For once cricket has claimed you, it never lets you go, wrote London-based journalist-author Marcus Berkmann in his book—Rain Men: The Madness of Cricket, which is about his cricket touring village-level cricket team. The aforementioned verdict is what sums up cricket aptly.
Well, many cricketing pundits believe, the beginning of the versatile sport is believed to be misplaced in the mists of time; however, it has influenced daily life. From pastime to prominence of different clubs, cricket has been an appealing sport to impress the masses as we’re into the 21st century.
The bat-and-ball sport is played between two teams as each team is bound to play eleven players each on the field. There are three active formats comprised of Test, One-day International (ODIs) and Twenty20 International (T20Is) which has an international recognition under the world cricket governing body, the International Cricket Council (ICC).
Cricket is fun; it has been a sheer passion for cricketers and serves as punctuation for countries – to celebrate the sport under one umbrella. Going by the family circle records of King Edward I, the game similar to the bat and ball game, has inspired youngsters to play cricket in the 13th century. In between, even Edward II held a bat apart from English statesman – Oliver Cromwell.
With a variety of rules taking place between 13th and 16th century – the bat and ball game came to the fore in South East of England. It’s been widely documented for many centuries. However, in 1700, 1800 had been a watershed moment when it subsequently saw major success in terms of globalizing the game itself.
What interests us that the balls were made of sheep wool apart from rags which even saw shepherd playing the sport at sheep-paddocks such was the significance of the sport in those times.
However, many researchers believe that it dates back to the 13th century and the conclusion for any confirmation is yet to be reached. Usually, in the countryside, children picked the game by playing with rounded stones and wooden balls before the emergence of the sport in a nutshell.
Mostly tree branches then hockey-like sticks were used as a bat with twigs being erected as stumps and such with the craze when spectators sat on mounds to watch children’s play. And as the game evolved, the infrastructure, equipment become better with the time.
It is being said that many terms from ‘Cryce’, ‘Criquet’ to Krick(e) have been associated with cricket, which has given a hint to derive its name. However, there is no strong evidence to prove the fact. It becomes pertinent to point out that during the 15th century English, French and Dutch gained popularity in the southern part of England. Thus, it is believed that the word ‘cricket’ itself has been borrowed from such terms in early 1600.
Which team could bat first?
The wickets at each end have a distance of 20 metres (22 yards). The wicket gates are equally supported by six bails on each side of the turf. A team which will bat first depends on who will win the coin toss. Ahead of the start of the game—a common practice has been that one of the captains flipping the coin in the air with his opponent calling either heads or tails.
By the time, the popularity of the sport has spread to other parts of the globe through British Empire which eventually saw cricket becoming one of the most-watched sporting events across the world between the 13th and 15th century. Also, the empire had introduced the famous sport to its colonies.
During the early period, underarm bowlers used to bowl along the ground in a bid to beat the batsmen by aiming at wickets or wicket gates. Going by the record, the first-ever game was played in 1646 at Kent. Later on, some amateur cricket clubs were introduced as – Bromley, Slindon, Dartford and Hadlow to name a few.
In its early phase, cricket was introduced in Australia, South Africa and the United States where it didn’t witness much interest despite being modified from time to time. In the 19th century, significant changes were made which saw the availability of cork-made pads in 1841. In 1811, the lawmakers proscribed wide deliveries.
Cricket in contemporary times
The local competitions were on the rise among different nations which has further witnessed the involvement of countries like India, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Pakistan, Sri Lanka to play under the ICC. Over the past many decades, the International Cricket Council – which stands for cricket for good, has invested a lot of money to increase the associate numbers.
Post-2000, there has been a paradigm shift with the innovation of Twenty20 cricket which even now has been squeezed to 10-over cricket, however, this concept is practised in domestic circuits. The ICC has worked on various developmental programs to put the sport on the global map. With the time, ICC is looking to heavily invest in improving the sport on far-off frontiers. However, the growing cricket team has witnessed plenty of progress which has improved chances of domestic professionals to prove the mettle at the highest level of the cricketing arena.
