The ICC Cricket World Cup tournament has to be among the most coveted of sporting events worldwide. With legions of fans, a host of nations, and a bunch of highly dedicated players, the aura that the World Cup generates is simply electrifying.
As the stage seems set for yet another edition of the quadrennial event in 2019, we cannot help but reflect on how cricket has changed over the years. Whether it be the thrust on money and fame over the game, the glamour and glitz of the sport or even forever contracting versions of play, the gentleman’s game isn’t the same as it had been.
Particularly with the upcoming 12th edition of the tournament set to witness a no groups barred affair, the World Cup will be testimony to yet another revolution in the cricketing world. But obviously, this isn’t the only time that the tournament is being subjected to changes of radical dimensions.
Check out the schedule of the 2019 ICC World Cup here
Read on to know how the evolution of the World Cup was staged over time-
World Cup trophies
The World Cup trophy is obviously the most acclaimed of cricketing honors. Though Test matches are the ultimate test of cricketing mettle, the World Cup still remains the most watched cricket tournament. With changing times and passions, the trophies have also been modified and evolved to manifest through different designs. The chronicle of the World Cup trophies through the years-
The Prudential Cup
The trophy presented to the eventual champions in the first three editions of the World Cup was called Prudential Cup. At the time of its inception,the matches played in the tournament used to be 60 overs a side affair.
In the consequent editions held in 1975, 1979 and 1983 where West Indies claimed the trophy twice before India asserted their supremacy in the 1983 edition, Prudential plc ( a UK-based financial services company) was the primary sponsor. Thereafter, the sponsorship was withdrawn and a new trophy with a different design and name came to be the ultimate glory of the World Cup.
Interestingly, the Prudential Cup trophy was re-awarded to the Indian team that won the 1983 Cricket World Cup in 2008, to mark the silver jubilee celebrations of the famous win of what was then the underdogs.
The Reliance Cup
The fourth edition of the World Cup that was held in 1987 was known as the Reliance World Cup and Australia emerged at the top of their game to lay their hands of the Reliance Cup. Even as the tournament format remained unchanged with eight teams vying for the top honours in the cricketing world, the matches saw a reduction in the length of play, as the number of overs was reduced from 60 to 50.
The 1987 tournament was also significant in that for the first time the World Cup ventured into lands beyond England. Co hosted by India and Pakistan, the 1987 edition was sponsored by Reliance and hence the trophy was known as the Reliance Cup.
Benson & Hedges World Cup
The 1990s saw the cricket World Cup finally making its foray in newer lands and in the 1992 edition held in Australia and New Zealand, Pakistan were the new champions.
For the fifth edition of the tournament, nine teams as opposed to the earlier eight competed for cricketing glory. Sponsored by Benson and Hedges, the World Cup trophy made entirely of crystals came to be known as the Benson and Hedges Cup. This is also the only trophy ever to have no metal at all, awarded in a tournament that saw a radical shift from white clothing to colored clothing and played with a white ball.
Wills World Cup
Co hosted in the subcontinent by India, Pakistan and Sri-Lanka, the 1996 tournament came to be known as the Wills World Cup. With 12 teams competing in this edition of the World Cup that also saw quarter finals being played for the first time ever, the Cup was lifted by Sri Lanka as the island nation became the only host country to lift the trophy.
ICC World Cup trophy
As the World Cup almost marched into the 21st century with its seventh edition, cricket world’s governing body decided to introduce a permanent trophy that would be unique to the tournament. After 1996, the World Cup ceased to be associated with any sponsors. Hence, the tournament and also the awarding trophy came to be known by the name of its governing association, the International Cricket Council.
24 years after the World Cup became a regular fixture, the ICC finally got the trophy designed by experts. Crafted by a team from the London based Garrard and Co (aka Crown Jewellers), the current trophy is composed of gold and silver. The 11 kg trophy has a height of 60 cm and also a platonic dimension to it that makes it recognisable from every angle.
A golden globe aka a cricket ball held up by three columns shaped as stumps and bails denoting in fact, the chief aspects of bowling, batting and fielding make up the current ICC World Cup trophy. Awarded since 1999 and in subsequent editions in 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2015, the trophy features the names of the previous winners on its hardwood base and is likely to be awarded for another four decades or so.
Interestingly, what is presented to the champions in each edition is indeed a replica of the original trophy. The original still rests with the ICC in its headquarters in Dubai, UAE.
The cricket World Cup had its initiation as a tournament of monochromes. Plain white men used to dot the field as teams went about competing for glory. Not anymore. The World Cup now is a much colorful affair, an occasion of fan fare since the 1992 edition of the tournament when national colors overtook the whites.
The World Cup has not just donned colors, it has also itched to reduce the monotony of long play. With matches being reduced from a lengthy 60 overs to 50 overs per side and the more entertaining day- night affairs introduced into the scheme of things, cricket has deciphered new means and ways to keep spectators hooked to the game.
That apart, even T20 cricket has become a reality and the shortest format of the game also has its own World Cup tournament.
But it isn’t just the colors and the format of the game that has undergone changes. Even a host of cricketing gear have changed drastically since the first World Cup. Be it the helmets which have grown sturdier or the bats that have evolved to be bigger and thicker and also the balls that change color, cricket sure isn’t the same as it has been.