Cricket is a bat and ball game that is built up of two 11 player teams and played outdoors. The history behind this English game makes it very interesting to learn about. Taking place on a rectangular shaped, 22-yard field, cricket is an extremely popular game to play and support. With both teams fighting for the win, one team has the position of batting the ball and scoring as many runs as possible, whereas the opponents will bowl and field. If a batsman can hit the ball with his bat and sprint to the opposite end of the field without being disregarded, a run will be scored. The two teams will take it in turns at the end of an innings.
The History Behind the English Game of Cricket
The first game ever to be played was recorded as being sometime in the 16th century, in southern England. Due to the British Empire expanding, this resulted in cricket being played overseas with a continuous increase in popularity until the 19th century, when international matches started being held. Cricket is played majorly in Australasia, the Indian subcontinent, Southern Africa, the West Indies and the British Isles. There is speculation as to whether the name cricket has always been the definite term for this sport. Tracing back to the 16th century, the game was also at some point referred to as ‘creckett’. At a 1598 court case, there was evidence of a game called ‘creckett’ being played in Guildford, Surrey during 1550. Believed to have originally been a game for children, the year 1610 indicates that adults began to play the game more and more. The 17th century displayed a rapid increase in the growth of this sport in the south-east of England, leading to cricket becoming an organised activity towards the end of the century. Following the Restoration in 1660, the first professionals were developing and began playing for high stakes.
The Development of Cricket
Cricket was discovering changes as time progressed, such as the major development it underwent in the 18th century. At this time, the game became the national sport of England. Many rich patrons would bet on the game and its outcome, and oversized crowds would flock to watch games in London as early as 1707. At around 1760, bowling evolved and this meant that instead of rolling or skimming the ball towards the batsman, the ball would be pitched instead. This caused changes in the bat design to occur, introducing the familiar modern straight bat instead of the ‘hockey stick’ shape that once existed. In the 1760s, the Hambledon Club was formed, which was soon to become the game’s greatest club. The 18th century saw new laws coming into place, such as the three stump wicket and the leg before wicket. Following this, underarm bowling was replaced by round-arm and then overarm bowling in the 19th century. Many county clubs were developing at this time, and whilst this was happening the British Empire were working considerably hard to establish the sport in other places such as India, the Caribbean, North America, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia. With the first international cricket match taking place in 1844 between the United States and Canada, progression of the game was seen more and more. In 1859, a team of English cricket players went overseas to North America for a tour and since this time cricket has been a worldwide sport, still as popular now as it was when it was first established in England.
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