31 July, 2021

The Home Jinx

Amidst the ecstasy of staging the Cup, India and Pakistan had to bear the agony of seeing their hopes wither away

The Home Jinx
AFTER a strip of paper saw the World Cup come to India, it was perhaps inevitable that the subcontinent leave a lasting impression—not just on the players' hearts, but on the whole nature of the extravaganza. In England, the World Cups were played over 60 overs. But as the event, in '99, returns to the country of its origin, it's as a 50-overs affair, as it has been since Reliance '87. That was not all. The fact that it was Lord's rebuff to BCCI president N.K.P. Salve that took the World Cup away from England's exclusive environs and brought it to less elitist shores lent a sharp competitive edge to all comparisons. India and Pakistan—as a matter of honour—raised a phenomenal £200,000 for the Reliance World Cup to become a huge success. This went hand in hand with a general democratisation. Zimbabwe skipper Dave Houghton noted how the Indian organisers would not hear of his team members holding even their own hand baggage! Whereas in England the Zimbabweans had generally been made to fetch and carry.

The more important changes we wrought on the Cup—as all players would...

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