The Cricket World Cup

The Cricket World Cup, started in 1975 in England, is one of the most awaited events that takes place every four years. It is the premiere one-day international cricket championship. The first ever match was played between Canada and USA in September 1844. What was initially a game played by the British as a pastime has now evolved into one of the most competitive games in sports and is played by all the Commonwealth Nations. A left over of British rule, cricket is a huge success in India.  The game, as well as the event, has huge mass appeal not only in India but the world over.

The ten test and ODI playing nations contest the finals of the World Cup together with other nations that qualify through the World Cup qualifier.  While the Test playing nations automatically qualify for the main event, the other teams have to qualify through a series of preliminary tournaments, while the nations playing One Day Internationals also automatically enter the final tournament.

Although the number of teams selected for the ICC World Cup trophy has varied over the years, currently six teams are selected. The Associate and Affiliate members of the ICC have been given more opportunities to apply through the World Cricket League qualification system. Under this all 91 Associate and Affiliate members can qualify for the World Cup.

Over the years there have been many changes in the format of the game. The current format for the 2011 tournament involves 14 teams from 104 entries. Within each group, the teams will play in a round-robin format. The top four teams from each group will proceed to the knock out stage of playing the quarterfinals. The winners of the quarterfinals will play the semi-finals and finally the last two will face each other on the field for the finals, competing for the golden title.

Australia has won four championships, with the most number of trophies to date; followed by the West Indies who have won two and with India still at the numerical position, 1.  The World Cup scheduled for 2011 will take place between February and March and will be co-hosted by Bangladesh, for the first time.

Although I am not an ardent follower of cricket the teams I really prefer are Australia and India. Australia’s consistency in performance is very commendable. Their sincerity in holding on to the first position is inspiring. One can always expect a good performance from them although there have been times they have also disappointed us.

India, on the other hand, is a surprise package, it’s the underdog. It tends to do the unexpected. Though India has failed to keep up with the expectations of their fans, it’s their indomitable spirit that keeps them going. In spite of past failures and the public’s anger because of their disappointing performances, the people have not been able to keep the team down.

The World Cup attracts attention from all over the world because of its exciting format and huge media exposure. It is watched by everyone from all around the world, irrespective of culture and  language, by both elders and youngsters alike. People may be divided by language and opinions but everyone understands the language of cricket.

Madhurima Ganguly