On this day: Cricket gets World Cup, Gavaskar takes it slow

Forty-three years ago, on June 7, the first World Cup — known as Prudential Cup — started; England beat India by 202 runs in the inaugural fixture in London.

India batsman Eknath Solkar hooks England's Geoff Arnold in the first World Cup game at the Lord's Cricket Ground on June 7, 1975.   -  THE HINDU ARCHIVES

Born unplanned in 1971 on the fifth day of a Test match — between Australia and England — almost wiped out by rain, one-day cricket uncovered a fresh layer in the dynamic sport. Four years later in 1975, the International Cricket Conference (now Council) took a giant leap with the idea of a World Cup.

Forty-three years ago, on June 7, the first World Cup — known as Prudential Cup — started; England beat India by 202 runs in the inaugural fixture in London.

The one-day format was in a nascent stage and only 18 matches were played between 1971 and 1975.

Being a direct offshoot of Test cricket, one-dayers were a 60-over format those days.

Electing to bat first, England put up 334 on board for the loss of four wickets — an unimaginable target of the times.

Dennis Amiss related to the pulse of limited-over cricket and scored 137 off 147 balls before Madan Lal cleaned him up.

Keith Fletcher’s 68 helped England cross the 300-run mark.

The Indian innings will be remembered for Sunil Gavaskar’s go-slow approach.

Gavaskar in action during his innings of 36 not out.   -  THE HINDU ARCHIVES

 

Gavaskar realised India had no chance to win the game, so he decided to bat out the innings. He remained unbeaten on 36 off 174 balls. Brijesh Patel gave him company batting on 16 off 57 balls.

India closed on 132 for the loss of three wickets.

Sponsored by Prudential Assurance Company, the tournament invited eight teams — six Test-playing nations (India, Australia, England, New Zealand, Pakistan, West Indies) and two Associate nations (Sri Lanka and East Africa). 

Sixteen matches were played in the tournament, including a semifinal and a final.

West Indies won the trophy beating Australia by 17 runs in the final.