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The ICC Cricket World Cup Trophy

After going through four separate trophies over the course of a quarter-century, the International Cricket Council debuted the official ICC Cricket World Cup Trophy before the 1999 edition of the quadrennial tournament.   In crafting a permanent solution to the grand prize conundrum, the ICC has provided an elegant symbol of the competition’s stability moving forward – and, in the process, commissioned one of the most unique trophies in all of sport.  Having utilized classically-styled cups for much of its early history, the current trophy must be considered a modern take on the idea and is perhaps the only one to reflect contemporary sensibilities among the world’s major international competitions.

History

The first Cricket World Cup was held in 1975, bringing together eight of the Test- and ODI-playing national teams to determine an overall champion.  However, the production of a trophy was beyond the International Cricket Council’s resources at the time – as with many other aspects of the competition: England became host more by necessity than anything, as it was the only nation of the eight with sufficient facilities to welcome so many players.  In order to have a prize for the winners, the organizers turned to the primary sponsor, Prudential PLC.  The organization carried on for two additional tournaments, before a succession of three companies took over for the following competitions.

Without an identifiable prize from year to year, it became difficult for the ICC to promote the tournament consistently.  Thus, in 1999, the group commissioned Garrard & Co. of London to produce the official ICC Cricket World Cup Trophy.  Over the course of two months, the renowned crown jewelers created the two-foot-high, 24-pound trophy out of silver and gold.  A cricket ball floats in the center, supported by three sweeping columns to represent the primary skills involved in the sport: batting, bowling and fielding.

The adoption of a permanent trophy hasn’t been without issues, though.  Curious decisions to avoid settling on subtle details in the first design have led to confusion in the years since.  When first unveiled in 1999, the ICC determined the official Cricket World Cup Trophy would remain at the central headquarters in Dubai.  Each winner would be presented with a replica and, when Australia claimed the cup, the captain lifted a precise reproduction with an inscription of the event logo where the ICC emblem would normally be.

For the following two competitions, the organization’s insignia was placed exactly where it is on the original trophy – the replica could not be distinguished whatsoever for 2003 and 2007.  To avoid this problem in the future, the ICC mandated the logo for each tournament would be placed on the Cricket World Cup Trophy from the 2011 edition onwards.  However, thanks to this back-and-forth process, when the Indian Cricket Team claimed the championship, controversy erupted because the trophy was believed to be a fake.  Though the situation was eventually cleared up and the correct prize had been awarded, much of the blame for the confusion was rightfully pinned on the ICC.

Best Teams

Australia (1999)

After struggling to make it out of group play, the Aussies turned it on during the Super Six Stage.  Finding consistently good batting for several match ups and clamping down when it came time to field, the team from Down Under swept to a series of victories that moved it into a semifinal contest with South Africa.  Having gained a slim victory during the Super Six, the Australians managed to prevail again when the second match ended in a draw – one of the most famous endings in the competition for the ICC Cricket World Cup Trophy – and moved on for a victory over Pakistan in the championship match.  This team began an undefeated run that lasted until the 2011 tournament for the Aussies, but none would be quite as legendary as this one, particularly as the semifinal is often named amongst the greatest games of cricket ever played.

India (2011)

The stakes were already high for this edition of the tournament, as the ICC had elected to double the available prize money during a board meeting in 2010, but the India national cricket team faced a whole other challenge: since the tournament’s inception in 1975, no host country had lifted the trophy.  The initial stages didn’t bode well – close victories over the Irish and Dutch, as well as a draw with England and loss to South Africa, might have given the squad cause to collapse under the pressure.  Moving into the knockout rounds, though, the Indian team found a way to rally and swept to four consecutive victories on their way to lifting the ICC Cricket World Cup Trophy.  The semifinal with Pakistan, a tense affair seen by an estimated audience of a billion people worldwide, eventually ended up as the springboard into a dominant final victory over Sri Lanka – the nation’s first since the 1983 tournament.

Winners

Australia (1999, 2003, 2007, 2015)

India (2011)

Willis World Cup Trophy

Sri Lanka (1996)

Benson and Hedges Cup Trophy

Pakistan (1992)

Reliance World Cup Trophy

Australia (1987)

Prudential Cup Trophy

West Indies (1975, 1979)

India (1983)