February 21, 2020
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Player's Pot Of Gold

More than just pride was at stake in the '92 World Cup

Player's Pot Of Gold
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THE fifth World Cup in Australia— to sustain the four- year tradition— should've been staged towards the end of '91, not beginning '92. But Australia, driven by the Packer culture of "Take it or leave it!", just would not hear of interrupting their multimillion dollar television linked programme of five Tests vs India, beginning Nov 29, '91 and ending Feb 5, '92. More so, because interwoven into that five - Test series was Packer's domestically prestigious Channel 9 Benson & Hedges World Series, running from December 6 to Jan 20! So the World Cup be damned— the W S C series had to be played first. Thus the Cup began as late as Feb 22, '92, only after India's fifth and final Test was over.

For all that, this event witnessed an astounding turn a round by Pakistan. It was Gavaskar alone who'd envisioned Imran's team beating master strategist Martin Crowe's Kiwis in the first semi-final at Auckland's Eden Park on March 21. Later, Sunny talked of how he "saw it in their eyes" and "got the message from their body language". Next, in the March 25 final at the M C G, when Ian Botham and Gooch came out to chase Pakistan's 249, Botham was adjudged out by New Zealand's B.L. Aldridge— caught by Moin Khan off Akram for a duck. As Botham tarried, Aamir Sohail, symbolising the new Pakistani insouciance, walked up from midwicket to inform 'Guy The Gorilla' that he should've sent his mother- in -law! It was the relatively unknown Inzamam who'd played a key role in Pakistan's progress . He followed up his 60 in the semis against the Kiwis with a fine 42 in the final. Imran had already heralded Inzy as "potentially the Paki Viv Richards". The King himself was not playing— his plea to make the '92 Cup his last hurrah denied by the West Indies Cricket Board.

Regarding matters economical, winners Pakistan received A$74,750 (A$68,750 as prize money, A$6,000 for Man of the Match). Losers England got A$48,750 (A$45,250, A$3,500). Even India, for finishing 7th (just ahead of Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe), got over sixteen grand. The total prize money paid out during this Cup came to A$2,84,000— compared to Reliance Cup's £99,300. The World Cup had, at long last, become worth winning, as for the first time sponsorship deals fetched the players their own pot of gold.

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