Cricket is a team game with eleven players in each side. The team usually consists of a pair of opening batsmen, middle order batsmen, one or two all-rounders or pinch hitters, a wicket keeper and fast and spin bowlers. Each player has to play to his full individual potential while contributing to the collective team cause which lies in winning the match. The responsibility of seeing to this lies on the shoulders of the captain. He is the individual whose decisions and tactics on the ground can change the course and outcome of the game.
Here is an overview of those aggressive, shrewd and determined captains who have achieved the ultimate glory desired by all cricket playing nations…lifting the world cup trophy for their team and their country.
1975: Clive Lloyd(West Indies)
The first world cup was held in England in 1975. At Lord’s stadium, West Indies beat Australia by 17 runs in the final making Clive Lloyd the first triumphant captain to lift the cricket world cup trophy. The bespectacled West Indian captain holds an iconic position in the cricket world. He was responsible for the meteoric rise of West Indian cricket team in the 1970’s. Clive Lloyd led a team made up of mercurial fast bowlers that could demolish any opposition in the cricket field. An astute batsman himself, he scored a century in the final to help his team lift the coveted trophy.
1979: Clive Lloyd(West Indies)
Four years later, history repeated itself at Lord’s in England with a slight difference. In 1979, West Indies again became the world champions when they defeated England in the final by a huge margin of 92 runs. Clive Lloyd once again received the cup.
1983: Kapil Dev (India)
India emerged as the victorious team this year when they ended the supremacy of West Indies at Lord’s cricket ground. India’s captain and highly successful fast bowler Kapil Dev lifted the trophy much to the joy of almost a billion cricket crazy fans back home. This feat combined with his excellent all-round capabilities earned him the title of the Indian Cricketer of the Century in 2002 by Wisden ahead of more renowned cricketers like Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar. Nicknamed the ‘Harryana Hurricane’ for his lethal bowling, Kapil Dev is the only cricketer in history to take 400 wickets and score 5000 runs in Test matches. But his catch to dismiss Viv Richards in the final of 1983 final will perhaps remain his fondest memory as it helped India clinch the world cup that year.
1987: Allan Border (Australia)
For the first time in history, the tournament moved out of England and was hosted by the sub continent. In the final of 1987 World Cup, Australia beat England by 7 runs at Calcutta now Kolkata in India. Allan Border lifted the cup. By the time Allan retired, he held several world records including most runs in ODI’s and Test matches and most capped player which were broken by later players. Under Allan Border’s captaincy, Australia began its journey to dominate the cricket world which continued for the next two decades.
1992: Imran Khan (Pakistan)
In Melbourne, Australia, more than 87,000 enthralled cricket fans watched the final match in MCG stadium where Pakistan beat England by 22 runs. The captain of Pakistan cricket team was Imran Khan, a quick fast bowler and formidable batsman, who is inarguable one of the finest all-rounders Pakistan has ever produced. By cricket standards, 39 year old Imran Khan was quite old when his team accomplished this feat. Pakistan’s start to the tournament was quite disastrous but with Imran’s aggressive, never-say-die attitude, the Pakistan team turned into ‘cornered tigers’ and went on to win the cup defeating all odds. He scored the highest runs of all the Pakistani batsmen and took the winning last wicket himself. The control he exercised on the ground as a leader was legendary and he remains one of the most talented and charismatic personalities to have graced the cricket arena.
1996: Arjuna Ranatunga (Sri Lanka)
In the seventh edition of cricket World Cup, Sri Lanka beat Australia by seven wickets at Lahore, Pakistan. It was Arjuna Ranatunga, the burly left-handed batsman who led the team from the tiny island nation to their greatest cricketing triumph. Under Ranatunga’s belligerent leadership, Sri Lanka transformed from a weak, oft-defeated team into a competitive and successful unit.
1999: Steve Waugh (Australia)
Cricket world cup moved back to England in 1999 where Australia beat Pakistan by eight wickets at Lord’s cricket stadium. Steve Waugh, Australia’s captain received the trophy. Nicknamed ‘Iceman’ for his ability to remain calm and cool in high-pressure situations throughout his career, Steve Waugh cemented Australia’s reputation as the dominant team in cricket world. His famous words “We’re not here to win friends, mate,” eloquently explained his approach to cricket …winning matches at all costs.
2003: Ricky Ponting (Australia)
In the Wanderers stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa, Australia successfully defended their title when they beat India by a huge margin of 125 runs in the final. The winning captain this time was Ricky Ponting. A specialist right handed batsman, Ricky Ponting has created and broken many a cricketing records in his lifetime. He is often termed as an uncompromising player and an avid run accumulator besides leading a team of superstar bowlers who helped him take the World Cup 2003 Down Under.
2007: Ricky Ponting (Australia)
In the 9th edition of the cricket world cup held in West Indies, Australia beat Sri Lanka in a rain-reduced match to win the World Cup for the third consecutive time. By this time, Australia had qualified for the finals four times in a row and had won 29 consecutive World Cup matches without suffering a loss. Like Clive Lloyd of West Indies, Ricky Ponting, too, has lifted the cup twice and is now featuring in his third world cup as Australia’s captain.
2011: MS Dhoni (India)
MS Dhoni led Team India to World Cup glory in 2011 when the men in blue won the final against Sri Lanka at the Wankhede Stadium. Batting first, Sri Lanka made 274 for 6 and it looked like a good total. However an aggressive 91 not out from the Indian skipper ensured that more than a billion people in the cricket-crazy nation spend the next few days celebrating the much coveted triumph.
The 2015 Cricket World Cup will be played in Australia and New Zealand. Which captain will lift the next trophy…only time and almost six weeks of relentless cricket will tell.