Cricket History

Origin: The origin of cricket is hotly contested, and can be deemed unknown. Sources claim that the sport was played during Saxon or Norman times by rural kids in Weald, an area in south-east England that encompasses Kent and Sussex. In this mode, as a children’s game, it survived for a few centuries before being pursued by adults in the 16-17th century.

Origins of the term ‘Cricket’: A number of words are thought to be possible sources for the term “cricket”. In the earliest known reference to the sport in 1598, it is called creckett. Interestingly, this was used in a court case regarding ownership over a plot of land in Surrey, wherein a 59 year old man, John Derrick testified that he played creckett on that plot 50 years back. This strongly indicates that, whether or not the plot belonged to him, cricket, or creckett, was definitely played in Surrey around 1550.

Cricket outside England: North America was one of the first regions outside England where cricket was introduced, through English colonies in the 17th century. The game was introduced in India during the first half of the 18th century by the British East India Company, and in West Indies by colonists. Australia was introduced to the game in the late 18th century, while South Africa and New Zealand followed during the early 19th century.

Evolution of Cricket Laws: In 1728, the Duke of Richmond and Alan Brodick drew up the Articles of Agreement to determine the code of practice in a particular match and this became a regular feature; the Laws of Cricket were made into code in 1744, and amended thirty years later in 1774, to include laws related to lbw, allowed maximum bat width, etc. The codification was done by the Star and Garter Club; their members established MCC at Lord’s in 1787.

Rise of Test Cricket: The first international game of cricket was played between the US and Canada in 1844 at St.George’s Cricket Club in New York. The Imperial Cricket Conference (a predecessor to the term for Test playing nations) was founded in 1909, with members including England, Australia and South Africa. India, New Zealand and West Indies were granted membership before the World War II, and Pakistan shortly after. During the second half of the 20th century, three more affiliate members, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh were granted Test status.