The first attempt at any kind of world championship was in 1912, when a three-way series was arranged between the then current Test playing nations, Australia, England and South Africa. Dogged by poor weather, the experiment was dropped and not repeated until 1975, when, following the success of domestic one-day competitions, the six Test-playing nations (England, Australia, New Zealand, West Indies, India and Pakistan) were joined by Sri Lanka and East Africa in the first World Cup in England. A resounding success, the tournament was repeated in 1979 and 1983 in England, before moving abroad, maintaining a four-year cycle. The 2007 World Cup, held in the Caribbean for the first time, was criticised by many for its lengthy format and poor management. The 2011 World Cup returned to the subcontinent after 15 years and the tournament was a success, buoyed by the performances of the host nations and smaller teams like Ireland. The next edition will be played in Australia and New Zealand in 2015.
Martin Williamson