As with anything that fits in Darwin’s Theory, things have to adapt and change to survive. Such is the nature of man and cricket happens to be one of his inventions. Cricket has been around for over a century and a half but ever since the World Cups began, cricket has constantly kept changing and modifying. Here’s how Cricket and the World Cup has changed over the years.
1. 300 is no longer a steep target
When the World Cup first commenced, players strove hard just to amass a total of 200 and odd. In today’s game, nothing short of 300 is worth trying to defend, even in the most difficult pitches.
2. Players are more aggressive
With a change in times comes a change in man. There are plenty of hot headed, impatient youngsters who’re passionate about cricket. That can be seen both on and off the pitch.
3. On-Field Colours
In the earlier world cups, every team used to sport plain whites. Now, each team has their own set of unique sportswear branded and bathed in colours. This attire keeps changing over the years.
The development in on-ground caretaking has gone through leaps and bounds. Today, the cricket pitches are high, mighty and magnificent. There’s finally a sort of intimidating factor when playing home and away matches.
Every team, especially the Indian team, has had to improve their fielding standards dramatically. Ever since Australia set the standard a few years back, almost everyone wants to be a ninja.
6. Format of the Game
The original World Cup format was 60 overs. That eventually got reworked to 50. Since then, we’ve also seen the rise of T20 cricket and 6 over matches, which have become immensely popular with the cricket audience.
7. Variation in bowling
Bowlers have become extremely innovative, mixing it up and confusing their counterparts. Spinners have had the most dramatic change over the years with the googly’s and doosras while pacers bowl slow bouncers.
8. New Rivalries
The years have done cricket good, inducing a sense of friendly aggressive competition among the best players. Teams like India, Pakistan, Australia, England and South Africa now compete on a regular basis and have friendly rivalries, especially when it comes to the World Cup matches.
The number of people who watch the World Cup now has increased tremendously, tanks mostly in part to countries like India and Australia.
While most players are passionate and give their all to winning, there are a few who play just for the money. Don’t forget about the ICC (and the BCCI), as well as the broadcasting channels, who only want to make money from cricket.
11. Thriving Supplementary Businesses
The World Cup has been profitable to several other industries affiliated with it, especially Hotel Management. Try getting a hotel room near Adelaide right now.
12. Shift in Headquarters
Due to the growing popularity of the World Cups and Cricket in general, the ICC headquarters shifted to UAE from the UK to be closer to the rest of the world.
13. Teams competing
There are now 14 teams competing in the World Cup for the honour of lifting the ultimate sporting prize. This, in part, has contributed to the one billion plus viewers for this specific edition.
14. Viewing Angles
Technology has revolutionized the way we watch cricket now, with gimmicks like the helicopter shots and spider cams.
15. Precision technology
Thanks to third referees and snickometers, the game has transformed itself into something modern and relatable. Thank goodness for that.
Where the boards were just used to signify the end of the ground and protect the crowd now garments hundreds of advertizements thanks to a huge number of sponsers.
17. Field Restrictions and Powerplays
Getting a little technical now, only 4 fielders are allowed outside the inner circle for a majority of the innings. There are only two powerplays for this world cup; the first one covers the first 10 overs and the second is a batting powerplay which can be taken before the 35th over for 5 overs. During both these powerplays, only 2 players are allowed outside the box.
18. Two New Balls
Initially, there was no new ball allowed on the pitch. Then, the rules changed and one new ball was allowed on. Now, the World Cup sports 2 new ball changes.
19. Young Blood
Cricket has taken a 180 degree turn from its predecessor, encouraging the youth to play at an international level. Currently, the squads are filled with youngsters, some as young as teenagers!
20. Batting variation
With the shorter versions of the game dominating over the last few years, batsmen have resorted to inventing their own unique strokes like the reverse sweep, the “Dil-Scoop” and the slog sweep.
21. Match-fixing scandals
All the World Cups are now plagued by match fixing scandals. Ever since Mohammad Azharuddin and Wasim Akram were found guilty in the 90’s, the game has seen a decline in trust from it’s viewers.
22. Politics in Cricket
Politics is now playing a huge role in influencing the game and giving it a bad name. From Srinivasan and the IPL matches to Bob Woolmer’s mysterious death after Pakistan lost in the 2007 World Cup, Cricket has become a game of power more than a sport of passion.
23. Evolution of Bats
And finally, the bats have changed drastically since the first World Cup, becoming bigger and thicker. But the kicker is Matthew Hayden’s Kokkaburra, which is anything but normal.