First-ever international cricket game
According to the multiple sources, the first international cricket game was held between the US and Canada which was played in New York in 1844. The local competitions were on the rise among different nations which has further witnessed the involvement of countries like India, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Pakistan, Sri Lanka to play under the ICC.
International Cricket Council
Back in 1909, ICC is formerly known as Imperial Cricket Conference; England, South Africa and Australia were its members. The name was renamed to International Cricket Conference in 1965 before it was re-branded as International Cricket Council in 1989. Under its fold, there are twelve permanent members with dozens of associate teams partaking in the multiple tournaments being held under Dubai-based board’s banner.
When Laws of Cricket were written
In 1744, cricket laws were established to give something to the fraternity to cheer for. This is the time when it was decided that two on-field umpires shall observe the game and make decisions at the behest. Besides, it was maintained that stumps should be twenty-two inches in height with bails of six inches and the difference between the striker’s and non-striker’s end for two sets of wickets should be twenty-two yards.
However, the custodian of Laws of Cricket, the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) has revised the laws in 1788 and imposing a ban on charging down an opponent to keep the game fair and square. ICC’s playing handbook is also available with the version from 2008-09.
First Cricket Club
The gentleman’s game witnessed first cricket club in the 1750s when a club namely Hambledon Cricket Club (HCC) was formed. There on, it was known as ‘Cradle of Cricket’. However, the reputed club Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) was formed in 1787. This was also the time when bowlers bowled through the air which eventually gave new opportunities to bowlers – to yield desired results. Despite this, the old-fashioned practice continued on the cricketing field.
The first description of the game
According to Kimberly Dillon Summers in the book titled – ‘United Kingdom’, a schoolteacher, William Goldwyn, who did his best to made literature of cricket to the public, wrote the description of the recorded match in 1706. Some interesting change for the good came after a bizarre move. It came after a batsman namely ‘Shock White made an appearance with a bat having the width of the stumps.
Soon after that, the width of the bat was limited to four inches with the weight of the ball to five and a half ounces. The circumference of the cherry was suggested in 1838, 60 years after the weight of the ball was specified. Between 1730 and 1790, newspapers recorded more than 750 cricket matches.
First-ever leg-before law
In 1774, the Leg Before Wicket (LBW) law was introduced which was eventually praised by many given to the unique idea of.
Round-arm bowling introduction
The first-ever bowler to use round-arm bowling was John Willes after most of the bowlers were preferring to bowl underarm. With his sister Christiana, Willes practised to bowl round-arm after it was introduced to him by her. The story goes to the wide dress of Christian was has troubled her to bowl underarm. The round-arm technique gained popularity in the 1830s.
However, MCC in 1835 came up with the rule that the ball should not be thrown and must be delivered underhand. It has vehemently opposed the jerking of an elbow while delivering the all. In the 1880s, the introduction of bowling overarm has witnessed plenty of practitioners who saw Australia introducing bowlers who preferred overarm action in 1878. However, underarm bowling had been still practised until World War 1st.
Amongst them was England’s serious exponent of lob bowling George Simpson-Hayward who featured in 1909-1910 tour of South Africa. The then successful bowler snared 23 scalps to yield the desired results while being deemed as a ‘lobster’. From the amateur level, the evolution of the bats had witnessed a lot of changes until the arrival of professionalism in the sport. From the sticks to a hockey stick to full-fledged bats, there has been subsequent.
