Cricket is an exciting bat-and-ball game played between two opposing teams of eleven players each. Cricket is played on a field at the center of which is a rectangular twenty-two yard-long pitch. Statistics show that this sport has over 130 million players in various countries around the globe. Only association football is more popular than this intriguing game. World Twenty20 Cricket is one term many cricket followers are acquainted with. This showcase features the best cricket players from around the world.
Cricket’s primary object is simple. Each team takes its turn to bat with the aim of scoring runs, while the opposing team is in the field. Each turn is known as an inning. The bowler delivers the ball to the batsman. The batsman makes an earnest effort to hit the ball with his bat to an area not occupied by the fielders. This will give him an opportunity to run to the other end of the pitch and score a run for his team.
Each batsman continues batting until he is out. The batting team continues batting until 10 batsmen are out, or a particular number of overs of six balls have been bowled. At this point, teams alternate roles and the fielding team gets an opportunity to bat.
Understanding the basic rules and strategy of Cricket can be done within a short period of time, but skill is required for one to excel in this intriguing game. Let’s take a closer look at the second most popular sport in the world.
Cricket’s Humble Beginning
Early cricket has been compared to ancient games called stob-ball, club-ball, and stool-ball. Cricket historians state that the earliest games can be traced back to the Tudor times in 16th-century England. There is written evidence exists showing a game known as Creag being played at Newenden, Kent by Prince Edward in 1301.
The first written evidence of this fascinating game points toward France. A letter was written to King Louis XI by a gentleman named Estiavannet. Estiavannet went into details about a game being played by the townspeople of Liettres. According to Estiavannet, the villagers of Liettres used a wooden post and balls.
Some cricket historians feel that Estiavannet described a different game known as croquet. The most solid reference of cricket being played dates back to evidence that surfaced at a court case in 1598. This high-profile court case highlighted that “Creckett” was played in Guildford, Surrey during 1550. The court listened to the testimony of John Derrick. Derrick was a 59-year-old coroner who shared his account of his time at The Free School at Guildford. Derrick stated that he and his classmates played creckett on the common land. Derrick’s testimony sheds some light on the theory that Surrey may be the birthplace of cricket.
It is a common belief that cricket began as a children’s game, but it evolved into a suitable game for adults around 1610. Adults began to fall in love with the game during this time period. Unfortunately, a player was struck in the heard during a game in 1624. Jasper Vinall was killed while playing in a match between two rivalry teams in Sussex.
Cricket’s First Important Match
Multiple references show that growth of cricket in the south-eastern part of England during the 17th century. By the end of this illustrious century, it became an organized activity being played for premium stakes. It is widely believed that the first professionals of the game surfaced in the years after the Restoration period (1660). A historic newspaper report details an exciting cricket match with eleven players on each a side. The high-stakes match took place in Surrex in 1697. This classic match is the first known sign of a cricket match with great importance.
Cricket’s Major Development
The game underwent major changes during the 18th century. Cricket became the national sport of England. Rich patrons started forming their own “Select Xis”. Their activities opened the door to betting. Cricket was played by people from all walks of life in London as early as 1707. Huge crowds attended the matches that took place on the Artillery Ground in Finsbury. The crowds were attracted to the single wicket form of the game. Many attendants were known to place heavy wagers on their favorite teams.
Back in the 1730’s, Fredrick Prince of Wales played a huge role in developing of the sport. Read more about Fredrick Prince of Wales at http://www.historyhome.co.uk/people/freddie.htm. The technique of bowling began around 1760 when bowlers began to pitch the ball instead of skimming or rolling it towards the batsman. The technique led to a new bat design. The change in bat design helped players deal with a bouncing ball. The conventional “hockey stick” shape made it difficult for players to make contact with the ball. The new design (modern straight bat) made it possible for batters to deal with bowling.
The Hambledon Club was created in the 1760’s. It dominated the scene for two decades. The MCC was formed and The Lord’s Old Ground was opened for grand play. The Hambledon Club was a very popular club. Over time, The MCC quickly became the game’s premier club and the rightful custodian of the Laws of Cricket.
New laws were introduced to players at the end of the 18th century. This included the leg before wicket and the three stump wicket. The first round-arm technique replaced underarm bowling in the 19th century. These changes were very controversial. Critics felt that these changes were not good for the sport. Click here to know more about the rules of cricket.
A New Beginning
Organization of the game at the county level led to county clubs. The Sussex CCC was the first county club. It was established in 1839. The official County Championship was established in 1890.
The British Empire played a major role in taking the game overseas. In the 19th century, cricket became popular in South Africa, New Zealand, and in India. It also become popular in North America, the Caribbean, and Australia. The first international cricket match took place in 1844 between Canada and the United States.
Cricket Tours and Rivalries
A team of English players went overseas to challenge teams in America in 1859. The games were fantastic and intense. Another team of English players toured Australia. Australian and English players were well-known for their heated rivalry.
Cricket continued to expand during the 20th century with the addition of new countries. Cricket entered into a golden area in 1975. The Cricket World Cup put the sport on an international platform.
Cricket is an intriguing international game that attracts the attention of people from all walks of life. Despite its humble beginnings, it has emerged as the second most popular sport in the world. World Twenty20 Cricket continues to take the game’s popularity to another level.