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14 October 201010:38

Preparing for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011

Wasim Akram was one of the leading wicket-takers in ICC Cricket World Cup 1992

Preparing for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 - Cricket News

Wasim Akram of Pakistan.

With some of the leading sides taking part in ODI series this week, which form vital part of its ICC Cricket World Cup preparations, many fans will be wondering whether these matches carry any indications for how teams will perform at cricket's showpiece in 2011.

In the first of this two-part series, we look back at how pre-tournament form of players and teams has impacted on performances at the ICC Cricket World Cup.


By the time the first ICC Cricket World Cup came around in 1975, there had only been 18 official One-Day Internationals played, 15 of which featured England. In fact, the eventual winners the West Indies had only played two matches before the competition started. England's Keith Fletcher and Dennis Amiss had been the heaviest scorers in the initial days of the shorter form of the game and they certainly didn't disappoint. Both made centuries and topped 200 runs but were unable to take England to a home final. New Zealand's Glenn Turner shook off his pre-tournament batting average of 14.60 to top the run-scoring charts with 333 including two centuries. Two of the disappointments were the Chappell Brothers. Both came into the tournament boasting averages in excess of fifty in their fledgling ODI careers, but only managed a highest score of 62 between them in ten innings.

Unsurprisingly, given their number of matches, Geoff Arnold and Chris Old were far and away the leading early ODI wicket-takers. However, they fared somewhat differently come the pressure cooker atmosphere. Old flourished taking seven wickets at just 12.28 but Arnold managed just three wickets in his three matches. Ashley Mallett - a strong early performer for Australia disappointed too - with his 3 wickets costing 52 runs apiece.


England and West Indies dominated the build-up to the 1979 tournament with England winning 9 of its 17 matches and the West Indies five of seven. In addition, Derek Randall and David Gower were just ahead of Viv Richards in the inter-World Cup run charts. However, during the event neither of the England middle-order men managed a fifty, and both averaged just 16. Richards was a different case however, as he tallied 217 runs, including his unforgettable unbeaten 138 against England in the final. Other success stories included Glenn Turner continuing his love affair with the World Cup and Gordon Greenidge, who topped all run-scorers with 253.

It was England's bowling which led it to the final, with Bob Willis and Mike Hendrick continuing their fine careers to have consistent success, ably supported by Ian Botham. Most of the leading bowlers in this competition had performed well in the years immediately beforehand too.


Whereas the West Indies continued their domination in all forms of the game by winning nine of its12 matches in the build-up to the 1983 competition, India gave no indication of their impending rise to global stardom, losing more matches than they won. For the first time the leading run-scorer in the year leading up to the ICC Cricket World Cup subsequently scored the most runs in the competition. David Gower was enjoying a rich vein of form from the beginning of 1982 through to the start of the tournament, and he continued that right through the summer, totalling 384 runs. Viv Richards and Zaheer Abbas were close behind, both continuing similarly excellent years. This time, arguably the three biggest disappointments with the bat were three Kiwi top order players. It was possibly one competition too far for Glenn Turner who this time could only manage a batting average of 17.16. His compatriots John Wright and Bruce Edgar were marginally worse - averaging 16.60 and 16.20 respectively as New Zealand failed to reach the semi-finals having won 14 of its 22 matches leading into the tournament.

A glance at the leading bowlers of 1983 yields a number of surprises. Roger Binny topped the charts with 18 despite only having played 3 matches in the preceding year, taking four wickets. Australia's troubles could be summed up by their spearheads Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson struggling. They had both averaged well over a wicket a match in the build-up but could only manage seven wickets between them in the competition at well over 40 runs apiece.


England was the form team coming into the first competition in the Subcontinent in 1987, having won two-thirds of their matches in the previous year. Eventual winners Australia were at the other end of the spectrum having only won seven of its 22 matches coming in. Opening batsmen Graham Gooch and David Boon paced the run-scorers which was in line with their form leading into the tournament. The consistent heavy scoring of Boon, Geoff Marsh and Dean Jones meant that Allan Border's struggles with the bat were largely overlooked. However, perhaps the biggest surprise of that year was the form of Australian paceman Craig McDermott. He had been a fringe player for the previous year, only picking up two wickets in five ODIs at a cost of 132 runs each. However, he really came to fore once competitive cricket started and he led all bowlers with 18 wickets at 18.94 each. Other surprise packages with the ball who out-performed their pre-tournament form included Patrick Patterson, Maninder Singh and Eddie Hemmings - who took 13 wickets for England despite not having played a One-Day International for more than four years.


Australia rode an astonishing run of form coming into ICC Cricket World Cup 1992 when it won 15 of its 19 matches before taking the field on home soil. England had another solid build-up, but Pakistan had been their usual inconsistent selves before coming to life as the tournament progressed.

Martin Crowe's form in the build-up left no clues that he would become one of the stars of the tournament, as he struggled to just 229 runs at 20.81 in the year beforehand. However, he passed fifty five times once the competition started and ended with an average of 114. At the other end of the spectrum was West Indies captain Richie Richardson. He scored more runs than anyone else leading up to the start, but only managed 132 runs in his 8 matches at an average of 18.85 as his team failed to reach the semi-finals.

There were no surprises among the best performers with the ball that year, with the possible exception of Ian Botham who enjoyed one last hurrah with 16 wickets at 19.12. Fellow leading wicket-takers Wasim Akram, Mushtaq Ahmed and Chris Harris had all enjoyed excellent years running up to the start of the competition and didn't disappoint on the biggest stage.