The game known as cricket has a known story that began in the 16th century. Originating from southeast England It became an accepted sport throughout the country in the 18th century. The sport then it was adopted by other nations in the 20th and 19th centuries. International matches are played since the 19th century. The first formal test cricket matches are thought to date from 1877. Cricket is the world's second most-watched sport in terms of spectator appeal, second only to association football (soccer).

Internationally, the game of cricket is run by the International Cricket Council (ICC) which has more than one hundred countries and territories in membership however, only twelve are currently playing Test cricket.

Early cricket


The game was likely created in Saxon or Norman times by children who lived in the Weald region, a region with dense forests and clearings in south-east England which spans Kent as well as Sussex. The first reference to the game written down comes from the 16th-century.

There have been a myriad of speculations about the game's origins, one of which is that it was created in France as well as Flanders. The first of these speculative references is from 1300 and refers to that of the new King Edward II playing at "creag and other games" in Newenden as well as Westminster and Newenden. It has been suggested the possibility that "creag" is an Old English word for cricket However, the consensus of experts is that it was an early word for "craic" which means "fun and games in general".

It is widely believed that cricket was it was a game played by children for many generations before it was increasingly used by adults in the beginning of the 17th century. It is possible that the game was inspired by bowls, since bowls are the older sport, by an intervention by a batsman trying to stop the ball from reaching its target by throwing it off. On land that was sheep-grazed or in clearings, the original equipment could have been a matted sheep's wool (or even a stone or a small lump made of timber) to serve as the ball. A stick, an elongated crook or other farm tool as the bat and a stool, or a stump from a tree or gate (e.g. a wicket gate) as the wicket. Also, see High Jump Sports.

First definite reference

John Derrick was a pupil at the Royal Grammar School, then the Free School, in Guildford where he and his fellow students were playing cricket in the 1550s.

It was in the year 1597 (Old Style - 1598 New Style) in a court case in England in connection with a dispute of ownership over a plot of common land located in Guildford, Surrey, mentions the game of creckett. A coroner aged 59, John Derrick, testified that the students he was with played cricket on the same site fifty years prior to when they were at a Free School. Derrick's story proves beyond any plausible doubt that the game had been practiced in Surrey circa 1550, and is the first universally recognized reference to the game.

The first time that cricket was mentioned as being played as a sport for adults was in 1611, when two males from Sussex were found guilty of playing cricket on Sunday instead of going to church. In the same year, a dictionary defined cricket as a boys' game. This suggests that the participation of adults was a recent development.

Origin of the word "cricket"

A variety of words are believed to be the possible source for the word "cricket". In the first known reference, it was spelled as cricket. The name may have been inspired by the Middle Dutch krick(-e), meaning a stick; as well as it could be the Old English cricc or cryce which means a staff or crutch or staff, or the French term criquet that refers to a wooden post. The Middle Dutch word krickstoel means a long low stool used for kneeling during church; this resembled the long low wicket that had two stumps that were used in the early days of cricket. According to Heiner Gillmeister, a European specialist in language from the University of Bonn, "cricket" originates in"the Middle Dutch phrase for hockey"met the (krik ket)sen (i.e., "with the stick chase").

There is a good chance that the terminology of cricket was derived from terms used in south-east England in the early days and, given trade connections between the County of Flanders, especially in the 15th century, when it was part of the Duchy of Burgundy, many Middle Dutch words found their way into southern English dialects.

The Commonwealth

After after the Civil War ended in 1648 The new Puritan government clamped down on "unlawful gatherings", in particular the more loud sports such as football. Their laws also demanded stricter respect for the Sabbath than there were before. As the Sabbath was the only free time available for the poorer classes the popularity of cricket may have been diminished in the Commonwealth. However, it did gain popularity at public fee-paying schools like Winchester as well as St Paul's. There is no actual evidence that Oliver Cromwell's regime banned cricket in particular, and there are references to it throughout the interregnum that suggest it was ok with the authorities provided that it did not cause any "breach that violated the Sabbath". It is believed that the nobility in general adopted cricket at this point through participation in games played by the village.

Gambling and media coverage

Cricket flourished after when there was a Restoration in 1660 and is believed to have initially attracted gamblers with large bets during this time. It is possible, and the opinion of some historians is that high-end matches first began. In 1664"Cavalier" Parliament passed the Gaming Act 1664 "Cavalier" Parliament approved the Gaming Act 1664 which limited stakes to PS100 however that was still quite a lot back then, equivalent to approximately PS16,000 in current measurements. Cricket was becoming a popular gambling sport by the end of the 17th century as demonstrated in 1697 by an article in the newspaper about a "great game" which was held in Sussex which was an 11-a-side match held for high stakes of 50 guineas aside.

