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Days of Glory
Once a novelty, the one-day showcase now delivers the best contest on earth, thanks in large part to the passion and excellence of the game's Asian exponents
By TIM BLAIR and APARISIM GHOSH


Sachin Tendulkar. AP

A hard leather ball leaves the bowler's hand, flies down the pitch and is met by a swinging bat made from willow. For more than 200 years, this has been the essential, elemental contest in the sport of cricket, which began in England and has spread to every area of the globe influenced by the United Kingdom. There remains one other constant: the game's spiritual home, Lord's cricket ground, in London.

On June 20, in the final of this year's cricket World Cup, Lord's will witness--as it has been doing since 1814--another episode in that struggle between bat and ball. But all else about cricket has changed: a shortened, one-day version of the game, first played internationally nearly 30 years ago, now forms the basis of the World Cup, held every four years to decide the best cricket nation on earth; colored clothing and night games, first seen in Australia in the late 1970s, are now commonplace.

Some of the changes have been more significant than bright costumes taking the place of white flannel. In 1975, Sri Lanka competed in the very first World Cup; the team returned home bleeding and broken. An encounter with Australian fast bowler Jeff Thomson saw three players carried from the field with injuries. In 1996, in the last World Cup, Sri Lanka began as 100-1 outsiders. But the underdogs made it through the preliminary rounds, the quarter finals and the semifinals, then crushed 1987 Cup winners Australia in the final. A new power had arrived in the game.

That power isn't limited to the field of play--as dynamic as Sri Lankan batsmen Sanath Jayasuriya, Romesh Kaluwitharana and Aravinda de Silva can be. Over the past decade, cricket has reaped an economic bonanza in Asia, fueled by the on-field success of the World Cup holders as well as victories by the more established cricket countries Pakistan and India. Traditional cricket powers like Australia, England and the West Indies have been forced to alter their tactics to keep up with the teams from the subcontinent.

PAGE 1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5




Daily

May 17, 1999

Days of Glory
Once a novelty, the one-day showcase now delivers the best contest on earth, thanks in large part to the passion and excellence of the game's Asian exponents

Who's Who
A look at some of the game's top batsmen

World Cup Finals
The memorable matches which set the stage for World Cup 1999


This edition's table of contents | TIME Asia home

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