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Thursday, February 3, 2011

ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 - 25th June 1983 was India's hour of glory - What was 7/6/1975 ?????

It is 16 days to go for the 43 day long ICC Cricket World Cup which will be inaugurated at Dhaka on 19th Feb 2011.  The hosts take on India in the inaugural match. 

On the formats for the World Cup,  the 1975 version had 8 teams and a total of 15 matches played in 14 days.   The next version in 1979 was the same.   In 1983, there wre two groups of four and in each group, the teams played each other twice – 2 teams each qualified for semis.  The 1987 WC held India was the first time for 50 overs aside, the earlier ones being 60 overs a side.   In 1992, there were only nine teams.  There was no grouping and  all teams played each other.  There was the famous rain rule where SA lost.  In 2003 there were 14 teams, super six with teams carrying forward the point of the earlier round held over 43 days.  In the last cup which was criticised for its length, there were 16 teams split into four groups – two teams qualifying for super eight.  India and Pakistan failed to reach the second stage.

This Tourney is scheduled to have  a lengthy beginning and sudden shrinking end.  There are 14 teams in two groups and there would be 49 matches in all.  Of these – 42 would be preliminary where the teams play against all the other teams in their Group.  4 teams from each group will qualify for the Quarter Finals.

Group A has Australia, Pakistan, Srilanka, Newzealand, Zimbabwe, Canada, Kenya and  Group B has India, South Africa, England, West Indies, Bangladesh, Netherlands, Ireland.  The top 4 teams of each group are expected to have a smooth sailing and then there will be a knock out at QF which would mean that entry into last 8 is almost guaranteed and 3 wins from there for a Team would enough to lay hands on the coveted WC.  Thus theoretically, only 7 matches (QF 4; SF 2 & F) are of significance.

The game of cricket has undergone innumerable changes and some youngsters would find it hard to believe that once upon a time it was 8 balls per over in Australia and Kiwiland.  The game has evolved and changed with times.  A t a time when the popularity was slightly weaning, an accidental discovery gave it the  charmed continuance.  During 1971 when the first three days of the Melbourne Test between Aussie and England was washed out, officials decided to abandon the match and instead play a one 0ff Onedayer consisting of 40 eight ball overs per side.  Promptly Australians won that match. 

Kapil led remarkably in 1983 to defend a small total defeat West Indies in the finals and hold the World Cup at Lords on 25th June 1983. The performance in the last WC held in Windies in 2007 was also dismal though  they scored 413 against the minnows Bermudas.  This total was surpassed at Rajkot on 15/12/2009 when Sehwag made 146 off  102 balls.  India scored 414 and won that match by a margin of  3 runs.  Bermuda had Russel Dwayne Mark Leverock weighing 280 lbs in their rocks.  But don't get carried by his size.  Here is he seen taking a great catch.

India’s baptism in One day international was in  1974  which was disastrous tour for Indians by all means.  India participated in the inaugural WC in 1975 and lost the inaugural match to England.  That was a match to forget for the Nation as also for one the finest batsmen India has ever produced – Sunil Manohar Gavaskar. Sunil  had the most compact defence and probably played fast bolwing better than any body else. Yet he would like to forget that match under the captaincy of Srinivasan Venkatraghavan.  Of the three, India lost to England and New zealand and beat the novice East Africa.  See Post script for more info. On East Africa in WC.

It was only ODI No. 19, and Indians had played only two matches earlier.  Anshuman Gaekwad, the bespectacled player from Baroda was considered not good enough for the limited over version.  His batting might not have been elegant but he displayed raw courage in handling red hot pace and made most runs against the quickest of the Caribbean bowlers at their land. 

Women had already played their First WC two years earlier when the men’s inaugural version was launched in 1975.  On June 7 1975, the hosts England played India in perfect English surroundings of glorious sunshine and good weather at Lords.   England plundered the amiable Indian bowling  and piled up 334 for 4 in 6o overs – obviously the new high in ODI in those days.  Dennis Amiss the opener socred 137, supported by Keith Fletcher’s 68.  To show what acceleration was all about, Chris Old more better known for his swing bowling bludgeoned a 30 ball 50.  Karsan Devraj Ghavri, the indian left arm pacer proved too expensive conceding 83 in his 11 with a maiden and no wickets. 

A simple read of the rules would mean that 2 out of 4 teams qualify for the next round and a losing team should lose by a smaller margin to provide themselves of some slender chances of moving on.  For those who supported India on the ground, it was abject frustration as the little master Sunny Gavaskar played an innings totally devoid of character and incomprehensible for anyone unless it had a hidden lesson for the team management and the miserable captain.  

India had on  their previous tour been humiliated for a 42 all out but sure the WC was no place to better that run and keep their wickets in tact.  For Indian cricket it was an perverse moment of shame self-inflicted.   Of course, Indians had little experience in the limited over format but the playing conditions and rules were available and sure the country had enough of intellectuals who can read and interpret them appropriately.

To say India lost would be extremely complex under-statement.  India made 132 for 3 and lost by 202 runs.  Gavaskar crawled to 36 not out off 174 balls with just one four and perhaps that was the only time Anshuman Gaekwad outpaced him.  There were more than 16000 spectators who left the stadium without happiness even when their home team won the match comfortably.  To rub in to the wounds, the manager GS Ramchand stated that Gavaskar had considered the England score unobtainable and so had taken practice. It was an excuse, but not one that anyone believed.  Rumours were aplenty.

Years later there was mention that he had actually been caught behind off the second ball of the innings.  Why Alan Knott did not make a sound appeal ?

Days later Clive Hubert Lloyd made a whirlwind 100 of 85 balls to ensure a win in the finals.  It was indeed a great finals.  For long that stood as fastest century.  Over years, the balls kept reducing and on 2nd April 1996, Sanath Jayasuriya tore Pakis apart at Singapore with 11 sixers scoring a ton in 48 deliveries.  Months later Shahid Afridi hit back against Lankans at Nairobi reducing another 11 deliveries, which stands till date.  

Gavaskar became the first batsman to cross the 10000 barrier in Tests; went on to play 108 one dayers scoring 3092.  In his penultimate match against New Zealand, a WC group match, he scored his only century.  It is another matter that in what turned out to be his last match - the semi final of 1987 WC against England, when Indians were chasing 254, he was bowled rather uncharacteristically to De Freitas for 4.   India lost that match. 

Regards – S. Sampathkumar.

PS  :  The East Africa was a representative team of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.  EA became an associate member of the ICC in 1966 played amongst themselves and were joined by Zambia in a quadrangular tournament played annually between 1966 and 1980.  India toured East Africa in 1967 and played a three-day match against Kenya . In 1975 EA and Ceylon were the two non-test teams invited to play in the tournament.  Of the 14 men squad of EA, half were from Kenya.  


  1. The ICC has announced the schedule for the 2011 World Cup of Cricket. This tournament will be played in the Indian sub-continent, with India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh as the hosts.

  2. Cricket live score - ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 Schedule and live Cricket score updates. Check out here more on>> ICC Cricket World Cup 2011