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History of Cricket

Published: Reading time: ~ 13 min. Comments: 6

What is cricket? How great is cricket history? This is a non-contact team sport, which people began to play in the middle of the 17th century. The history of cricket begins in England – here it originated, but soon spread around the world. Especially cricket is known in countries such as India, Afghanistan, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, England and Pakistan. Cricket is played by two teams of 11 players. The main sports equipment is a bat and a ball (it may remind you of baseball, but there are other rules here).

The essence of the game is to score as many points as possible and accordingly prevent your opponent from doing it. Depending on the format of the competition, the duration of one match can vary from 2 hours to several days. In this article, let’s remember how it all began and why cricket is popular among hundreds of millions of people. Welcome to the cricket history.

History of Cricket: from 1598 to today
History of Cricket: from 1598 to today

5 dates in the history of cricket

There are many important dates in the history of cricket. But there are a few dates when events occurred, without which cricket history would have been very different.

A date in the history of cricket An event in the history of cricket
1598 The first written mention of cricket
1787 Founding of the Marylebone Cricket Club
1839 Establishment of the Sussex County Club
1909 International Cricket Council founded
1975 First Cricket World Cup

Cricket History – the first mention of the game

According to historical data, the cricket history begins in 1611, to this date the first mention of cricket belongs. The game was invented by village teenagers in the South East of England. Cricket has developed for decades. The first English amateur teams appeared at the beginning of the 17th century. Since then, the game has established itself as a leading sport in London and the South East Counties of England.

The first rules in cricket history were invented in 1744. They were changed later and in 1787, members of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), who are still called the custodians of the Rules and Laws of cricket, took responsibility for the Laws of the Game.

In other countries, people learned about the game thanks to the English colonies. The British Empire played an important role in its spread abroad. In the 17th century, it was North America. Cricket was soon brought by sailors to the West Indies (the historical name of the islands of the Caribbean Sea), then to India itself. At the end of the 18th century, the game appeared in Australia and New Zealand, and at the beginning of the next century, the history of cricket began in South Africa.

Cricket History: 19th century

During the Napoleonic Wars (1799-1815), the whole of Europe was going through hard times. Consequently, there was no sports entertainment at that time. It was only after the end of the war campaign that cricket and the sport in general began to recover and the history of cricket took a new turn.

Sussex County Cricket Club (Sussex Sharks) is one of the first district teams, which was formed in 1839. A little later, Nottinghamshire (1841), Kent (1842) and Surrey (1845) county clubs were formed.

In 1846, one of the Nottinghamshire players, William Clarke, initiated the creation of a new cricket team that toured the country and increased the popularity of the game. The club was called the All-England Eleven (AEE), which included 9 of the best English players of the time, as well as two amateur players – Alfred  Mynn and Nicholas Felix. It was the first away club in cricket history.

Thanks to the development of the rail network, the AEE club regularly travelled throughout the UK. It was especially important to visit places in a country where first-class cricket was unknown and unheard. The All-England Eleven team set an example for other local clubs how to use the railroad and how to play with teams that are far from each other.

In 1852, some members of the AEE club broke away from the team and formed their own United All-England Eleven (UAEE). Later, other collectives began to appear (in 1880, 19 such clubs were created).

Starting in 1857, the two main clubs AEE and UAEE began to play against each other and in 1859, the first national cricket team of England was formed, which consisted of 6 people from each team. In the same year, for the first time in the cricket history, the team went on the first overseas tour of North America.

Cricket History: England Cricket Team in North America in 1859
Cricket History: England Cricket Team in North America in 1859

In 1862, the English team was able to visit Australia. And already in 1868, the first cricket club of Australian athletes went on a tour of England. In 1877, two cricket matches were played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground between England and Australia. Those matches were officially classified as the first test matches (however, the very first international game in cricket history was recorded between the United States and Canada in 1844, but it is not considered a test match). In that confrontation, each team won one game.

To put it in a nutshell, test games are also called a test, since the duration of such matches is about 3-5 days. This is a real test for professional players, because any long-term competition greatly exhausts and debilitates a person.

By the way, it was the competition between England and Australia that gave rise to the creation of an unofficial trophy of test matches – The Ashes (Ashes). According to history, after the first victory of the Australian national team at the famous English venue The Oval in 1882, one of the newspapers in Britain wrote:

The English cricket died. The body will be cremated and the ashes will be delivered to Australia. Indeed, the trophy with the ashes was brought to Australia.

