to be one of the most capable captains to lift the cup this time. Having the home crowd behind their backs and the momentum of winning streaks on their side, India seems to be the favorite for this ICC Cricket World Cup. South Africa and England also look to be on a high with some tremendous performances in the recent past.
The days are being counted and the clock already started ticking. This is the cup which every country dreams of having in its showcase. Every ardent cricket fan is waiting for the umpire’s signal. There is only one phrase which they want to hear “LET THE PLAY BEGIN!!!”