50 years of Cricket World Cup complete: ICC commemorates major milestone in cricket history: The International Cricket Council (ICC) celebrated the 50th anniversary of the first Cricket World Cup. On June 20, 1973, Cricket Women’s World Cup proceedings began in England.
It will be the starting point of a five-week tribute to the anniversary event, which will run until July 28, the date of the first Women’s World Cup final between England and Australia. The ICC will publish content celebrating the first Cricket World Cup. In this, tribute will be paid to the stars of that time.
Two full years before the inaugural Men’s Cricket World Cup, which was held in England in 1975, the competition was the first cricket World Cup in terms of competition. This in itself sets cricket apart from other major sporting events.
“The face of women’s cricket” is Rachael Heyhoe-Flint.:
The tournament consisted of seven teams, the hosts England, Australia, New Zealand, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Young England, and an International XI. The event was sponsored by British businessman Sir Jack Hayward, who financially supported the event with GBP 40,000.
Although the first match of the tournament between Jamaica and New Zealand was called off before a ball was thrown, the World Cup had its fair share of cricket. England finally won the coveted trophy after defeating Australia by 92 runs in the championship game on July 28 at Edgbaston. Rachael Hayhoe-Flint, the victorious captain, received the trophy from Her Royal Highness Princess Anne.
The celebrations started when the ICC shared several images of the event on the ICC social media channels. These include a photo of former Jamaican cricketer Paulette Lynch with Hayhoe-Flint. The winning captain appears in several images.
Several former players shared their World Cup memories.
England’s Enid Bakewell was the top run-scorer with 264 runs at an average of 88. She had the fondest memories of the event and praised Hayhoe-Flint for being a true visionary who fought to promote the women’s game.
“My main memories of 1973 are seeing my father with the rug over his arm coming towards me after marking a century! After England won the final, we were introduced to Princess Anne, who later awarded me an MBE at Buckingham Palace.
“Rachael Heyhoe-Flint was the true superwoman who fought to promote women’s soccer. She took her ukulele to Lord’s and played it in the street to let people know that women played cricket.
“She was a true inspiration on and off the field.”
Her teammate, Lynne Thomas, remembers the camaraderie that grew between the players. With 263 runs at an average of 87.66, Lynne Thomas was the second highest run scorer in the World Cup.
“It was a great honor for me to represent England at the first World Cup in 1973. I felt that I was also representing my home country of Wales, of which I am very proud. It was a highly successful tournament played in true sportsmanship,” added Thomas. “The hosting of the World Cup in 1973 put a tournament format on the women’s cricket calendar for the first time. It was held every four years and is still played today.”
She also thought that the triumph of the World Cup opened the door for next women's competitions.
“I think her success has contributed to the formation of other women’s world events like the T20 World Cup. Being presented to Her Royal Highness Princess Anne before the final and holding the Cup after the presentation were also highlights.
“I have fond memories of the happy times the team spent together. The closeness of the team members, how we mixed and the fun we had. We all enjoy playing cricket and the friendships we form will last forever.”
Louise Browne, the captain of Trinidad and Tobago at the time, spoke about how international competition helped women’s cricket gain popularity across the Caribbean.
“ It doesn’t seem like 50 years have passed since I was asked to lead the Trinidad and Tobago women’s team to the inaugural Cricket World Cup in 1973. Four members of our team had attended Cricket Week in Malvern, England in 1971. , but the rest of the team had not traveled beyond the borders of the Caribbean,” Browne added.
“In that inaugural World Cup, we came fifth out of the seven participating teams, with wins only against Young England and Jamaica. However, our participation brought recognition to women’s cricket, not only in Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica, but throughout the Caribbean region.
“It’s a pleasure to know that women can now play cricket professionally. Franchise tournaments being established around the world have added excitement to the game.
I hope that the players present continue to be true ambassadors of our sport and represent their country or region with the passion and pride that we did. Women’s cricket in Trinidad and Tobago, the Caribbean and the world still has a long way to go, but we are on the right track.”
Margaret Jennings, who represented Australia at the event, found the event an invaluable experience due to its novelty. She added that the World Cup made several players feel like “real international cricketers”.
“It was my first time traveling to the UK along with most of my teammates. Previously, tours were once every 10 years, but here we were playing against the best teams in the world before anyone thought of it,” Jennings said.
“It was a wonderful feeling to play against different countries and it gave us all experiences that money couldn’t buy. Thanks to Rachel Hayhoe-Flint and Sir Jack Hayward we were treated well and we all felt like real international cricketers in 1973.
“The concept of playing all the teams was something to savor and the last game against England, where we were beaten for real, it didn’t matter as cricket was the winner.”
Similarly, her compatriot Sharon Tredrea called it the biggest thing to happen in women’s cricket at the time.
“This was the biggest thing to happen in women’s cricket, a World Cup format, before the men, none of which would have happened without the incredible work of Rachel Heyhoe-Flint and her friend, Sir Jack Hayward, who sponsored the whole event. tournament.
“For me, representing your country is a very proud moment. Having had the opportunity to participate in this World Cup, now 50 years ago, was a privilege. The competition during the World Cup was fierce, but it was played in a very sporting manner, with a lot of respect for the opponents. This World Cup showcased the best of the best from around the world and opened the eyes of many who dismissed women’s cricket.
“The preparation, once we got to England, was incredible. It was like nothing any of us had experienced before. News articles were published every day in the major newspapers, and to have the opportunity to play on the main courses in the UK was amazing.”
Tredrea believed that over the years the Women’s World Cup became a catalyst for regular international competitions for female cricketers.
“It created a tournament that has lasted 50 years, although the format has changed with the times, now 50 overs, not 60, but it was the catalyst for more regular international competitions and the precursor to the game we see now, with professional women. cricketers from all over the world. I was lucky to go on and play in three more World Cups, winning all three as a member of the Australian team.
“Although it was bitterly disappointing to lose that first final to England, the media loved it and it provided unprecedented publicity for women’s football globally.”
“Today is not just a commemoration of the massive leap that was made in women’s cricket 50 years ago, but a celebration of the women who pioneered the way forward for all women who love the game, everywhere.
“It’s not just a celebration of 50 years of the Women’s Cricket World Cup, but the first Cricket World Cup. Women were the first to lead this way and we are proud to be at a time when women’s cricket has advanced further than ever, due to those first steps taken in 1973.
“The global growth of women’s cricket is one of the ICC’s six strategic priority projects. Part of this is our mission to increase the number of women cricket fans and participants in the game around the world and to offer ICC women’s events of equal standing and recognition to the men’s events.
“The launch of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in 2009, the professionalization of women’s cricket around the world and the exciting number of global franchise T20 leagues is the fruit of a seed that was planted many years ago.
“We look forward to many more decades of even greater progress and success stories for women’s football.”
For more information, visit ICC Cricket.