A Short History of Cricket for Dummies

The game of cricket is spanning history with its amazing aroma of royalty and fair play since the 16th century.

For last few weeks, I pretty much stuck to the recent ICC events. I don’t know why maybe I’d been going through some forever green cricket innings played ever on YouTube. Sob-consciously I found a whole lot of difference in the tactics, techniques, and rules of cricket in just 10 years of evolution. Hence, I felt like exploring the entire evolution of cricket to

Why it’s important to know about the game? Well, I don’t know what do you think, but to me, the game means a lot. It’s evolved with my emotions and beholds the love for my nation. So, I feel that getting to know every hook and corners of the game is a must for me. I owe to the game, and I believe, so do you.

As long as it’s about the game of cricket, we can spend hours talking about it. Even if you look back at every revolutionary move that the game had ever made, you’ll find a million opinions on them. But as this discussion is meant to be for dummies, we promise that we will keep it short and simple.

Once you are the article, a quick-play of the legendary moments of the game will be passing by. So, get ready to get nostalgic, nostalgic with those forever-green memories of cricket!

How Do We Classify This Study?

There can be many perspectives of describing the events of cricket since the dawn. Not going to all those debates, we better set our own style of describing the history. To make is easily understandable, we are setting the boundaries according to the Reign of different cricket practices.

Here are four major decades of cricket that this discussion is spitted into-

  1. Ancient Era: The Roman Empire to Cambridge University
  2. Median Era: First International Match to World War I
  3. Pre- Modern Era: Imperial Cricket Conference to Limited Over Cricket
  4. Modern Era: Technology in Cricket to Twenty-20 Cricket

Spending no more time, let’s get into the main course-

Ancient Era: The Roman Empire to Cambridge University

No one knows when and where human learned to hit a ball with a bat for the first time. Maybe in the dark ages. Some of the experts guess that it’s probably somewhere between the Roman empire to before the Normans evaded England. Not sure, but the place was somewhere in Europe.

At those early days of the game, the game was a whole lot different from what it is now. It was a fancy pastime by then, where one was served up an object, another one hit it with a small piece of wood. With the tide of time, this club ball becomes something where the hitter has to reach a target score. The score was pre-defined by the serving team when they were at the hitter’s side.

Pretty simple, right?

But over time, players started loving to apply various set of rules that made the game even more interesting and competitive. The early players of this game were from grammar schools to farmhouses and everything in between. But with time, people started figuring out that this game needs some serious physical stamina and people who want to do it, had to go through those processes of physique and skill development,

That’s where the concept of professionals named Cricket Players started taking place.

Apart from the professionals and gameplay styles, something else started growing up which had a great impact on the following history. With sky-high stakes were being wagered for cricketers, it was felt necessary to define a set of agreed rules.

On an additional note, the oldest written form of Cricket rules was found in a handkerchief of 1744. It’s still preserved at the MCC Museum, London. I’d love to call it the grand-grand-grandfather of ICC Cricket Rules of now.

One interesting even was being 1598, when the word Cricket was included in the Florio’s Italian to English dictionary. Later on, at 1710, the first reference to cricket was helped at Cambridge University.

Median Era: First International Match to World War I

For a very long time, Cricket was played locally at the state of England, Wales and surroundings. When the press started mentioning individual cricket players like Thomas Waymark, it started to flow all around the globe. The English Colonies introduced the game to the North America. At the 18th century, it started to reach the other parts of the planet as well. The British East India Company introduced the game to West Indies at the beginning of 18th century. As soon as the colonization began at Australia, the world cup champions received with warmth. New Zealand and South Africa followed by.

As the game went global, the necessity of an international set of rules was felt. Therefore, at 1744, the laws of cricket were codified and some innovative rules like LBW, a Fixed width of the Bat, Middle Stump– etc. were added in the rule book.

Soon, the game came into the shape of Team Vs. Team to Nation Vs. Nation. As a result, at 1877 in Australia, the England team came over for a bi-national cricket game. At those days, cricket was only thought of in Test format. So, in other words, that year of the year of debut test match.

A significant change came up in the game when the official County Championship was defined by a constitution. This idea of organizing different teams/nations under a handful of rues was not new though. But after the establishment of County Championship, national championships started to go global.

The time period of 1890 to following few years was called the Golden Days of Cricket. But all those memories turned into nostalgia as the World War-I broke out. The Spirit of the game was pretty interrupted and the world all together got busy into violence.

No one would never like to remember those dark days in cricket.

Pre- Modern Era: Imperial Cricket Conference to Limited Over Cricket

Previously, on the walkway of history, we are at the early years of 2oth century. At 1909, Imperial Cricket Council was founded which was supposed to stabilize Cricket spirit in the international dimension. While starting, there were three members- England, South Africa, and Australia. Before the second world war, West Indies, New Zealand and India also placed themselves in the list.

