04 December, 2020

From A Peculiar Start, To The Arena Of Champions

From A Peculiar Start, To The Arena Of Champions

Much as I revere Test cricket, I have to confess that the World Cup does something to me. It has the high-power competition plus the defin-itive title of World Champions, which the random nature of Test cricket precludes. I am one of probably only a dozen or so people who have seen all the Cup finals to date. Who will hold the Wills World Cup on the evening of March 17, 1996, in Lahore is anyone’s guess, but I bet his grin will be as wide as those seen on the five previous occasions.

When the first Cup was arranged by the International Cricket Conference (ICC) in England in ’75, not all were confident it would capture public imagination. But it did. Anxiety was allayed when a sponsor, Prudential Assurance, was signed (for £100,000), and the 15 matches were well-supported, with gate-takings alone amounting to over £200,000. Thoughts immediately turned to a repeat show. India wanted to stage it, but England, with its long summer evenings and compact distribution of grounds, won enough support to stage the next two Cups before it moved out.




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