It all started in 1975 and not many knew what was going on in England when the entire cricket fraternity joined together to play the first world cup. 38 years down the line, this particular tournament is THE pinnacle of all tournaments, I would say!
Different eras, different mindsets, different conditions yet ONE aim… Conquer the cup!!!
1975 saw the dominance of just one team, which swayed all the other teams coming in its way -it’s the Clive LLoyd lead Windies team. The calm with which he lead his team backed by his team members plus the right attitude that was possessed by the Windies team made his job simple. Play with your Strengths; and that’s what they did! Yes, without any doubt, the Windies team were easily the winners of the inaugural edition of the world cup against the Aussie team lead by Ian Chappel. Team India did disappoint, winning just 2 matches out of the whole series.
The second time- around 1979-the Windies were the clear favourites, going in as the defending champs with almost the same team they had in the previous edition, led by the charismatic Clive Lloyd again. This time, the English team did come as a threat to both the finalists of the previous edition and they did end up reaching the final. Geoff Boycott’s men could not pose a challenge to the Windies team and it was the second time in a row Lloyd won the coveted trophy with Viv Richards being the hero. Interestingly there was no Man of the Series being presented this edition.
Then came the 1983 edition with a hope for things to turnaround for all teams barring the Windies team, who looked to make it 3 in a row -this time with the best team ever. As expected, once again they were on a roll, reaching the final without a hitch. The biggest surprise came from the other finalists though!
Many would have expected teams like Australia, England or even Pakistan to reach the final, but it was the Indian Team that silenced everyone. The man behind this extraordinary performance was the captain Kapil Dev. And ultimately Team India defeated the world champs with some majestic performances. For the very first time, the West Indies lost the World cup and now it had opened doors for other teams as well.
The next edition 4 years later, being hosted by the Asian countries, witnessed some of the best cricketing action and this time Team India was the crowd favourites, given the fact that they are playing at the home conditions. At last, the Aussie era of dominance started its formation. It was Allan Border’s team who started the great Aussie onslaught, and England were once again at the receiving end.
Yet these 3 world cups didn’t offer much delight to the fans, there was some substance missing…May be the pace of the game , the overs which were 60 in the previous 2 editions, the boring uniforms, not exciting enough matches; these things added to the boredom. Then came the change much awaited! Coloured clothing came into existence; floodlights were offered to add more grandeur to the upcoming editions of the cricket World cup. Now the defending champs were the clear favourites, adding their home advantage. Once again, this edition threw up a surprise as the underdogs Pakistan were crowned the champs.
The next edition continued the volley of surprises. No one expected the unheard Lankan team to emerge victorious in the most comprehensive manner.
Predictability was one word which was never to be used when it comes to this tournament. But then the Aussies just ruled the world winning game after game and that too in the most convincing manner, destroying all line-ups. Without any surprise, they won the next 3 editions on the trot without any defeat except for one match against Pak. When there is a huge target to be chased, they had their deadly opening combo. When there was a need to steady the ship, they had The Man-the one man show, Michael Bevan- who stood tall in numerous occasions carrying his bat till the finish line. Such was his temperament, his skill to nudge the ball and find gaps. Man, you are awesome! If the situation demanded to run the batting line-up of the opposition, they had their bowling legends, who on any given day, any kind of wicket would pose a threat. Such was the strength the almighty the Aussie team possessed!!
However, the first team to win the cup on home soil, the team which overcame the toughest battles, the team which prevailed in all the crunch situations in the latest edition -TEAM INDIA, it were… Men in blue, Take a bow!!!