The table has listed the full members of the ICC with their membership date
|Australia||Cricket Australia||15th of July 1909|
|Afghanistan||Afghanistan Cricket Board||22nd June 2017|
|England||England and Wales Cricket Board||15th of July, 1909|
|Bangladesh||Bangladesh Cricket Board||26th of June,2000|
|Ireland||Cricket Ireland||22nd June 2017|
|India||Board of Control for Cricket in India||31st of May, 1926|
|Pakistan||Pakistan Cricket Board||28th July 1953|
|New Zealand||New Zealand Cricket||31st of May 1926|
|Sri Lanka||Sri Lanka Cricket||21st July 1981|
|South Africa||Cricket South Africa||15th of July, 1909|
|Zimbabwe||Zimbabwe Cricket||6th of July, 1992|
|West Indies||Cricket West Indies||31st of May, 1926|
Books on cricket
A lot has been written on cricket from the historian to poets, to journalists and socialists. From CLR James to William Blake, and Mike Brearley to Gideon Haigh, it speaks volumes about the sport’s richest prose writing which has been available all over the internet. You’ll be having separate access to the list of biographies of cricketers.
Formats in cricket
Test Cricket is the traditional format which has a maximum of five days and the red-ball is used in this particular format of the game. The pinnacle format of Test cricket has recently a new addition when pink-ball Test was introduced to be determined as the day-night Test. Cricketers walk on the field donning white jerseys. However, the recent addition of numbers of jersey in the multi-day format has impressed many.
The multi-day format marked the beginning in March 1877 between Australia and England at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). Hosts Australia won the match by 45 runs which also saw first-ever Test ton by Aussie batsman, Charles Bannerman, who scored 168 before returning as retired hurt. Interestingly, when Australia again emerged as victories, the Sporting Times published an obituary which maintained, ‘English cricket should be cremated’.
One Day International
It is not wrong to admit the fact that ODI cricket has begun by an ‘accident’. And, as rightly put forth by John Stern in book namely, ‘Complete Encyclopedia of Cricket: The Definitive Guide to the International Game’ where he elaborated how the limited-overs cricket unfolded before the public. Given to the beginning ODI cricket was comprised of 55-60 overs for each innings which begun in 1971 and even it was not entirely fixed which also saw 40-45 overs being bowled per side.
However, the first-ever Limited Overs International (LOI) was played between the host country Australia and England at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on January 5th, 1971.
How it came to fruition
One-day cricket was born inadvertently when the first four days of 1971 Ashes Test between Australia and England were washed off due to rain at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). Subsequently, it was decided that the final day will be 40-overs match between the two arch-rivals to please the disheartened spectators.
Around 46,000 people turned up as hosts defeated the tourists by five wickets. A new chapter was written, and it led to a new format. Initially, one-day matches had a total of 60 overs per side. Overall, 29 teams including Asia XI, World XI and Africa XI have featured in ODI cricket since 1971.
The advent of T20 cricket was in the 21st century. It is believed to be invented by former England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) marketing manager, Stuart Robertson who has played a significant role to see it flourishing in the international fold. Back in 2001, the idea struck Robertson who further worked on it and they end result is before you with T20 cricket ever since has gone from strength to strength.
In England T20 Cup began in 2003, however, ICC marked the beginning in 2007 with the first-ever T20I between hosts South Africa and the West Indies. It was also the first-ever World T20 which India won by five runs after beating arch-rivals Pakistan by five runs at Johannesburg’s Wanderers Stadium on September 24, 2007.
Fielding positions in cricket
Given to the coordinates on the ground, most of the fielding positions play a significant role as per the format one is playing in. However, all positions are the same as per the system with bowlers’ and wicketkeepers’ position fixed. It’s a fascinating experience to learn the polar coordinates even for the avid followers of the game. While talking about the imagery, it plays an interesting role when one listens to running commentary on radio. This is where knowledge of coordinates becomes vital.
Off-side – the term used for a batsman – is mostly is his strong side and usually faces a front portion of his leg. In short, it is the opposite direction of his on side or leg side. Therefore, similarly the same applies to the left-handed batsman. What off-side is to the right-hander, is the leg side or onside to the leftie.
All in all, there are more than 36 fielding positions given to the angles and placements for the international standard ground. Since the inception of T20 cricket, boundaries were shortened to entertain crowds. However, for ODIs and Tests, the boundaries were pushed back to make things fair in a nutshell.
