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1975: First World Cup

Rahul Bhattacharya

There is no cricket like Test cricket, it is true; yet it was left to the packaged formulation of one-dayers to provide to the game its most anticipated event. The idea was first believed to be conceived by Ben Brocklehurst, chairman of the Cricketer, in 1969, and MCC put together the first World Cup in 1975. Tony Cozier wrote at the time that it was "perhaps the boldest and most ambitious innovation the game has known since the legalisation of overarm bowling" -words he now considers hyperbole, but which nevertheless make a point. Limited-overs internationals were, after all, only 18 matches old, all of which had been played in bilateral series only.

The first Cup, held in England over two weeks between eight teams and eventually won by West Indies in a classic final against Australia, aroused vast interest. The profits, though small, were encouraging: essentially it was validation of the new paradigm, the one-day paradigm. Even so, recalls historian David Frith, the tournament was by no means assured of perpetuation in the cricket calendar. That it did establish itself, with every Cup becoming much larger than the previous in virtually every respect, reflects the way the game itself has grown.

Clive Lloyd holds aloft the 1979 World Cup, June 23, 1979
Reproduced with permission from The Cricketer International
Clive Lloyd holds the World Cup after West Indies win in 1979, West Indies v England, Lord's, June 23, 1979
Reproduced with permission from The Cricketer International
Clive Lloyd holds the World Cup after West Indies win in 1979, West Indies v England, Lord's, June 23, 1979
© PA Photos