Till the 1992 Cricket World Cup, only 8 teams used to participate in the tournament. Later on, the number of teams increased and in Cricket World Cup 2007, 16 teams will participate. In 1975, England, New Zealand, India, East Africa, Australia, West Indies, Pakistan and Sri Lanka participated and in 1979 Canada replaced East Africa. In 1983, Zimbabwe entered the arena and Canada made the exit. The same teams participated in the 1987 Cricket World Cup. In 1992, South Africa joined the group and that year 9 teams participated in the tournament. By the year1996, the number of groups increased to 12 with the participation of three new teams UAE, Netherlands and Kenya. Bangladesh and Scotland replaced UAE and Netherlands in the 1999 Cricket World Cup. The number of teams in 2003 Cricket World Cup increased to 14 with the participation of Namibia and Canada and the non-participation of Scotland.
England consecutively hosted the first three tournaments and 1987 tournament became the first World Cup to be hosted outside England. Cricket World Cup 1987 introduced neutral umpires.
Many positive changes happened in the 1992 Cricket World Cup. Colored clothing with names printed on the back and floodlights for most of the 36 games was introduced. It was also the beginning of the use of white balls, a change from the usual red balls. The fielding circle rules were refined allowing only two men outside the circle in the first 15 overs. The 1996 Cricket World Cup saw the first appearance of third umpire in front of the TV monitor.
There are some outstanding matches that added spirit to the tournament. Kenya’s victory against West Indies in a match held at Pune in the 1996 Cricket World Cup in which Kenya’s Maurice Odumbe and Rajab Ali took three wickets and crushed West Indies for 93. The match between Zimbabwe and Australia in the 1983 Cricket World Cup and the Indian captain Kapil Dev’s exceptional performance by hitting an undefeated 175 out of 266 for 8 during the same tournament was amazing. He hit 16 fours and six sixes to reach his score. The brilliant bowling performance of England’s Geoff Boycott, in the team’s match against Australia and Pakistan is also unforgettable.
All the 9 cricket world cup tournaments played have also contributed many records in the Cricket World Cup History. The records are on best batting strike rate, highest individual scores, highest run-scorers, best bowling analysis, best bowling economy rate, best bowling strike rate, highest wicket-takers, highest team totals, lowest team totals, most cricket catches and most dismissals.
Though initially the cricket world cup captured the attention of hundreds of spectators, it has now attracted millions who are eagerly waiting to watch this year’s tournament.