Now it’s time for angles to make the progress as described below:
- Forward is a position which lies in front of the batsmen known as square
- Backward lies behind the batsmen and well behind square
- Square is the extension of the popping crease which is drawn on turf only
- Fine bisects the stumps on an imaginary basis all along the middle of the pitch
- Wide is far from the reach of the batsman which goes past beyond the dedicated line. It is considered as an illegal delivery which a bowler is bound to bowl again. It falls under the Law 22 of the Laws of Cricket.
Number of fielding positions
- Wicket Keeper
- First Slip
- Second slip
- Third Slip
- Fly Slip
- Long Stop (Behind wicket-keeper)
- Third man
- Deep Gully
- Silly Point
- Deep Point
- Straight Hit
- Silly Mid On
- Mid On
- Long On
- Long Leg
- Leg Slip
- Short Fine Leg
- Deep Fine Leg
- Short Square Leg
- Leg Gully
- Forward Short Leg
- Short Mid Wicket
- Mid Wicket
- Deep Mid Wicket
- Square Leg
- Deep Square Leg
- Cover Sweeper
- Cover Point
- Extra Cover
- Deep Extra Cover
- Silly Mid Off
- Mid Off
- Long Off
Distances of the fielding spots
Short, silly, long or deep refers to the distance from the batsman. And mid-wicket, cover and leg are heralded by the angle from the batter’s end. Silly refers to very close fielding placement for the batsman. Short is majorly known as moderately close to the batsman. Mid is a point which has the polar coordinates between halfway either of the boundary ropes or from the batsman’s end. Deep and Long are usually positions which lie pretty closer to the boundary line
Types of dismissals in cricket
There are 10 modes of dismissals in cricket
Bowled: It’s the most common dismissal where a bowler aims the stumps before bails come off the groove or the Yorker leaves furniture uprooted.
Caught: Overall, three subcategories fall under caught:
- Caught and bowled: It is the way a dismissal when a bowler completes a catch on his own bowling.
- Caught by the fielder: It’s the mode of dismissal when a close-in fielder or who fields in the deep or anywhere at polar coordinates complete a catch is known as caught by the fielder dismissal.
- Caught behind: It’s the pure mode of dismissal when a wicketkeeper completes a catch behind stumps after the ball takes an edge of the bat.
Stumping: This applies when the batsman is found well short of his crease to allow wicketkeeper whip off the bails in a flash. Usually, this mode of dismissal is common when a spinner is being asked to bowl. However, it had also been effective and tricky with the medium-pace bowling where wicketkeeper stood well behind the wickets to restrict batsman for playing freely.
Hit wicket: This has happened many-a-times when the batsman is found to dislodge the stumps either with his bat or his own bat. It applies for both if the batsman opts for a run or offers a shot.
Hit the ball twice: It’s an interesting mode of dismissal. If the batsman hits the ball twice with intention, he is considered as out. On the first instance, if the batsman gets hit on the body or bat before attempting for another hit he/she is declared out for hitting the wickets.
Obstructing the field: Here the situation becomes tricky when a batsman opts to change his direction while running between the wickets thus it is deemed as obstruction of a fielder. Also, during this time, if he hits the ball or tries to deviate its direction after a throw from a fielder, it’s considered as ‘out’.
Handled the ball: It was earlier termed as a separate mode of dismissal. However, not it falls under the obstruction of the field. If the batsman intentionally touches the ball with his hand, he will be considered out which is further subjected to an appeal from the fielding side. Also, the case of a wicket stands null when a bowler or fielder gives him/her an approval to pick and return the ball. In 2017, MCC had referred ‘handled the ball’ as the ‘obstructing the field’.
Leg before wicket (LBW): The LBW comes to the action when a batsman is trapped well in front of the wickets. And, not only that, it is considered out if the point of impact is in line with batsman offering a shot. Also, the batsman can be given out if he offers no stroke whatsoever when the pitching of the ball meets the criteria of LBW.
