How is the sport maken?
No one knows when or where cricket began but there is a body of evidence, much of it circumstantial, that strongly suggests the game was devised during Saxon or Norman times by children living in the French Flanders (in the hamlet of Liettres) and in Weald, an area of dense woodlands and clearings in south-east England that lies across Kent and Sussex. It is generally believed that cricket survived as a children’s game for many generations before it was increasingly taken up by adults around the beginning of the 17th century. Possibly cricket was derived from bowls, assuming bowls is the older sport, by the intervention of a batsman trying to stop the ball from reaching its target by hitting it away.
It was called criquet in France. A hundred years later, in 1598 England, it was called creckett. The name may have been derived from the Middle Dutch krick(-e), meaning a stick; or the Old English cricc or cryce meaning a crutch or staff, or the French word criquet meaning a wooden post. Another possible source is the Middle Dutch word krickstoel, meaning a long low stool used for kneeling in church and which resembled the long low wicket with two stumps used in early cricket.
Possible origin in France
The first mention of the game of cricket may date back to France, in a letter written to King Louis XI in 1478, by a man named Estiavannet. He described a game being played by the villagers of Liettres (French Flanders) involving boules (balls) and croquet (a wooden post), and of a fight that ensued in which one man was killed. However this could have been an entirely different game, such as croquet.
English cricket moves
Cricket was introduced to North America via the English colonies in the 17th century, probably before it had even reached the north of England. In the 18th century it arrived in other parts of the globe. It was introduced to the West Indies by colonists and to India by British East India Company mariners in the first half of the century. It arrived in Australia almost as soon as colonisation began in 1788. New Zealand and South Africa followed in the early years of the 19th century.
During the First World War, Canadian units stationed in Britain played baseball, not cricket.
International cricket begins
The first ever international cricket game was between the USA and Canada in 1844. The match was played at the grounds of the St George’s Cricket Club in New York.
The English team 1859 on their way to the USA
In 1859, a team of leading English professionals set off to North America on the first-ever overseas tour and, in 1862, the first English team toured Australia.
Between May and October 1868, a team of Australian Aborigines toured England in what was the first Australian cricket team to travel overseas.
Balls per over
In 1889 the four ball over was replaced by a five ball over and then this was changed to the current six balls an over in 1900. Subsequently, some countries experimented with eight balls an over. In 1922, the number of balls per over was changed from six to eight in Australia only. In 1924 the eight ball over was extended to New Zealand and in 1937 to South Africa. In England, the eight ball over was adopted experimentally for the 1939 season; the intention was to continue the experiment in 1940, but first-class cricket was suspended for the Second World War and when it resumed, English cricket reverted to the six ball over. The 1947 Laws of Cricket allowed six or eight balls depending on the conditions of play. Since the 1979/80 Australian and New Zealand seasons, the six ball over has been used worldwide and the most recent version of the Laws in 2000 only permits six ball overs.
Cricket come to Asia
When the Imperial Cricket Conference (as it was originally called) was founded in 1909, only England, Australia and South Africa were members. India, West Indies and New Zealand became Test nations before the Second World War and Pakistan soon afterwards. The international game grew with several “affiliate nations” getting involved and, in the closing years of the 20th century, three of those became Test nations also: Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh.
Test cricket remained the sport’s highest level of standard throughout the 20th century but it had its problems, notably in the infamous “Bodyline Series” of 1932–33 when Douglas Jardine’s England used so-called “leg theory” to try and neutralise the run-scoring brilliance of Australia’s Don Bradman.
As of August 2013, the top rankings were held by South Africa (Tests), India (one-day internationals), and Sri Lanka (Twenty20 champion).
In 2004, the ICC Intercontinental Cup brought first-class cricket to 12 nations, mostly for the first time. Cricket’s newest innovation is Twenty20, essentially an evening entertainment. It has so far enjoyed enormous popularity and has attracted large attendances at matches as well as good TV audience ratings.