Almanac Book Review: Ruling The World, The Story of the 1992 Cricket World Cup.



The fifth Cricket World Cup in 1992 saw immense changes from what had been seen in the previous four editions of the tournament. Coloured clothing, white balls and day/night matches, for several years a standard of Australian cricket, would be seen at one-day cricket’s showpiece event for the first time. While the previous four editions featured two groups of four, in 1992 everyone would play everyone once before the finals. Plus, a major nation was to return after 22 years in cricketing isolation…


Jonathan Northall has written a thoroughly comprehensive look back at the 1992 World Cup jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand. The drama surrounding South Africa’s late entry to the tournament that serves as the book’s introduction is well told. While South Africa had been re-admitted to the International Cricket Council (ICC) in July of 1991, they were told a place in the World Cup of February/March 1992 would not be available. The World Cup committee had other ideas. South Africa’s inclusion was rubber stamped on October 23rd 1991, unthinkable in this day when teams and schedules are set in stone much earlier.


After a recap of previous World Cups, Northall then takes us live into the tournament with each of the 39 matches described in great detail. The magnificence, innovation and ultimate disappointment of the New Zealand campaign, led by the captaincy, leadership and batting of Martin Crowe. South Africa’s return, the many stories within, and the heartbreak of the rain rules in place that derailed their semi-final. The ups and downs of the England campaign. Pakistan’s early struggles before turning it on at the right time. The lacklustre Australian effort.


Some of the best tales surround the games in regional areas. Ballarat, Berri, Mackay and Albury hosted World Cup games in 1992 yet these venues haven’t even had a look in for domestic cricket for many years. The stories of the Berri curator, the Sri Lankan crowd who travelled to Ballarat and the attempts to dry the Mackay ground with a helicopter make for great reading.


Northall spoke to many of the World Cup participants and the quotes from the likes of New Zealand’s Gavin Larsen and Dipak Patel, South Africa’s Jonty Rhodes, Mark Rushmere and Meyrick Pringle, Zimbabwe’s John Traicos and Mark Burmester, England’s Gladstone Small and Australia’s Tom Moody add greatly to the match reports. Kepler Wessels contributes the foreword. Additional colour is added with the recollections of fans who attended the games and shared their memories. I was lucky enough to have my memories of being at the MCG for the Australia v West Indies game included, all in a paragraph on page 264.


All match scorecards are included as well as team and partnership stats to make this a complete record of a tournament that helped launch cricket into a new era. As a 12 year old this World Cup completely captured my attention, the excitement of the first World Cup in Australasia and my first experience in watching the South African and Zimbabwean teams made this a very exciting time to follow the great game. This book does a fantastic job in capturing a very different time in cricket history and is a fantastic walk down memory lane on the eve of the 2019 Cricket World Cup, which will be the first tournament since 1992 to employ the everyone plays everyone format, albeit sadly by reducing the number of participants from the previous six World Cups. Also includes some wonderful photos from the World Cup and other great stories around the official song “Who’ll Rule the World” and the controversial World Cup eve dinner.


Enjoyed this look back at a time when India weren’t generating 81 cents of every dollar in the cricket economy, when a cigarette company could pour millions into sport and when the 50 over game was king. Well played J.Northall.


About Luke Reynolds

Cricket and Collingwood tragic. Twitter: @crackers134


  1. Ta Luke.

    We were the reigning title holders, but were never in the race.

    The Kiwis were the surprise packet. The Kenyan born Dipak Patel, who i remember reading about making his county debut for Worcestershire back in 1976, was a revelation opening the bowling for New Zealand. Martin Crowe led so well until tearing his hamstring.

    South Africa cruelled out of the tournament they may have won.

    Pakistan struggling at first then hitting their straps, superbly led by Imran Khan.

    The Windies in decline on their downward spiral from which they’ve never recovered.

    Gee whizz it was a long time ago. Anyhow the 2019 World cup is almost on us.Enjoy.


  2. Thanks for this, Crackers.
    I am now really looking forward to reading this, and plan to do so while watching the forthcoming World Cup.

