Cricket, England’s national summer sport, which is now played throughout the world, particularly in Australia, India, Pakistan, the West Indies, and the British Isles.
Cricket is played with a bat and ball and involves two competing sides (teams) of 11 players. The field is oval with a rectangular area in the middle, known as the pitch, that is 22 yards (20.12 metres) by 10 feet (3.04 metres) wide. Two sets of three sticks, called wickets, are set in the ground at each end of the pitch. Across the top of each wicket lies horizontal pieces called bails. The sides take turns at batting and bowling (pitching); each turn is called an “innings” (always plural). Sides have one or two innings each, depending on the prearranged duration of the match, the object being to score the most runs. The bowlers, delivering the ball with a straight arm, try to break (hit) the wicket with the ball so that the bails fall. This is one of several ways that the batsman is dismissed, or put out. A bowler delivers six balls at one wicket (thus completing an “over”), then a different player from his side bowls six balls to the opposite wicket. The batting side defends its wicket.
This sport derives from an old sport called stoolball, and in the seventeenth century, the English nobility began to adopt more cricket as a real sport and it has been changing mutating into what it is today.
Cricket was once an Olympic sport, but it ended up leaving the program because it did not have all the rules well defined and the number of practitioners in the World was not big enough. They are currently trying to include it again, primarily as a display sport (no medals) but it is still unclear when they will get it.
The earliest reference to an 11-a-side match, played in Sussex for a stake of 50 guineas, dates from 1697. In 1709 Kent met Surrey in the first recorded intercounty match at Dartford, and it is probable that about this time code of laws (rules) existed for the conduct of the game, although the earliest known version of such rules is dated 1744. Sources suggest that cricket was limited to the southern counties of England during the early 18th century, but its popularity grew and eventually spread to London, notably to the Artillery Ground, Finsbury, which saw a famous match between Kent and All-England in 1744. Heavy betting and disorderly crowds were common at matches.
Cricket involves two teams with 11 players on each side. The captain who wins the toss decides whether his team bats or bowls first. If they bat first , their aim is to score a lot of runs and make sure the other team does not reach that score.
Cricket is played in many formats, but the most popular are TEST CRICKET and ONE DAY cricket. In TEST cricket game goes on for 5 days, with each team batting twice - if time permits.
ONE DAY is the most popular format, with each team getting 300 balls to score runs. And the other team tries to outscore them within the same number of balls.
Some interesting facts about cricket
Cricket is played by more than 120 million players in many countries which makes it the world’s second most popular sport.
It was first played in England in the 16th century.
As the British Empire expanded, cricket was introduced to more countries.
By the mid-1850s, international games were being played.
Cricket is most popular in England, Australia, India, South Africa, the West Indies, New Zealand, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.
Recently countries such as Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Ireland, Afghanistan, Netherlands, and Canada have become more successful as the sport becomes more popular.