It is considered that cricket originated in England around the end of the medieval period, but its history remains obscure and unclear. In the mid-16th century, the first mention of cricket in England was in the South East. As the British Empire grew, the sport spread internationally, International matches were held for the first time in the mid 19th century.
There is an international governing body for the game, which is ICC (the International Cricket Council). ICC has more than 100 members, twelve of whom take part in Test matches. Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) administers the law, or rules, of the game of cricket. The game is popular particularly in Australia, the Indian subcontinent, Asia, UK, West Indies, and Southern Africa.
A separate tournament for female cricket is also being organized and played internationally. Australia has been the best international cricket team, winning 7 One Day International titles, which include 5 World trophies, In Test cricket, Australia has had more top-rated sides than every other nation.
The Rules of the Game
Cricket laws were codified by 1744, and Marylebone Cricket Club revised them in 1788, including the pitch length, crease length, size of the wicket, and weight of the ball. As of 1760, over-arm bowling became the main way to deliver the ball, taking the place of underarm bowling. It was at this time that bowlers started to use varying lengths of the ball, while the game also evolved its batting techniques, which adapted to the changes in bowling styles. To counter the new bowling techniques introduced by new bowlers, the old ‘hockey stick’ style of the bat was replaced by the ‘straight bat.’
Cricket’s expansion around the world
- The game started to spread with the British Empire’s imperialism, leading to the British Army and Navy spreading the game to the colonies, which involved playing games in North America during the 1700s.
- Cricket had been played in India and West Indies by the 1800s, in Australia as soon as colonization began in 1788, as well as in New Zealand and South Africa by the late 19th century.
- In 1844, the United States and Canada played their maiden international match in New York.
- England toured Australia in 1868, and in 1877 the two teams played their first match, beginning the oldest rivalry in cricket.
- An obituary mocking English cricket was written in 1882, after England lost to Australia, and two Melbourne girls burnt bail and offered it to the English cricket urn.
- Every two years, the two sides face off for the fabled urn, thus beginning the Ashes, one of cricket’s longest-running sagas.
- The third nation to participate in a test was South Africa in 1889.
- The first time cricket was taken to the Olympics was in 1900, although it should be noted that it is possible that the shortest form of cricket, 20-20 cricket, will be re-added to the Olympics. South Africa, England, and Australia were the Founding Members of the Imperial Cricket Conference formed in 1909 to administer the game, primarily from an English viewpoint.
As the twentieth century has progressed, affiliated nations like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Zimbabwe have taken part in Test matches.