    One of the tragedies of ever-condensed international tours is the loss of matches at country and minor venues. Berri! Can you imagine? Just extraordinary!

  3. Dave Brown says

    Definitely on the “to read” list Luke. Love everything about that world cup – the tops, the venues, the Inzamam, England losing another final. As much as people sometimes scratch their heads at Mssrs Duckworth and Lewis they should look at the systems that preceded it with equal parts wonder and horror.

  4. DBalassone says

    I was there for that final in late March to cheer Pakistan on. It was quite touching to see veterans such as Imran Khan and Javed Miandad have their moment of glory. I recall they were 2/33 of 17 overs at one stage, before Imran and Javed rescued the innings and then Inzuman and Wasim added the finishing touches. And Botham’s duck was just beautiful as well – the night before he walked out of a funcion, objecting to Gerry Connolly’s impression of the Queen which seemed a bit precious, so he copped plenty from the big crowd.

    Despite Australian misfiring (after a very long summer) it was a great tournament. Another highlight was Greatbatch getting NZ off to a flyers on those smaller NZ grounds. Always thought that man changed the course of one day cricket but never got his due. Look at how Sri Lanka approached the 1996 World with their openers going nuts in the early overs. And then a few years later Gilly came and the format was changed forever, almost indirectly resulting in the demise of the ODI and the rise of the T20.

    Another highlight of ’92 was Miandad’s innings in the semi final against NZ. Good article Luke, I’ll check out this book.

  5. Rulebook says

    Thanks Luke your last paragraph so poignant and true.Martin Crowe leadership was brilliant agree totally with,DB re Greatbatch and yep wasn’t shattered when the poms lost.The incredible umpiring decision to give,
    Geoff Marsh not out v SA is another vivid memory

  6. Luke Reynolds says

    Glen – reigning title holders and hot favourites, yet Australia never gave a yelp. We finally seemed to get the right lineup at the end of the tournament (dropping the out of form Geoff Marsh and basically Test only players Mark Taylor and Merv Hughes). Still think Simon O’Donnell would have made a difference.

    Smokie- I’m pretty sure the only reason I’ve ever heard of Berri is because of this World Cup! I attended a couple of Victorian one-day games at Ballarat’s Eastern Oval in the early 2000’s, so disappointing these type of games aren’t played there now.

    Dave- agreed, D/L is far superior than anything that came before. The Inzamam, what a way to introduce yourself to the world!

    Damian – would have been incredible to have been at that 1992 Final. I was at the 2015 World Cup Final, one of the most memorable occaisions I’ve ever attended. The Gerry Connolly night is well covered in the book.

    Rulebook- also was well and truly barracking for Pakistan in the final. That Marsh decision was atrocious, though we still got flogged anyway.

  7. Michael Viljoen says

    Some great memories! I was also there for the Final. However, I remember Inzamam as really being the guts and backbone of the innings, more than just adding the final touches.

    Where is Berri ?

  8. Michael Viljoen says

    The shirts were horrendously unforgettable. I’m glad they’re on the front cover.

    I bought a South African shirt, which I later got signed by Jonty Rhodes, Daryl Cullinan, and Makaya Ntini. I’ve still got it.

    My greatest memory – The only place I knew to buy shirts was at the MCG. So I went past the souvenir stand outside the ground before the West Indies v Pakistan game, just to buy a South African shirt. They said they didn’t have any shirts in my size, so they sent me into the ground with a “pass-in” just to buy a shirt from the souvenir shop inside the ground. So I effectively got a free ticket to go inside.

    Originally I’d had a date line up with my new girlfriend. But I had to stand her up, as I effectively was given a free ticket to a World Cup game. I was really very close to being given the chop that day, but we’re still now married.

  9. DB, i forgot Botham’s ‘tanty’ re Gerry Connolly. I haven’t forgotten his duck in the opening over of the final.

    This was England’s second consecutive defeat in a World Cup final, third in four events. Then again their ‘victory’ over South Africa sent them on the way, leaving a wondrous Q? in some minds.

    Luke, jog my memory re SO’D: i’m having a seniors moment. He’d retired after the 91-92 season ?

