After nearly two months of crash-bang IPL, cricket will return to its international colours with the ICC Champions Trophy to be played in England from June 6-23. Once touted as the 'mini World Cup' and a brainchild of then ICC president Jagmohan Dalmiya, the tournament's main aim was the development of cricket in the non-Test playing nations and raise funds for the same purpose. But after this seventh edition of the tournament, there will be no Champions Trophy as the ICC moves towards hosting one championship for each of the game's three formats from 2015.
Over the past 15 years, the tournament took on different names, experimented with different formats, gave teams like USA an international platform and of course produced different winners. Here is a look back at the history of the Champions Trophy.
1998-99 - Wills International Cup in Dhaka, Bangladesh
With the intention to up the profile of the game in non-Test playing countries, the first edition was held in Bangladesh with the host nation not participating. The top seven ODI teams competed in the knockout competition with the eighth team being New Zealand, who beat Zimbabwe in the pre-tournament knockout qualifier. All the games were played in Dhaka and with slow and low pitches, there was not much exciting cricket for the crowds, but the whole of Bangladesh turned up in Dhaka for the games. South Africa won the first tournament with the 23-year-old allrounder Jacques Kallis putting up strong performances in the semi-final and final against West Indies. India's Sachin Tendulkar downed Australia in the quarter-finals in Dhaka with a majestic 141 off 128 balls and 4 for 38 with the ball but India lost to West Indies in the semis.
2000-01 - ICC KnockOut Trophy in Nairobi, Kenya
Keeping with the goal of popularising the game, the second edition was held in Kenya with three qualifying games ahead of the quarter-finals. Kenya were knocked out by eventual finalists India, who were surprised by the Chris Cairns-inspired New Zealand in the summit clash. Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly set the tone of the final scoring 117 after he had hit 141 against South Africa in the semis. Cairns, however, had other plans and led his team to its only major achievement in an ICC tournament. The tournament also saw the debut of Yuvraj Singh and Zaheer Khan and the duo played a big role in ousting the mighty Australians in the quarter-finals.
2002-03 - ICC Champions Trophy in Sri Lanka
The knockout format was scrapped and with round robin matches employed and the named changed to the ICC Champions Trophy, but this edition was not very well received as it was played in damp Sri Lanka during the monsoon time. Even Sri Lanka ousting the much-fancied Australians in the semi-finals did not add to praise of the tournament. Twelve teams participated with Netherlands and Kenya getting a go at their international counterparts. Organising the event five months before the 2033 World Cup was ill-advised and even though the use of technology was experimented by the ICC - due to which Pakistan's Shoaib Malik became the first victim of an lbw decision deferred to the third umpire - the tournament on the whole proved to be a dud. The trophy was shared between Sri Lanka and India after torrential showers for two days left the final unfinished.
2004 - ICC Champions Trophy in England
The 2004 edition was further marred by organisational slip-ups and due to high ticket prices, early starts and autumn weather of England, even the crowds stayed away except for the final in which Ian Bradshaw and Courtney Brown snatched an improbable victory for West Indies against hosts England. Over a period of 16 days, 15 games very packed in for the 12 teams. Apart from the ten Test nations, Kenya and USA competed in the event played at Edgbaston, The Rose Bowl and The Oval. India and Pakistan met in the group stage and Shoaib Akhtar took four wickets in Pakistan's three-wicket win at The Oval that knocked India out of the tournament.
2006-07 - ICC Champions Trophy in India
The league format was once again changed but the highlight of the tournament was the all-conquering Australia capturing the one piece of silverware that had eluded them. Damien Martyn was in terrific form throughout the tournament with young guns likes Nathan Bracken, Mitchell Johnson and Shane Watson bursting into the international scene in style. West Indies, the defending champions, reached the final as well courtesy Chris Gayle and Jerome Taylor who were the highest run-getter and wicket-taker respectively of the tournament. The surprising factor in the tourney was the pitches at Mohali, Ahmedabad, Jaipur and Mumbai where the games were played which offered major assistance to pace bowlers, unlike the conventional subcontinental pitches. The tournament also witnessed no Asian team in the semi-finals of any major ICC tournament since the 1975 World Cup.
2008-09 - ICC Champions Trophy in South Africa
After a lengthy delay due to several teams' reluctance to visit Pakistan who were the initial the hosts in 2008, the event was shifted to South Africa and played in 2009. Australia triumphed once again beating New Zealand by six wickets in the final with India failing to make it to the semis second time in a row. India-Pakistan met in the group stages with Shoaib Malik's 128 helping Pakistan set 302 which India failed to chase down despite Rahul Dravid's 76. In the semi-finals, Australia dispatched England by nine wickets while New Zealand knocked Pakistan out in the other courtesy a five-wicket win which owed plenty to Grant Elliott's 75 not out in a successful chase of 234 at Johannesburg.
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