The International Cricket Council (ICC) Champions Trophy

The ICC Champions Trophy Logo

Cricket is one of the most popular sports in India. The country is an avid participant in both domestic and international competitions. On a global scale, few countries play cricket at the international level, but it is still included among the most popular sports for betting. This is probably due to the massive population of the Indian subcontinent, where there are millions of devotees in India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh. 

The ICC Champions Trophy stands next to the Cricket World Cup in importance. This is why it is also popularly known as the 'Mini World Cup'. With the introduction of the ICC Champions Trophy, cricket scaled to a different level altogether. Keep reading to learn more.

The Birth of the ICC Champions Trophy

The tournament was initiated back in 1998 under the name โ€œICC KnockOut Tournamentโ€. It was initially planned as a short biannual tournament with a purely knockout format. This distinguished it from the Cricket World Cup. 

Four years after its birth, in 2002, the tournament name changed to the ICC Champions Trophy, which remains to this day. The format also changed to a round-robin format followed by a knockout stage. 

The initial idea of this short tournament was to obtain and use funds to improve the sport in non-test playing nations. The very first ICC Champions Trophy tournament was conducted in Bangladesh and the second was held 2 years later in Kenya. Both were well-received and commercially very successful. As a result, the organisers decided to keep it going. Later on, it was also held in countries such as India and England to generate revenue for the ICC. The ICC Champions Trophy has so far taken place in seven different countries, with England hosting it three times.

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The Inauguration of the ICC Champions Trophy

The ICC Champions Trophy was officially called the Wills International Cup during its inauguration tournament in 1998. The tournament lasted just over a week from 24th October to 1st November. That year witnessed South Africa emerging as the first winner of the tournament. The tournament was hosted in Bangabandhu National Stadium, Dhaka, Bangladesh. Although Bangladesh hosted the tournament, it did not participate because it was not a test playing nation back in 1998.

The tournament was considered to be a mini world cup competition as all the teams taking part were full members of the ICC. It received a lot of attention. This was the first tournament, besides the Cricket World Cup, which involved all the test-playing nations. There was some chaos during that inaugural tournament since floods threatened to disrupt proceedings. However, it all went smoothly, and around 10% of the revenue earned was donated for to flood relief missions.

The inaugural match

The first-ever match of this tournament was held between Zimbabwe and New Zealand on 24th October. It was a 50 over game where New Zealand battered Zimbabwe. It was an intense game where Zimbabwe scored 258 runs for seven wickets, whereas New Zealand managed 260 runs for five wickets. 

The Success Of The ICC Champions Trophy

The journey of the ICC Champions Trophy has been somewhat rocky throughout the years. It ran every 2 years until 2006. The 2008 competition was postponed until 2009, after which it was decided to hold the tournament every 4 years. The next competition was held in 2013, after which it was supposed to be discontinued. However, that tournament was immensely popular and successful. Due to this, it was decided to bring back the tournament, with the next instalment in 2017. However, it was subsequently cancelled once more in 2018. At this time, the International Cricket Council announced that the existing T20 World Cup would replace the ICC Champions Trophy.

The T20 World Cup launched in 2007 and has been held every two years since 2010. However, due to the Covid pandemic things have changed again. The 2020 T20 World Cup was postponed until 2021. The ICC Champions Trophy was reinstated in 2021, with play postponed until 2022, when it will be held in Australia.

The ICC Champions Trophy Playing format

The format of the ICC Champions Trophy has undergone many changes throughout the years. There are many differences between the ICC Champions Trophy and the World Cup. The latter continues for more than a month, while the former is a short tournament that lasts for around two and a half weeks. Around eight teams participate in the ICC Champions Trophy tournament, whereas the World Cup constitutes ten teams.

The initial Knockout tournaments in 1998 and 2000 saw the losing team in every match eliminated. During 2002 and 2004, a total of 12 teams participated. They played in a round-robin format. There were four pools of three teams each. The reigning team of each pool proceeded towards the semi-final. Since 2009, only the eight ICC ODI top-ranking teams have taken part, again in a round-robin pool stage followed y knowckout games.

Summary Of Every ICC Champions Trophy Season So Far

1998 ICC knock out tournament

The inaugural season of the ICC Champions Trophy took place at Bangabandhu National Stadium, Bangladesh. The final was an intense match between South Africa and the West Indies. The former overtook the latter, which is significant as this was South Africa's first and only win in an ICC Champions Trophy event.

