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ICC World Cup 2019 | The World Cup’s Complicated Tryst with Anthems – A Lookback

The results in cricket World Cups over the years have thus often ranged from passable to decent to even eliciting mass confusion from cricket fans.

Shayne Dias |May 29, 2019, 11:54 AM IST
ICC World Cup 2019 | The World Cup’s Complicated Tryst with Anthems – A Lookback

Deciding official anthems for World Cups is never an easy task. The results in cricket World Cups over the years have thus often ranged from passable to decent to even eliciting mass confusion from cricket fans.

It isn’t an easy task because organisers must not only come up with a song that fits the mood of the tournament, but one that can also potentially become a smash hit and perhaps draw a few new fans into the game.

It’s quite the balancing act and one that few tournament organisers have managed to successfully pull off.

The Good

Two songs immediately come to mind when one thinks about tunes that both sound good and managed to – somewhat – capture the spirit of the World Cup.

The first is the 2011 World Cup song ‘De Ghuma Ke’, one that younger fans from the Indian subcontinent will definitely recall with some ease.

The song was released in three languages – Hindi, Bengali and Sinhalese – because that tournament was hosted by India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

Set to a catchy beat and with lyrics that were easy to sing or hum along to, the song definitely resonated with fans from the host nations even if it was the Hindi version composed by popular trio Shankar Ehsaan Loy that got played the most since India emerged victorious in the tournament.

Another song that sticks in the head after a few listens is the theme of the 1992 World Cup ‘The World is Coming Down’.

With simple lyrics such as “the world is coming down, the flags are up; who’s gonna be number one, who’s gonna take out the cup”, it manages to both capture the essence of what the tournament was about while being easy on the ear.

The song came back into the collective conscience of many people last year, when soon-to-be Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan – the man who captained the team to the championship in 1992, remember – was seen blasting the song in his car after he cast his vote.

Is it any surprise he won the elections?

An honourable mention must go to the 2015 edition’s anthem as well – an EDM track called ‘Bob’s Beat’ by WDL that, while consisting of lyrics that have absolutely no relation to the sport of cricket, does enough to get you hyped for the tournament.

The Bad

The 1996 World Cup is remembered as the ultimate underdog story as Sri Lanka stunned everyone by going on to win the tournament.

Equally stunning was the organisers' choice of an anthem, but for all the wrong reasons – the upbeat ditty ‘Chokra’ isn’t exactly easy on the ears and has definitely not aged well 23 years later.

The same can’t necessarily be said about the 2003 World Cup’s official song, ‘Welcome to Our Home’. The tune is definitely a good one but when about half the lyrics consist of naming the teams in the tournament, it doesn’t exactly scream creativity.

And while that song possibly didn’t try enough, the 2007 World Cup’s anthem ‘Game of Love & Unity’ can be considered guilty of trying to do too much.

The fast-paced drumbeats probably seemed out of sync even 12 years ago and while the lyrics are inoffensive, it isn’t an easy listen despite the lead artist being the popular Shaggy.

The Ugly

There’s only one song that fits the bill here and that is 1999’s ‘All Over the World’ by David A. Stewart – a song that while isn’t exactly terrible, is remembered for all the wrong reasons.

For one, it didn’t do well on the charts – reaching a highest of 154. To make things worse, it was released a day after hosts England were eliminated from the tournament. Oops.

By comparison, the organisers have got things quite right 20 years later – not only did the theme ‘Stand By’ by Canadian artist LORYN featuring English drum and bass band Rudimental get released two weeks before the tournament began, the song is actually a decent listen.

Now the only thing that remains to be seen is whether the England cricket team can actually go the distance for the first time in the tournament’s history. ‘Stand By’ to find out.

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1 India 5046 120
2 Australia 4320 108
3 England 5253 105
4 New Zealand 3449 105
5 South Africa 3537 98
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1 England 6967 124
2 India 7939 118
3 New Zealand 5347 116
4 South Africa 5442 111
5 Australia 5854 110
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1 Pakistan 8926 270
2 Australia 6986 269
3 England 6095 265
4 India 12141 264
5 South Africa 5248 262
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