Australia and England were the earliest entrants to the world of cricket and they played against each other a lot. This constituted to the oldest rivalry in test cricket. Australia and England play each other once every two years for the coveted ashes trophy. It is held alternately in England and Australia. The competition is intense and the ashes matches draw more crowds even today than any other test match. Once Douglas jardine, the captain of the English team devised a plan to get batsmen out called the bodyline bowling, wherein the bowler bowls very short to the batsman with a packed leg side field. So the batsman has to either risk a physical injury or to lose his wicket trying to play the ball. Such is the intensity of the rivalry.
Another famous rivalry in international cricket is that between India and Pakistan. But the test matches though fiercely contested does not draw many crowds as the ashes. One day internationals between these teams are when the real intensity shows up. Crowds gather in large numbers wherever these two teams play. It is not looked as just a game; it is much more than that. It is a matter of pride. The popularity of one day matches between the two teams is so much that they played matches not only in India and Pakistan, but in various other neutral venues like sharjah and Toronto. The tournaments held at sharjah were a real treat to a viewer, with matches being played in flood lit grounds at nights. The organizers made huge profits because of this tournament.
In addition to these the trans-tasman rivalry is well publicized and the one day international series featuring Australia and New Zealand are very absorbing as well.
The annual tri nation ODI series held in Australia during January and February has become a regular affair. This is perhaps the longest tri nation series of all extending to over a month and a half; it tests a team’s consistency over a long period of time and their ability to maintain the intensity. Australia has won in majority of the editions.
Apart from these tournaments there are two multi nations tournament which is organized by the international cricket council. They are the world cup and the champion’s trophy.
Champion’s trophy was initially a knockout cup where a team had to win every single match it played to win the trophy, as simple as that. But the organizers could not afford to have it end so soon and made it a mini form of the world cup, wherein the teams are divided into pools and certain number of teams advanced to the next stages. This somewhat reduced the gloss which the knockout cup had earlier. This tournament is held once every two years in various cricket playing countries.
World cup is the ultimate glory a team can achieve. Played once every four years, world cup is the biggest and largely viewed cricket tournament. It features all the test playing nations and full member nations of the ICC who win the qualifying tournaments held before the world cup. People gather from all over the world in huge numbers and the atmosphere is nothing less than festive. The first three editions were held in England in 1975, 1979 and 1983 and then the subsequent editions in India and Pakistan in 1987, Australia in 1992, India, Pakistan and srilanka in 1996, England in 1999, Africa in 2003 and west Indies in 2007.
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