Freedom of the press was granted in 1696, cricket for the first time could be reported in the newspapers. But it took a lengthy period of time before the newspapers evolved enough to provide regular as well as comprehensive coverage of the sport. In the early part of the 18th Century, press reports tended to focus on the betting rather than on the play.

18th century cricket

Patronage and players

Gambling created the first patrons, as some gamblers decided to increase their wagers by forming their own teams. It is believed the early "county teams" were created in the aftermath of the Restoration of 1660, specifically as members of the nobility were employing "local experts" of village cricket as the earliest professionals.<> The first time we have a game played in which the teams use counties was played from 1709 but there can be no doubt that these sort of matches were planned well before the year. The 1697 match was likely to be a match between Sussex and Sussex versus another county.

The most prominent of the patrons at the beginning were Aristocrats and businessmen who were active from around 1725. This was the year when press coverage increased, possibly because of the patrons' influence. The patrons were the 2nd Duke of Richmond, Sir William Gage, Alan Brodrick, and Edwin Stead. The first time, the press names individual players like Thomas Waymark.

Cricket expands beyond England

Cricket came into North America via the English colonies in the 17th century, probably before it was even in the north of England. In the late 18th century, cricket also arrived in other parts of the globe. This was first introduced to West Indies by colonists and to India by East India Company mariners in the early half of the 20th century. It arrived in Australia almost as soon as the colonization was established in 1788. New Zealand and South Africa began to follow in the early part of the 19th century.

Cricket did not take off in Canada despite the efforts of the upper class to promote the sport as a way to identify with the "mother nation". Canada, unlike Australia as well as the West Indies, witnessed a steady decline in the popularity of the sport from 1860 to 1960. It was portrayed in the public's consciousness as akin to a high-class sport the game was never popular with the general public. In the summer months, it had to compete with baseball. In this time of the First World War, Canadian units stationed in France used baseball instead of cricket. Also, see Long Jump Sports.

The development of the Laws

You can also read: Laws of Cricket

It's not known when the fundamental rules of cricket, such as bat and ball, the wicket dimensions, pitch dimensions overs, overs, and so on. were initially developed. In 1728 two of them, the Duke of Richmond and Alan Brodick drew up Articles of Agreement to determine the guidelines for the game. The code of practice came to be a norm, specifically around paying stake money and distributing the winnings given how important gambling is.

In 1744 In 1744, the law of cricket was codified in the first instance and was later modified in 1774 with the introduction of lbw, middle stump, and maximum bat width were added. The laws stipulated that "the principals shall choose from between the gentlemen in the room two umpires to decide any dispute". The code was drafted by the known as the "Star and Garter Cricket Club" the members of which founded the Marylebone Cricket Club at Lord's in 1787. The MCC quickly became the custodian of the Laws and has also made regular revisions and recodifications in the years since.

A steady increase in England

The sport continued to grow throughout England as well, and in 1751 Yorkshire became the first to be mentioned as a place to play. The first form that bowls were played (i.e., rolling the ball along the floor like bowls) was modified around 1760 when bowlers began to pitch the ball to study variations in line, speed, and length. Scorecards were first kept regularly since 1772. Since then, an ever-clearer picture is emerging of the sport's development.

The first famous clubs consisted of London and Dartford in the early 18th century. London played its matches on the Artillery Ground, which still remains. There were others who followed, such as Slindon in Sussex which was supported by the Duke of Richmond and featured the legendary players Richard Newland. There were also other notable clubs that included Maidenhead, Hornchurch, Maidstone, Sevenoaks, Bromley, Addington, Hadlow and Chertsey.

However, the most well-known of the early clubs were Hambledon located in Hampshire. It was founded as an organization for parishes that gained prominence in 1756. The club was established in the 1760s and was well-liked to the extent that it became the center of the game for about thirty years until the formation of MCC and the opening of Lord's Cricket Ground in 1787. Hambledon has produced a variety of notable players, including the legend of the bat John Small and the first great fast bowler Thomas Brett. Their most famous opponent was Chertsey along with Surrey bowler Edward "Lumpy" Stevens, who is believed to have been responsible for the development of the flighted delivery.

It was to combat the flighted, or pitched, delivery that straight bats were first introduced. The traditional "hockey stick"-a style that bats were made could only be effective against the ball being skimmed or trundled along the ground.

First-class cricket first began in 1772. Three scorecards have survived from 1772 games played by the Hambledon Club which commence a continuous record of stats. Those three matches were all between the Hampshire XI and an England XI, the first match was played during Broadhalfpenny Dow n on June 24, and June 25. The two major online archives start their first-class coverage with this match which is named "first-class number. 1" according to ESPNcricinfo in addition to "f1" in CricketArchive. Broadhalfpenny Down continued in regular use by Hambledon/Hampshire teams until 1781.