RAJESH KUMAR - Cricket Statisticians
The History of World Cup Cricket 1975-2011 by James Alter

The History of World Cup Cricket 1975-2011
by James Alter

Foreword by : Harsha Bhogle

Published by:
Roli Books Pvt. Ltd.
M-75, Greater Kailash II Market,
New Delhi - 110048
Tel.: ++0091 (011) 4068 2000
Fax: ++0091 (011) 2921 7185
E-mail : info@rolibooks.com
website: www.rolibooks.com

Pages: 144

Price: Rs.495/-

Publicity co-odinator : Hina Mobar ( hina@rolibooks.com)

James Alter has brought out an excellent World Cup publication, chronicling the World Cups through the years.

This publication has abbreviated scores of each World Cup game from 1975 to 2007 as well as brief summaries of each semi-final and final apart from the highlights of memorable games and moments during each of the previous nine world cup competitions.

A History of the Cricket World Cup is an attempt at reproducing the memories of the nine previous World Cups, through text and photographs and compiles a comparison for fans of the great game of cricket.

Harsha Bhogle, in his foreword says: "Irrespective of what happens, this World Cup will add to the legend of the event. There have been many great moments and they are well captured in this book. Indeed, it was at one such unforgettable moment that I first met the author of this book. Australia had just beaten South Africa and progressed to the final via tied result at Birmingham in a wonderful cricket match, the crowd had gathered around the pavilion, when, from my in-vision position, I spotted a man I have greatly admired over the years, the actor Tom Alter. There is sport on every square millimetre of Tom's body, and on this day, he introduced me to a bright, excited young man, 'This is my son,' he said, and today, it is that son, James Alter, who brings this book to you."

According to Harsha Bhogle, World Cup 2011, unlike most recent world cups, is wide open for takers. "Australia have owned it since 1999, but can no longer claim permanent tenancy rights. They have slipped alarmingly in the last twelve months and, while they still have the people to win it, they will surprise many if they do. India will believe this is their best chance for a long time. They have the batting; the bowlers suitable for these conditions; a captain who is widely respected; and a legend who is hungry, never having tasted success. They must be in a short list of three or four teams to win the Cup."

There are personal accounts of those who have participated in the World Cups gone by. Dickie Bird, the legendary umpire, who has officiated in three World Cup finals, considers the 1975 World Cup Final as the best one-day game he ever stood in. "Two champion sides, with some great players, in a great match at Lord's. And it was a lovely day as well. I arrived at the ground at 7.30 in the morning and left at 10.00 at night. Play begin at 11.00, and it wasn't till around 9.00 that the Duke of Edinburgh presented Clive Lloyd the Prudential World Cup trophy. It was a proper English midsummer's day, with bursts of sunshine followed by twilight, and to drive out of Lord's after an unforgettable day's cricket was a special feeling and one I won't forget.

On the field, we were treated to a fabulous century from Lloyd - what a player! - and some brilliant fielding from both sides. The Australians had fielded really well all tournament - I recall Ian Chappell taking some sharp catches and doing well in the field also - but on this day at Lord's, it was Viv Richards who stole the show. He hadn't done too much in England but on this day he was electric. He ran out three batsmen, including Chappell, and that's where the final was won. Unforgettable pick-ups and throws, just smack on the mark. Chappell's run-out was the one that turned it West Indies' way."

The book is attractively laid out and logically organised apart from having superb colour photographs. What is most remarkable is that so much has been packed into a book of 144 pages.

As regards the statistical section, the book is not reliable at all with so many incorrect facts apart from the vital omissions. John Davison had recorded a 23-ball fifty against New Zealand at Gros Islet on March 22, 2007, which is missing in the list of fastest fifties.

Muttiah Muralitharan had taken 23 wickets in the 2006-07 edition of the world cup and not 2002-03, as mentioned in the book. West Indies had beaten India by 9 wickets at Birmingham on June 9, 1979 and not in 1975. New Zealand had defeated East Africa at Birmingham on June 7, 1975 and not Namibia at Pietermaritzburg in 2003, as mentioned in the book. Actually, India had defeated Namibia at Pietermaritzburg on February 23, 2003. India's said win by 181 runs does not find a place in the book.

Australia's 256-run win over Namibia at Potchefstroom on February 27, 2003 has been mentioned against India at Lord's in 1975, which is incorrect. West Indies had actually recorded 360 for four against Sri Lanka at Karachi in 1987 but according to the book, it was against Pakistan. Pakistan's 349 against Zimbabwe at Kingston on March 21, 2007 does not find a place under the heading Highest Innings Total for each team.

Under the heading Lowest Innings Total for each team, Ireland's 77 against Sri Lanka at St.George's on April 18, 2007, Bermuda's 78 against Sri Lanka at Port of Spain on March 15, 2007 and Zimbabwe's 99 against Pakistan at Kingston on March 21, 2007 are missing.

The book rightly mentions Matthew Hayden's tally of 659 (ave.73.22) in the 2006-07 World Cup behind Sachin Tendulkar's 673 (ave.61.18) in the 2002-03 edition. However, the back cover of the book, mentions Hayden breaking the record for maximum runs in a tournament in 2007.