Now The Ashes is called the very series of test matches between these 2 teams.

In 1890, the official county championship was established in England. The Curry Cup started in South Africa in 1889-1890 and the Australian Sheffield Shield championship was founded in 1892. The period 1890-1914 is considered the Golden Age in the history of cricket, until the First World War broke out in the world.

The History of Cricket in the 20th Century

The 20th century has become very important in cricket history. In 1907, the president of the South African Cricket Association Abe Bailey wrote a letter to the secretary of the English club Marylebone. In that letter, Abe proposed the creation of the Imperial Cricket Council, which would be responsible for formulating the Laws, as well as regulating international matches between the three countries: Australia, England and South Africa.

Initially, Australia was against such a union. But in 1909, during the Australian tour of England, representatives of 3 countries met at Lord’s Cricket Ground to establish the Imperial Cricket Conference (ICC).

History of Cricket: First Test match in 1912
History of Cricket: First Test match in 1912

In 1928, the West Indies joined the conference, New Zealand in 1930, and India in 1932. After Pakistan gained independence in 1947, 5 years later the Islamic Republic also became a participant in the Imperial Conference. The popularity of cricket skyrocketed in these countries. Because of this, domestic championships have become more of a formality in cricket history.

In the 20th century, women’s cricket also gained popularity. In 1934, an international women’s match was held between England and Australia for the first time in the history of cricket. In 1958, the International Women’s Cricket Council was formed between the associations of Australia, England, the Netherlands, New Zealand and South Africa.

After the end of World War II, the period of the 1940s and 1950s was characterized by slow play and fewer runs. This led to a gradual decline in attendance at cricket competitions. So, in 1963, in England, a limited or one-day draw was invented, for the first time in cricket history. The uniqueness of such matches was that two teams have a certain number of overs (throws).

One-day cricket has become popular among spectators, because in such matches you can often see aggressive, risky and spectacular strikes, and even more the fan knows that this game will end today, and not in a few days.

In 1965, the ICC was renamed the Internatioanl Cricket Council. In 1970, South Africa was suspended from membership of the ICC for an indefinite period (reinstated in 1991) due to the policy of apartade (the division of people into racial, ethnic or other groups).

In 1971, the Melbourne Ground hosted the first one-day international match in cricket history. And 4 years later, the debut Cricket World Cup was held. In 1977, Australian billionaire Kerry Packer organized a private league-World Series Cricket, which was not part of the structure of international cricket. The championship lasted only two years, but it is remembered for allowing some banned players from South Africa to show their playing abilities. WSS participants were also paid much more money. Plus, there was a color form and night games for the first time.

At the 1992 World Cup (held every 4 years) players began to use colored uniforms for the first time in cricket history. The ball turned from white to red and floodlights were installed in the stadium. In addition, a third judge was introduced, who considered some controversial points on television replays.

The History of Cricket in the 21st century

In the 21st century, cricket history is developing very rapidly. In 2001, the ICC introduced a Table of Test Championships, and a year later a Table of One-day International Championships. In 2003, England introduced a new competition format – Twenty20. These are shortened matches that are limited to a maximum of 20 overs. This format began to gain popularity around the world quickly:

  • in June 2003, the first official matches were played in England as part of the Twenty20 Cup;
  • in 2004, the first competition was held in Pakistan;
  • in 2005, the first Australian game was played. The first Twenty20 International match between the women’s teams of England and New Zealand was held this year;
  • in 2006, such matches were held in the West Indies Islands. Plus, the first men’s Twenty20 International match between England and Australia was also held;
  • in 2007, the first ICC World Twenty20 tournament in cricket history was held.

The continuation of the cricket history was the move of the ICC from London to Dubai in 2005. Currently, the International Council consists of 104 member countries: 12 of which are full members of the ICC. Only these countries have the opportunity to participate in all formats of cricket competitions. The other 92 countries are associate members. Such teams cannot participate in test matches.

International Cricket Council Headquarters in Dubai
International Cricket Council Headquarters in Dubai

Under the auspices of the International Cricket Council, such major tournaments are held as:

  1. Men’s Cricket World Cup (every 4 years).
  2. Women’s Cricket World Cup (every 4 years).
  3. ICC Men’s T20 World Cup (every 2 years).
  4. ICC Women’s T20 World Cup (every 2 years).
  5. ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup (every 2 years).
  6. ICC World Test Championship (starting in 2019, a new tournament held for two years).

