29 July, 2021

Lights, Camera...

A look at action surrounding the 1979 World Cup

Lights, Camera...

IT was in May '77, bang in the middle of the span between the first two World Cups, that the radical concept of World Series Cricket (WSC) was born—the brainchild of 40-year-old Australian TV tycoon, Kerry Francis Bullmore Packer. The massive commercial takeover bid by Packer's Channel 9 was an audacious, some say subversive, assault on the mainstream. It was destined to be a raging success, much like a forest fire, and the reasons lay in the bone-dry economics of establishment cricket.

By Prudential '79, Clive Lloyd's West Indies was cricket's superpower. They were supreme, natural-born artists of the game who showed no signs of being "handicapped on the field by the hours they kept off it". They reclaimed the crown, in a style more ruthlessly dominant than in '75. For all that, they got but £10,000 (then Rs 180,000)! Actually, in grudging deference to the Packer effect—visible in a new 'player power'—Prudential Assurance had raised the total prize money by two-and-a-half times. But this was still niggardly. Lloyd, as man of the match in the '75 final, had...

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