This is the richest World Cup of all. The champions will receive £2.43m and could trouser £2.6m if they win all their games before the final.
The total prize pot is £6.49m, an increase of 25 per cent on the 2011 tournament. While it demonstrates the depth of the game’s pockets thanks to television rights, it remains small fry compared with individual sports.
The 2014 Wimbledon singles champions, for instance, each received £1.6m from a total pot for the event of £25m. In golf, the British Open winner took home £975,000 from a total of £5.4m for four days’ work.
But it dwarfs what was on offer back in 1975 for the hastily arranged inaugural event, the charm of which has never faded. West Indies received £4,000 for winning, with runners-up Australia receiving £2,000. By today’s standards it was worth around £23,500. The world of professional sport has changed somewhat.
Sledging by poster 'not us' says Cricket Australia
Nobody, certainly not Cricket Australia, appears eager to claim responsibility for the posters that have appeared around the MCG.
They say: “Missing: Pair of balls. If found please return to the English cricket team. #missingballs.”
The posters have been pasted up around 200 yards from the Cricket Australia headquarters on Jolimont Street.
Sledging is being discouraged on the field during this tournament but the ICC has introduced no guidelines for trying to incite mental disintegration off it.
Sadly, Cricket Australia emphatically denied being behind the initiative. George Bailey, the hosts’ captain, professed neither to have seen nor heard of the campaign.
“Very witty, isn’t it?” he said with deep irony. “Who’s come up with that? Hungry Jack’s [burger chain] or something?”
Cricket World Cup 2015: 10 young players to watch
Cricket World Cup 2015: 10 young players to watch
1/10 Usman Ghani, 18, Afghanistan
At just over 18 years old, Ghani is the youngest player at the tournament, but the attacking opener already has an ODI century to his name. If the Aghans are to spring a shock, much will depend on him getting them off to a good start.
2/10 Pat Cummins, 21, Australia
With his wonderful action and searing pace, Cummins burst onto the scene when he took seven wickets as an 18-year-old Test debutant against South Africa. Terrible injuries have prevented him from adding to his solitary Test cap, but now the stage is set for Cummins to re-establish himself as one of cricket's hottest talents.
3/10 Mominul Haque, 23, Bangladesh
A compact left-handed batsman, Haque will occupy the No.3 spot in the Bangladeshi batting order. He has already made 24 ODI appearances, but thus far has enjoyed more success in the longer format - in 12 Test appearances he has plundered almost 1200 runs at 63.05, with four centuries.
4/10 Jos Buttler, 24, England
One of the genuine box-office talents in the England squad, Buttler's 121 against Sri Lanka last summer was the most eye-catching innings of the season. His keeping needs work, but as a mid- to lower-order batsman he has the talent to change the course of a game in the blink of the eye.
5/10 Akshar Patel, 21, India
One of the few positives of India's disastrous recent Tri-Series with Australia and England was the consistency of Patel, who was miserly and probing with his tight left-arm spin. He enjoyed a superb 2014 IPL season with 16 wickets and an economy rate of just 6.22 for Kings XI Punjab.
6/10 George Dockrell, 22, Ireland
Despite having been a mainstay of the Ireland side since his debut in 2010, and with four county seasons at Somerset under his belt, Dockrell is still only 22. The canny spinner was named the ICC Associate Player of the Year in 2012, and he has been touted to follow Eoin Morgan into England colours.
7/10 Kane Williamson, 24, New Zealand
Williamson is the most consistent performer in a dangerous New Zealand batting line-up, his devastating recent form in all forms of cricket cementing his reputation as one of the most exciting, talented batsmen in world cricket. Having recently had his action cleared, he can now resume bowling his useful off-spin.
8/10 Ahmed Shehzad, 23, Pakistan
Despite his tender age, Shehzad boasts a wealth of experience, with over 50 ODI appearances and six centuries to his name. More of a classical, patient opener than a David Warner-esque pinch-hitter, he will lay the foundation from which Pakistan's big-hitting middle order can tee off.
9/10 Quinton de Kock, 22, South Africa
Since making his debut just after his 20th birthday, De Kock has been an aggressive, punchy performer at the top of the South African order, plundering six hundreds in just 36 matches. A tidy gloveman, who by taking over keeping duties has allowed AB De Villiers to focus on his batting, to devastating effect.
10/10 Tendai Chatara, 23, Zimbabwe
An athletic opening bowler with a curious, idiosyncratic action, Chatara takes the ball away from the right-hander at decent pace and is Zimbabwe's key strike bowler. His maiden Test five-wicket haul set up a famous victory over Pakistan in 2013.
The true greats are no longer here to enthral us
None of the participants in this tournament can yet be counted as World Cup greats. The game might have made huge advances in terms especially of batting technique but all the records on this particular stage belong to past players.
The two leading World Cup scorers playing are the estimable Sri Lankans Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene, who began on 991 runs and 975 runs respectively. But that puts them only in 14th and 17th places on the all-time list behind a top five of Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting, Brian Lara, Sanath Jayasuriya and Jacques Kallis. Legends all.
Similarly, the leading tournament wicket-taker among the bowlers here is Lasith Malinga with 31, putting him in 17th behind a top five of Glenn McGrath, Muttiah Muralitharan, Wasim Akram, Chaminda Vaas and Javagal Srinath.
England’s leading scorer is Graham Gooch, whose 897 runs across three tournaments put him 22nd; Ian Botham’s 30 wickets place him 20th.
Both Tendulkar’s 2,278 runs and McGrath’s 71 wickets look untouchable until at least 2027.
New Zealand backed to go all the way to a first final
New Zealand are in the unaccustomed position of third favourites. It may be what they require to go one better and make the final.
Only they, Australia and Pakistan have reached the semis six times, but New Zealand have never gone further. South Africa, semi-finalists three times, have also never made a final.
England, semi-finalists five times (but not since 1992), have reached three finals without winning.Reuse content