The ICC does not regulate domestic competitions in the participating countries. The International Council also does not establish or change the Laws of the game that remained under management the Marylebone Cricket Club since 1787 from the beginning of cricket history.

Cricket History: TOP 6 major participating countries

  1. India.
    As of May 2021, the Indian national team is the best team in the world in the ranking of test matches, also takes the third place in the ODI ranking and the second place in the T20I ranking. The country has the status of a full member of the ICC. The first Indian club was formed in 1792 under the name Calcutta. It was the first domestic (home) team in India’s cricket history. The most popular tournament is the Indian Premier League (IPL).
  2. New Zealand.
    Currently, the New Zealand team (nickname Blackcaps) takes the second place in the ranking of test matches, the first place in the ODI table and the third place in the T20I ranking. In 1930, the country became the fifth to receive the status of a full member of the ICC. The national team lost the last two finals at the Cricket World Cup (in 2015, Australia, in 2019 England). Competitions such as: Plunket Shield (test matches), The Ford Trophy (ODI format) and Super Smash (T20) are held domestically.
  3. England (England and Wales).
    As of May 2021, the national team is ranked the third in the test match rankings, the fourth in the ODI rankings, and the first in the T20I table. England is the founder member of the ICC and has played an important role in cricket history. Until the 1990s, Scottish and Irish players were also part of the England national team, until they became independent members of the International Council.
    The national team is the last winner of the Cricket World Cup. Within the kingdom, the most popular tournament is the County Championship. It is the first-class cricket championship in England and Wales.
  4. Australia.
    The country has been a full member of the ICC since 1909. The team is currently ranked the fourth in the test match cricket rankings, second in the ODI table, and the fifth in the T20I rankings. The national team is the record holder in cricket history for the number of finals won at the World Cup (5 times). Popular tournaments include the Sheffield Shield (test matches), the Marsh One-Day Cup (ODI) and the Big Bash League (T20) are held domestically.
  5. Pakistan.
    The cricket history in Pakistan began in 1952, when the country became a full member of the ICC. It won one Cricket World Cup in 1992, and reached the final in 1999. As of May 2021, the team is ranked the fifth in the test match rankings, the sixth in the ODI rankings, and the fourth in the T20I table. The Pakistan Super League (PSL) championship is held domestically.
  6. Afghanistan.
    Cricket in Afghanistan was played in the XIX century, but only at the beginning of the 21st century, the national team began to enjoy success. In 1995, the Afghanistan Cricket Council was formed; in 2001, the country became an affiliated member of the ICC. In 2013, they became an associate member and since 2017,  it has been a full member of the International Council, which can take part in test matches.
TOP-6 cricket teams
TOP-6 cricket teams

There is a world record that was recorded in cricket history in 2019. This is the highest score in the T20I competition format on the account of the Afghanistan national cricket team. The match against Ireland ended with the score 278/3. The national team is currently ranked the seventh in the T20I rankings.

Cricket History: FAQ

What country did cricket come from?

The first mention of cricket and its history begins in England.

How old is the game of cricket?

The first written mention of cricket dates back to 1598.

Is cricket an Olympic sport?

Cricket is currently excluded from the Olympic Games, the only time it was played at the Olympics in 1900 in Paris.

Ajit Jane
Author: Ajit Jane Position: Chief Editor

Comments on Article

  • Avatar

    Lieshoi | 07.07.2021 at 21:00

    I wonder if cricket will ever be popular in France, as in India 😉

  • Avatar

    Miethoi | 03.07.2021 at 15:23

    Eric Jones, don’t worry, during the next 2-3 Olympiads they will add

  • Avatar

    MichaelLougs | 02.07.2021 at 17:33

    The history of cricket is no less interesting than the history of football, the British are certainly well done for bringing it to India

  • Avatar

    Gia | 02.07.2021 at 16:20

    For me personally, cricket is an incomprehensible game)

  • Avatar

    Eric Jones | 26.06.2021 at 17:03

    Cricket is a game unfairly deprived of the attention of the Olympic Committee(

  • Avatar

    Veda | 26.06.2021 at 02:18

    Hi, great article about the history of cricket. Briefly and succinctly!

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