Timed-Out: Usually, it does not happen, but this rule of dismissal is there in law books of cricket. If a new batsman takes more than 180 seconds to make entry well inside the boundary ropes he/she is considered as out. However, three minutes does apply in the traditional format of the game. In the limited-overs cricket, only two minutes have been set for the new batsman to make an entry on the field.
Retired: A batsman is deemed as out if he retires without the consent of on-field umpire. Besides, if he doesn’t have permission from the opposition captain to start the proceedings again after picking an injury or vice versa.
Run-Out This has happened hundreds of times barring the formats worldwide. Well, the run-out dismissal is considered when there is a miscommunication on the 22-yard surface between two batters before one of them gets dismissed when fielder dislodges the bails from either side of the stumps either by a direct through or by help from his partner on the field while finding batsman well short of his crease.
Specifications for a ball
It solely depends on the level of cricket one plays. In men’s cricket, the ball has the circumference between 22 and 22.9 centimetres which weights between 155 and 163 grams. However, in women’s cricket, the ball has a maximum weight of 151 grams with its circumference reading as 21 and 22.5 centimetres. Concurrently, Kookaburra, SG and Dukes are being used widely in the cricketing landscape.
From centuries a ball has remained same more or less made of cork strips which are tightly rolled with string. Also, for the outer core, the highest quality of the leather is used which then is sewed to produce a protruding seam. Then eventually balls are put into a vice which moulds leather to perfection.
Where cricket balls are manufactured
Over the decades, highly-skilled craftsmen have been into ball making. Apart from South East England’s Kent, South Asia had produced cricket balls which have reduced the production cost given to the labourers available at cheaper rates. Jalandhar is a base in India whereas production line for balls in Pakistan is – Sialkot. It becomes pertinent to mention that more than 95% of balls are being used in club cricket which is being manufactured in India and Pakistan.
Also, during 2010 Indian Premier League, Matthew Hayden introduced Mongoose cricket bat. In fact, he served as the brand ambassador of the Mongoose. That particular bat has around 32 per cent shorter blade with more than 40 per cent long handle. Earlier, it was launched in 2009 which saw Andrew Symonds, James Anderson, Dwayne Smith and Marcus Trescothick sporting the brand
Specifications of a cricket bat
According to the Laws of Cricket which further describes under Law 5 that the length of the bat should not be more than 965 millimetre which is roughly equal to 37.99 inches. Plus, the width may be no more than 108 millimetres (4.25 inches). Also, the edges must be 40 millimetres with depth limited to 67 mm (2.64 inches). However, there is no standard on the weight of the bat which usually is between 1.2 kg to 1.4 kg.
Besides, this, MCC came up with a grading system for the bats which is read as Grade A, Grade B and Grade C. Also, it had been maintained that adhesive should be used as less as possible.
A right-handed batsman or left-handed batsman in cricket is the one who has a specialization in batting. For instance, Don Bradman, Vivian Richards, Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli
A left-arm bowler or right-arm bowler is a player whose chief skill is in bowling. For example, Glenn McGrath, Malcolm Marshal, Wasim Akram, and Muttiah Muralitharan.
Umpires and role of umpires
The basic role of the umpire is to adjudicate the game. There are two on-field umpires known as – straight umpire who stays behind the wickets at nonstriker’s end and square leg umpire who stays well behind the umpire at the imaginary line of striker’s end popping crease within 30-yard circle.
Also, the third umpire who’s also known as TV umpire who looks after the decisions with the help of footage after being referred by two on-field umpires during a game. Moreover, the third umpire could be stationed as an on-field umpired if there would be any sort of emergency.
Match referee is the official who oversees international matches. He is at the helm of things by observing events during the entire course of the game. Their basic work is to furnish a report to the governing body of ICC. Besides, their job is to focus on the players’ action which may be a cause of concern while considering the Code of Conduct. Usually, the practice of availing services of match referees had been former players who had a terrific career.