Battle for the best starts on May 30
India will want to reclaim the title it twice won ; Australia will want to retain the title it has won five times and teams that have come close to winning and yet finished second best will try to turn the tide in their favour as the ICC Cricket World Cup starts in England and Wales thirty days from today
The Cricket World Cup did not appear within sights of Asian countries until 1983. The Board of Cricket Control of India (BCCI) had still not seen much money before 1983. Television was not accessible to all ,it was in the domain of the rich and that was why England had hosted the first three World Cups since its inception in 1975.
When India took the field in 1983, few believed Kapil Dev, Mohinder Amarnath , Sandeep Patil and company would take the popularity of the game to another level. The semifinal match of the 1983 ,was originally ,not even planned to be telecast in India because not many expected India to reach this stage. Alas, India went further and returned as champions of the world.
India’s win in the 1983 World Cup has changed the spectrum of cricket in the country today. Cricket is a game that has grown into an industry- where the poor who never dreamt of making it big, today flaunt riches; where people who struggled to have a meal a day, live in opulence. The 1983 win has seen money trickle all over and shown the other side of sport.
Cricket in India has not just leaped but been on a healthy bounce since India won the first crown in 1983. The win in 1983, led to India finishing runners up in 2003 and reclaim the crown again in 2011. From then on, the story line has been: when again, next.
The World Cup history and cricket in general has been the domain of Australia. Australia has won the title on five occasions and has come close many other times. India and West Indies have won the title twice whilst Pakistan and Sri Lanka have finished winners once. England has yet to win the title – ending runners up thrice- despite hosting the World Cup in its first three years.
This is the fourth time England will be hosting the title- this time along with Wales- and is one reason why they are starting as favourites. Three countries that co-hosted the World Cup have been champions once-India when it hosted its first World cup with Pakistan- Bangladesh and Sri Lanka; Sri Lanka when it hosted along with India and Pakistan and Australia when it hosted with New Zealand.
The World Cup is a stage of the unpredictable. The least expected happens – as it did in 1983 – and it opens an ecosystem that can change the contours of a country. One does not need a Kohli or Stokes or Russell .One needs passion and passion for ones country is transparently demonstrated through sports.
Ten teams from all over the World will fight for the champion of the world title that will runs through a month in England and Wales. As the show comes to an end in June, cricket will have spread deeper through the world and new countries will wait for a nod to participate. And, cricket will start expanding its base.
The ball is already on a roll in the Indian professional league (IPL). It is set to spin happily into the World Cup where it is set to intensify because the World Cup is about being the best in the world.