The Cricket World Cup has now been in existence since 1975, and has established itself as one of the biggest sporting events. The 2011 is the tenth tournament to be held, although throughout its history only five different nations and seven different captains have actually won the tournament.
The inaugural winners of the Cricket World Cup were the famed West Indian team, guided to victory by their new captain Clive Lloyd. The 1975 final was held at Lords, where the West Indies would beat the Australian team. In this match Lloyd would be named man of the match for his century performance. Four years later, at the same venue Clive Lloyd would once again lead the West Indies to victory over England.
Easily recognised by his identifying glasses, and batting in the middle order, Lloyd is recognised as one of the greatest of West Indian batsman, but in many ways it is captaincy that has had a longer lasting legacy. Clive Lloyd managed to create a team spirit, a team made up of individuals from a number of Caribbean islands, but where rivalries were put to one side.
In 1983, Clive Lloyd was going for his third win as captain at the Cricket World Cup, but in the Lords final, the West Indians were beaten by the unfancied Indian team. At the time the Indians were under the leadership of Kapil Dev one of cricket’s greatest all-rounders. Dev was India’s main strike bowl, bowling right armed with speed, skill and accuracy. It was though his batting that would often be more memorable, as Kapil Dev was renowned for his counter attacking approach which would see the ball flying to all corners of the cricket ground.
The 1987 tournament was the first Cricket World Cup to be held outside of England, with India and Pakistan playing host. The Kolkata final saw the Australians win the first of their four tournament wins, beating England in the process. The Australians were lead by Allan Border, one of cricket’s greatest batsmen. Allan Border was initially a reluctant captain, and was not the most dynamic of cricketers, more known for stubbornness than for flamboyancy, but still proved highly successful.
The 1992 Cricket World Cup would move to Australia and New Zealand, the MCG would play host to Pakistan and England. It was not to prove third time lucky for England though as Pakistan would triumph with Imran Khan at the helm. Khan was another of the world’s great all-rounders, a devastating bowler and batsman, and someone who is charismatic enough to have moved into politics.
The 1996 winners, Sri Lanka, were in many ways a shock win, triumphing over the favoured Australians in Lahore. Sri Lanka were led by the least famous of the World Cup winning captains, Arjuna Ranatunga. Rantunga, like Khan, has moved into politics, but like Clive Lloyd was recognised for his captaincy. Ranatunga is credited with creating the team ethics of the Sri Lankans, allowing them to gel as a team.
Since the Sri Lanka success, Australia has dominated the Cricket World Cup. The domination of Australia is in some ways down to the captaincy of Steve Waugh. Waugh known as a great batsman, was the captain of a youthful Australian cricket team. He is often remembered as someone who would put the opposition to the sword showing no leniency. Steve Waugh would lead Australia to success against Pakistan in the 1999 Lord’s final.
Ricky Ponting would prove to be the third of the great Australian batsmen captains to lead Australia to success in the Cricket World Cup. Succeeding Steve Waugh, Ponting would first lead Australia to victory over India in 2003, and then he would retain the cup in 2007 against Sri Lanka. Ponting has proved to be the most successful of all Australia’s cricket captains in terms of victories, and is arguably second only to Tendulkar in terms of modern batsmen.
The winning captains in the Cricket World Cup are a select band of cricketers, and it is probably no coincidence that they are a group that contains some of the finest cricketers of the modern era.