2015 Cricket World Cup Diary: Millions for the winners as TV revenue raises the prize pot to once undreamt of heights

 

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The Independent Online

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?”

 

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.

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