    Imran Khan confirmed his place in history this tournament. Pakistan has produced many great cricketers, but he is their greatest leader. This is a chap who made his international debut back in 1971, injuries meant he was pretty much unable to bowl, yet with bat and brain he lead his team to a superb victory. They’d only won one of their first five matches, then knocked off the hosts at the WACA before becoming the fourth nation to win the World Cup.

    Of course it would be remiss not to mention Zimbabwe beating England in Albury. Albury, Ballarat, Berri and Mackay all hosted a match, though rain reduced the India v Sri Lanka encounter at Mackay to just two deliveries! Has Mackay ever hosted another international cricket match?


  10. DBalassone says

    Michael, you’ve aroused my curiosity, so I’ve digged out the scorecard. Imran and Javed took the score from 2/24 to 3/163, so I think they rebuilt the innings after a very slow start. Inzuman and Wasim certainly accelerated the innings in the last ten overs. I recall some stunning shots towards the end of the innings that thrilled the crowd. Inzuman also played a vital role in the semi-final win against NZ – a big partnership with Javed Miandad.

    Another interesting fact that makes Pakistan’s World Cup win even more meritorious was that they without a star who was injured prior to the tournament. Can anyone name him?

  11. DB, i’m surmising it’s Waqar Younis.


  12. DBalassone says

    Spot on Glen!

    One of the greats.

  13. The two W’s were a lethal pairing.

    Their use of yorkers was something to savour.


  14. Michael Viljoen says

    Thanks for digging up the scorecard. My recollections were obviously a bit faded, but the scorcard has helped jog the memory.
    Inzamam, as third top scorer, was a necessary component in the win. I remember people in the crowd asking each other, who is this guy? Such a natural striker of the ball, but obviously a few kegs too heavy to bother for any quick running between the wickets.
    But you’re right, that Imran Khan was the hero in his rebuild of the innings (along with Javed). Khan took on a captain’s roll, promoting himself up the order, as usually an all rounder would be coming in further down. I remember people in the crowd around me were worryingly saying that Imran was batting too slowly. He soaked up a 110 balls for his 72. But with Inzy behind him, Khan’s innings was shown to be perfectly timed, and was the match winner with the bat.

  15. Michael Viljoen says

    I must add my final memory. That of English fans singing in the crowd, football style. I remember sitting on the top deck of the old Western stand. There were thousands of England supporters sitting to my right, near the big scoreboard, and thousands more to my left, towards the cricket Members area.

    At one slow point in the game, those near the scoreboard sang, “We’re the one’s over here on the right”, while those near the Members in turn sang, “We’re the ones over here on the left”. It was a long competition, until eventually one side gave up, with the others loudly acclaiming their victory. Overall, their chants were a lot more creative than that on the night, but that’s the bit I remember.

  16. Luke,
    Maybe the domestic 50 comp could be played at rural venues throughout the summer?
    Just a thought.

  17. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Sounds like a great read, Luke and a fine review, mate. Memories of slow bowlers like Mustaq Ahmed, Eddo Brandes and Dipak Patel creating all sorts of havoc.
    NZ were the form team in the preliminaries thanks to Mark Greatbatch and Wily Willy Watson !

  18. Luke Reynolds says

    Glen- O’Donnell retired after the 1992/93 season after an average season for Victoria, where the team struggled under his captaincy. I think his ODI career is greatly underappreciated.

    Michael- love the shirt story. I would have picked the World Cup match too!

    Damian- Imran Khan’s innings in the final was a the definition of a captains knock. He led superbly. Wasim and Waqar swinging the ball in England in 1992 (Ch. 9 actually televised some of it here) was wonderful viewing.

    Smokie- great call. I’ve long been of this view and would love to see games in Ballarat, Bendigo and Geelong as well the the Junction Oval.

    Cheers Phil. Mushtaq bowled beautifully in the final, Dipak Patel was a revelation. The book very well tells the story of a fired up Eddo Brandes claiming the wicket of his childhood teammate Graeme Hick in Zimbabwe’s upset win in Albury.

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