Winner: South Africa

Most Valuable Player: Jacques Kallis

Most Wickets: Jacques Kallis

Most runs: Philo Wallace

2000 ICC Knock out tournament

The matches of this season were conducted at Gymkhana Club Ground, Kenya. All of the test playing countries participated. New Zealand won this year's tournament. However, they have not managed to win any ICC Champions Trophy since then.

Winner: New Zealand

Most Wickets: Sourav Ganguly

Most runs: Venkatesh Prasad

2002 ICC Champions Trophy

The matches of this season were conducted in Sri Lanka. Ten ICC test playing nations participated this year. The Indian team, led by Sourav Ganguly, was in excellent form during this time. However, the final match between India and Sri Lanka was spoilt due to rain, and they had to conduct the game twice. Finally, both the teams were declared joint winners.

Winner: Joint (India and Sri Lanka)

Most Wickets: Muttiah Muralitharan

Most runs: Virender Sehwag

2004 ICC Champions Trophy

The 2004 ICC Champions Trophy was conducted in England. Once again the 10 ICC test-playing nations participated along with Kenya and the United States. It was similar to a knockout series. This implied if a team lost even one match in the group stage, they would be eliminated. West Indies finally defeated England and took the trophy home.

Winner: West Indies

Most Valuable Player: Ramnaresh Sarwan

Most Wickets: Andrew Flintoff

Most runs: Marcus Trescothick

2006 ICC Champions Trophy

This year's tournament was held in India and followed a different format. A total of 8 teams participated. It lasted from 7th October to 5th November. It was a very exciting but rather unpredictable season where no Asian countries managed to make it to the semi-finals. Finally, Australia crushed West Indies in an intense final match and took the Champions Trophy home.

Winner: Australia

Most Valuable Player: Chris Gayle

Most Wickets: Jerome Taylor

Most runs: Chris Gayle

2009 ICC Champions Trophy

This tournament was conducted in South Africa and lasted for over two weeks. It was supposed to have taken place in Pakistan. However, the venue was changed because many countries refused to visit Pakistan as they were concerned about their safety and security. Instead of one, there were two venues this time - Liberty Life Wanderers in Johannesburg and Supersport Park in Centurion.

Winner: Australia

Most Valuable Player: Ricky Ponting

Most Wickets: Wayne Parnell

Most runs: Ricky Ponting

2013 ICC Champions Trophy

This was one of the most significant seasons of the ICC Champions Trophy. This was because India bagged its first solo victory against England. The 2013 Tournament was hosted by two countries - England and Wales. England became the first nation to host ICC Champions Tournament twice.

Winner: India

Most Valuable Player: Shikhar Dhawan

Most Wickets: Wayne Parnell

Most runs: Shikhar Dhawan

2017 ICC Champions Trophy

During the initiation of this year's tournament, the Ariana Grande concert attack in Manchester attack took place. As a result, match security was tightened. Once again, England and Wales were the hosts. This made England the first country to host the tournament three times. The final match was an intense one between arch-rivals India and Pakistan. However, Pakistan crushed India in the finals and took the trophy home.

Winner: Pakistan

Most Valuable Player: Hasan Ali

Most Wickets: Hasan Ali

Most runs: Shikhar Dhawan

ICC Champions Trophy Records and Stats

Cricket is a sport that loves statistics, especially with regard to batting and bowling figures. The ICC Champions Trophy has witnessed many ground-breaking records by talented players over the years. Some of them are listed below:

  • India is currently reigning as the best team overall in the charts.
  • Chris Gayle of the West Indies has proved his unparalleled batting skills by scoring the most tournament runs - 791 runs n 17 matches.
  • New Zealander Kyle Millis holds the record for most wickets taken throughout the tournament - 28 wickets in 15 matches.

Conclusion

The ICC Champions Trophy has influenced the way cricket is seen and played on a global scale. It is one of the oldest and most important One-Day International (ODI) tournaments in the history of cricket. It is the time when all the cricket teams get a chance to improve and showcase their core squad. India and Australia are the two teams that have repeatedly performed well and established their foothold in this Tournament series. Thus, it has rightfully been regarded as the second most entertaining and significant ODI tournament after the Cricket World Cup.


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Gian Chacko

Sports enthusiast with love for cricket, football and sports in general. Holds 10+ years of following and writing about sports and lately also betting.