War and Peace can’t walk together. So, when the World War II broke, out, the entire universe of Cricket was paused for a while. But as the war ended, cricket started growing internationally again. Several ICC affiliate members were listed in it. At the last few of the century, some of the top scoring ICC members gained test stature. Among those, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, Ireland, and Afghanistan were given the Test Status. With this, the spirit of the game flew among few other nations. The globalization of Cricket went on.

There are rules, and there are people who’d break the rules. History of cricket faced such an incidence with South Africa in the years of 1970-71. In fact, it’s recognized the greatest crisis of cricket history had ever faced.

There is a policy in the South African government about racial serration and it’s called the Apartheid. Under that rule of the day, South Africa left the Commonwealth of Nations. Under the same rule, the South African Cricket Board had to leave the ICC. The situation crystallized more when South Africa canceled its England tour because of the presence of ‘colored’ cricketer Basil D’Olivera in England team. After such a racist act, ICC members downvoted South Africa and suspended the nation from any international cricket match.

However, no matter what happened with any particular country, Cricket went on. In the 1960s, Team England introduced a new version of cricket where there was only one innings for each team. Also, unlike the test matches, the number of overs in a particular innings was fixed. As these versions of cricket grew popular day by day, an entire National League in the County Championship.

Although, there were complaints from traditional cricket fans that this version of cricket is against the spirit of the game. But as you know, everything that is new earns some initial haters. However, limited over cricket started becoming popular day by day.

Modern Era: Technology in Cricket to Twenty-20 Cricket

Surprisingly, people started loving the limited version of cricket all over the globe. It doesn’t take 5 long days to see the result, it has a number of excitements that the test cricket, and most importantly, it doesn’t harm the spirit of cricket at all. So, the TV ratings of One-day cricket started gaining much popularity.

No lately, many technological methods came up in the game to cover the limited over cricket. Soon, they were introduced to test cricket as well. Among those earlier techs, In-depth statistics analysis, placing of miniature cameras in the stumps, high-speed photography, using the camera from multiple positions and computer graphics technology were some significant ones.

In this era of cricket, a number of revolutionary addition to the game took place. In 1992, a third umpire was assigned to the game to provide more accurate decision of LBW appeals. Also, some advanced virtual reality technologies (i.e. Hawk-Eye and Hot Spot) got into the game.

It was all about fun take the game closer to reality. No doubt, people loved these latest inclusions of technology.

In 2001, ICC decided to create a Test Championship table and a One-day Championship table that would rank all the one-fay and test playing countries in the world. A number of tournaments were included in the plan to grow the popularity of the game to the nations who weren’t still into it.

A new era of cricket appeared into the podium as the newest innovations T20 cricket started. It was a shorter version of limited over cricket where only 20 overs are in one inning. As the game was growing global, commercial and business value of the game also started rising upward. The inclusion of T20 cricket was just another result of the commercialization of cricket.

Important Events of The Game of Cricket

  • 1844- the first ever cricket match that obeyed a set of international rules took place, between Canada and New York.
  • 1867- Team Australia made it to a cricket tour to England.
  • 1877- In the entire history, the era of test cricket got started with the first international test match between Australia and England.
  • 1890- Country cricket of England got its tires rolled in.
  • 1892- The domestic competition of Australia- The Sheffield Shield started.
  • 1900- For the first time in history, the game of Cricket took place in the Olympic games.
  • 1970- South African Cricket team got indefinitely suspended from ICC due to their policy of Apartheid.
  • 1971- Melbourne Cricket Ground had the honor to hold the first limited over a cricket match.
  • 1973- England hosted the first ICC Women’s World Cup.
  • 1975- Again, England hosted the first ICC Cricket World Cup.
  • 1977- The world series of cricket, which was actually a breakaway professional competition took place.
  • 1979- At Lord’s Cricket ground, the first test match of Women took place.
  • 1992- To provide more accurate results of run-put appeals, a third umpire was decided to be assigned in the jury.
  • 2003- The first T20 cricket match concept was rolled in between England and Wales. It was under the supervision of ECB.
  • 2005- The First International T20 match took place. It was between New Zealand and Australia.
  • 2007- An entire world cup of the T20 Cricket matches rolled in the fields. The venue was in South Africa.
  • 2015- A much-debated concept of Day-night test matched turned into reality. It was Nov 27 when this match got in between New Zealand and Australia. N.B.- It was with a pink ball.

Some Super Stats

I know already most of you have got bored with all those years, events and rules. Let’s spice the article up before we finish. Here are some of the superb inhuman performances in the history in cricket ever that will be recalled forever-

Shoaib Akhter from Pakistan in 2003, bowled the fastest ball in the history. It was of 161.3 km/h!!!!

Hanif Mohammad from Pakistan in 1958, played the longest innings ever in cricket. It as of 970 minutes while scoring a personal 337 against West Indies.

Brain Lara from West Indies in 2004, scored the highest individual run in cricket. It was a 400 not out!

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