Cricket has been played as a recognized sport since the early 18th century. The origins of cricket are obscure, and there are several theories on how it started. One is that shepherds used to play it – one would stand in front of the wicket gate to the sheep fold, and another would bowl a stone or something at him, and he would have to hit it with his crook, which was known as a cricce.
The first reference to cricket being played is thought to be in 1300, between Prince Edward and his friend Piers Gaveston and the first recorded match took place at Coxheath in Kent, England in 1646. The earliest known cricket photographs were taken in 1857, by Roger Fenton at the Artillery Ground.
By the 18th century, the bat had developed into a longer, heavier, curved version of the one we know now, carved out of a single piece of wood. Today’s bat was invented around 1853, with the blade made of willow, and a cane handle, which is layered with strips of rubber, tied with twine, and covered with rubber to make a grip. The ‘V’ shaped extension of the handle into the blade is the splice. The early balls were stones and other missiles. They’re now made of cork, and covered with hand-stitched leather quarters dyed red.
Cricket is now played at the school, club and professional level all around the world. The West Indies, Australia, Pakistan, India, England, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Kenya and Bangladesh are the teams participating in cricket at its highest level, the World Cup Cricket Competition.
The objective of the game is to get all the rival team players “out” for a score as low as possible, and score as many runs as the opposite team has scored. For victory, the winning team must score more than the objective set by the rivals in a stipulated number of “overs” or get the rival team all out before they reach their target. Eleven players make up each team with a few extra “back ups” and decision makers (umpires). A toss of the coin by the captains of the rival teams and umpires, determines who will hold the willow (bat) and who will handle the leather (ball). Regular matches consist of two innings with one team to bat and the other in the field. The team that bats tries to score runs while the goal of the team in the field is to get 10 of the 11 members of the opposite team out. When the team in the field accomplishes that feat, they get a turn at bat and the opposing team takes the field. When both teams have batted it is considered an inning. This can last a considerable amount of time.
There are two sets of three sticks at each end of the pitch known as wickets. The batsmen stand at each end and a bowler bowls from one end to the batsman, alternating from each end. The passive batsman at the bowlers end is called the runner. Players are spread out in the field to stop the batsmen from scoring runs and in an attempt to run them out. There are a fixed number of overs that are bowled in a game of cricket (an over is 6 bowls, like pitches in baseball, in which the bowler attempts to knock down the wicket of the battling team and the batsmen attempt to protect the wicket, by hitting the balls for runs). Batsmen are declared out in a variety of ways, the most common of them being bowled out, where the ball directly strikes the wickets, or caught out, where the ball struck by the batsmen is caught by any fielding member of the opposite team. Other ways include the batsman being stumped out, run out, hit-wicket, leg before wicket and handling the ball. Batsmen are generally given the benefit of the doubt in any kind of “sticky” situation.
There are two categories of cricket: One day and Test Cricket. In order to satisfy the need for a shorter and therefore more “broadcast” friendly game, the One Day International match was developed.
One day cricket (ODI – One Day International): A match played in one day of duration with 2 sides, normally 3 sessions each of two hours long (morning, afternoon and after-tea session) Lasts anywhere from 6 to 12 hours
Any cricket match of not less than 5 days scheduled duration, played between teams selected as representatives of their member countries.
A series of Test Matches between two teams, a host nation and a visitor, played in the same cricket season year. Has a minimum of 2 test matches and 3 ODI’s
A series of matches where at least one of the competing teams is an international team representing a member country playing in a country other than its own and compromising of at least 1 Test match or at least 1 ODI match
A country hosting another country for a minimum of 3 ODI’s