Once the adventures in whites got over (or, in earlier days, during the Test series), the same teams took field in yellow © IANS (File Photo)
Once the adventures in whites got over (or, in earlier days, during the Test series), the same teams took field in yellow © IANS (File Photo)

Indian winters, or, in other words, Australian summers, have always meant hard-fought Test series followed by keenly contested tournaments in coloured attire. However, most of these tournaments involved multiple (three, often five) finals. Abhishek Mukherjee elaborates on why this year’s tournament is a rarity.

For cricket-lovers, Indian winters have been synonymous to setting the alarm clock at five in the morning. Winters were synonymous to the warmth of quilts and Richie Benaud’s dignified, unbiased voice. The Test series that went on till noon with the Craig McDermotts and Glenn McGraths and Shane Warnes on the prowl.

Once the adventures in whites got over (or, in earlier days, during the Test series), the same teams took field in yellow. Unlike their counterparts across the world, One-Day International (ODI) tournaments in Australia were long; they followed the same pattern, with each side playing each other four (even five) times before a best-of-three final.

In 43 years of hosting ODIs, Australia has hosted only 25 bilateral series, the most recent being the five-match series against South Africa. Four of these (including the first ODI ever and the World Cricket Tsunami Appeal match) were one-match contests; and only one of these (between Hong Kong and Papua New Guinea earlier this season) was a neutral series; two series (the World Cricket Tsunami Appeal match and the ICC Super Series ODIs) involved non-international teams.

There have also been 33 tournaments (including World Cup 1992) including more than one side. One of these, in 1994-95, was supposed to be played between Australia, England, and Zimbabwe. The organisers did not take the two touring teams seriously, and put an Australia A side in the mix; to add to the confusion, players were being moved from one Australian team to another throughout the tournament. The two teams met in the final, which mean that though there were ODIs throughout the tournament, the final was merely a List A encounter.

Best-of-five finals in Australia

Multi-nation tournaments in Australia also involved multiple finals. Though three has been the usual count, there have been two best-of-five finals as well (both of which involved Australia, and ended in 3-1 results).

Season

Teams

Champion

Runners-up

Final margin

1980-81

Aus, Ind, NZ

Australia

New Zealand

3-1

1981-82

Aus, Pak, WI

West Indies

Australia

3-1

 

One-off finals in Australia

It may sound incredible, but one-off finals have been as rare as best-of-five encounters. In fact, including the 1984-85 World Series Cup and the 1992 World Cup, only thrice has a tournament in Australia resulted in a single-match final.

Season

Tournament

Teams

Champion

Runners-up

1984-85

World Series Cup

Aus, Eng, Ind, NZ, Pak, SL, WI

India

Pakistan

1986-87

Aus, Eng, Pak, WI

England

Pakistan

1991-92

World Cup (co-hosted with New Zealand)

Aus, Eng, Ind, NZ, Pak, SA, SL, WI, Zim

Pakistan

England

2014-15

Aus, Eng, Ind

 

Note:

–  Pakistan has played all three one-off finals.

–  Of the three teams to play the upcoming tournament, Australia is the only one to have never qualified for a one-off final.

(Abhishek Mukherjee is the Chief Editor and Cricket Historian at CricketCountry. He blogs here and can be followed on Twitter here.)