Sunday, March 23, 2014

Wills Cricket World Cup 1996 - Rampaging Lankans storm their way to the pinnacle : Excerpt from ‘The Big Book of World Cup Cricket 1975-2011’ by Indra Vikram Singh

The sub-continent had the honour of staging the tournament once again in 1996. This time three nations - India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka - played host. Now the top three associate members vied with nine teams from the big league. For the first time teams like ICC Trophy 1994 winners United Arab Emirates, Holland and Kenya made their appearance. Kenya had been represented in 1975 in the East Africa team. Now they were an entity by themselves.

Wills were the sponsors of this edition. The amount paid by them for title sponsorship only was Rupees 552 million ($12.8 million).  It was cricketing heritage to the fore with a 28-inch sterling silver trophy, conceived and designed in 1882 specifically for the game of cricket by the 200-year-old Garrard and Company of London, the Crown jewellers. The trophy has etchings of a painting done in 1785 depicting a cricket match in progress. The painting adorns a wall of the cricket museum at Lord's.

That Sri Lanka, a team listed along with the minnows not long ago, lifted the exquisite trophy in a masterly display at Lahore, was evidence of the fact that the game had touched new frontiers.

The mascot for the tournament was an animated cricket ball named "Googlee", designed by Hindustan Thompson Associates. The sponsors described the mascot as a "reflection of the refreshing resurgence of a fine cricketing art - leg-spin bowling - within which the googly is the perfect symbol for intrigue, unpredictability, and the courage to dare to be different."

By now satellite television had ensured that cricket became a global sport. Unimagined sums were raked in by way of television rights, to vie with gate money in the revenue stakes. It was estimated that two million people watched the matches at the grounds, but two billion saw them on television during the 1996 World Cup, a quarter of these in India alone. No wonder World Tel paid $10.7 million plus 75 percent of the profits, totalling $22 million, for worldwide television rights that they in turn sold to various channels.

Instadia advertising rights were bought by Gokul Finance for Rs.150 million ($4 million). Professional Managment Group (PMG) helped sell these advertisement boards. Sightscreens and other instadia advertisements raked in another $1.5 million. The average gate collections are believed to have been around Rupees 10 million ($267,000) per match.

Marketing of the World Cup soared to amazing peaks. The official suppliers reportedly paid $8 million, with Coca Cola pouring in $3.7 million plus $340,000 for hoardings. Visa, Wimpy's and Indian Overseas Bank paid $350,000 each. Others like Taj Group of Hotels, Indian Airlines, Tradewings, PCL Computers and Fuji Film offered various packages. International Management Group (IMG) shelled out $4 million for hospitality tents that they put up in 17 venues across India.

The prize money totalled £200,000 ($324,000), with the winners receiving £30,000 ($48,600), and the runners-up £20,000 ($32,400). The losing semi-finalists received £10,000 ($16,200) each, while the losing quarter-finalists took home £5,000 ($8,100) each. The award for the man-of-the-tournament was an Audi A4 car, which was won by Sri Lanka's scintillating opening batsman Sanath Jayasuriya.

Guarantee money of $405,000 each was paid to Test-playing nations, and $202,500 each to associate members. Even associate members that did not play this tournament received $162,000 each.

The teams were again divided into two groups. Group A comprised Australia, India, Kenya, Sri Lanka, West Indies and Zimbabwe. In Group B were England, Holland, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates. For the first time there was a quarter-final stage, and the teams that did not make it were Holland, Kenya, the United Arab Emirates and Zimbabwe. The semi-finals were contested between Australia and the West Indies, and India and Sri Lanka. Australia advanced to the final along with Sri Lanka, and the rest is history.

The final:
Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore, 17 March 1996
Sri Lanka won by 7 wickets
Australia: 241 for 7 wickets in 50 overs (Mark Taylor 74, Ricky Ponting 45, Michael Bevan 36 not out, Aravinda de Silva 3 for 42)
Sri Lanka: 245 for 3 wickets in 46.2 overs (Asanka Gurusinha 65, Aravinda de Silva 107 not out, Arjuna Ranatunga 47 not out)
Man of the Match: Aravinda de Silva
Player of the Tournament: Sanath Jayasuriya

(Author Indra Vikram Singh can be contacted on email

The Big Book of World Cup Cricket 1975-2011
ISBN 978-81-901668-4-3

Distributed in India by Variety Book Depot, Connaught Place, New Delhi, Phones + 91 11 23417175, 23412567

Available in leading bookshops, and online on several websites.

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