World Cup : An Introduction
The first Cricket World Cup was held in England in 1975. All the six Test playing countries and two associate members – East Africa and Sri Lanka contested for the honour. The tournament was held on the league cum knock out basis with 60-over a side competition. West Indies earned the honour of becoming the first world champion. India who was drawn in Group A along with England, New Zealand and East Africa could manage just one win and made her exit in the league round. This tournament was sponsored by the Prudential Assurance Company.
The next two World Cups were also held in England in 1979 and 1983 respectively. The 1983 World Cup has an unique place in the Indian sporting history as underdogs Indians shattered all the calculations, observations and forecasts by reaching the pinnacle of the world cricket. Under the astute leadership of Kapil Dev, Indian players displayed tremendous commitment, skill and temperament to bring glory to the nation. India started her campaign on grand note defeating defending champion West Indies in her opening match. In the final, India again outplayed the West Indians and annexed of the Prudential Trophy. It is the only World Cup title India has so far won.
India and Pakistan jointly hosted the World Cup in 1987-88 but India failed to capitalize on the occasion as she bowed out to England in the semifinal. So did Pakistan. Australia won the Trophy defeating England in the final. The World Cup was sponsored by Reliance Industries.
India reached the finals in the 2003 World Cup held in South Africa for the second time, but the winning glory eluded her this time. India went down to Australia in the final.
Australia has emerged as a most successful nation in the WC. The Kangaroos have won the WC on four occasions so far and ended up runners up twice. West Indies and India have emerged winners twice while Pakistan and Sri Lanka have won the trophy once. England has been the most unlucky nation in the WC as they have made it to finals thrice but never ended up on the winning side. New Zealand is the other team which has been a consistent performer but luck has never smiled on them. The Kiwis have made it to the last four stage on six occasions out of 9, but every time their challenge ended up there.
|… by Arun Arnaw Khare|