Experts agree that children living in the Weald, an area of dense woodlands and clearings in south-east England, during the Saxon or Norman eras may have originated cricket. In 1611, the first time that cricket was mentioned as an adult sport, a dictionary also referred to the game as a boy’s game. There is also the theory that cricket may have evolved from bowls due to a batsman’s attempt to deflect the ball away from its intended aim.
By the middle of the 17th century, village cricket had advanced. In the second half of the century, the first English “county teams” were established, with “local specialists” from village cricket serving as the sport’s first professionals. 1709 is the first game in which sides are recorded using county names.
Cricket became a popular sport in London and the south-eastern regions of England in the first part of the 18th century. Travel restrictions prevented it from becoming widely popular outside of England, but Women’s Cricket has been around since 1745 when the first game was played in Surrey.
The first Laws of Cricket were created in 1744 and later revised in 1774 to include innovations like lbw, a third stump, the middle stump, and a maximum bat width. The “Star and Garter Club,” whose members went on to create the renowned Marylebone Cricket Club at Lord’s in 1787, developed the codes. The Laws were promptly turned over to MCC, who has been updating them since.
19th Century Cricket
Due to the Napoleonic Wars, the game managed to withstand a lack of investment early in the 19th century, and recovery started in 1815. The first English county club was founded in Sussex in 1839, and by the end of the 19th century, the others had all done the same. A traveling “All-England Eleven” team was established as a business venture in 1846. It significantly contributed to the game’s dissemination to regions that had never previously witnessed top-tier cricket.
The creation of the railroad system-aided cricket’s growth since it allowed teams to play one another without traveling large distances. Additionally, because viewers could travel further to games, there would be larger audiences. Locals were encouraged to play by British army troops around the globe, which led to an upsurge in teams throughout the former British Empire.
The first women’s county match was played in 1811, and women’s cricket played a key part in the game’s growth in the 19th century. Large crowds frequently watched women’s matches, especially in the South of England. Australia’s first women’s teams started competing in the sport in the 1890s.
20th Century Cricket
Only England, Australia, and South Africa were members of the Imperial Cricket Conference (the ICC’s original name) when it was established in 1909. Before the Second World War, Pakistan (1952) and the West Indies (1928), however, as well as New Zealand (1930), India (1932), and Pakistan (1932), all became Test nations. With the introduction of Test Cricket, cricket’s popularity soared in these nations. Domestic competitions grew gradually more formalized, with the West Indies creating an island-based First-Class match, New Zealand maintaining its Plunkett Shield, which dates back to 1906, India launching the Ranji trophy in 1934, and Pakistan establishing the Quaid-e-Azam trophy in 1953.
The first-ever Test Match between England and Australia was played in 1934, marking the beginning of women’s cricket’s important international advancements. The International Women’s Cricket Council, which was established in 1958 and has now amalgamated with the ICC, contributed to the growth of the women’s game. The first Cricket World Cup of any type was held in 1973. With Rachel Heyhoe-Flint serving as captain, England won the inaugural Women’s World Cup and went on to win the tournament.
21st Century Cricket
The advent of a new sport’s format—the shortest version being the three-hour extravaganza of Twenty20 cricket—has undoubtedly been one of the game’s most significant changes in the 21st century.
The introduction of Twenty20 cricket, which was first played in county cricket in England in 2003, has greatly advanced the sport. Bowlers started to master a wide range of diverse deliveries to counter free-scoring batters with huge hits and strokes played in all directions, while the caliber of fielding has sharply improved. The first Women’s Twenty20 International was held in 2004, and the sport’s third official format, the Men’s Twenty20 International, was born the following year.
More than 400 million people watched the first-ever ICC World Twenty20 final between India and Pakistan in September 2007 because it was played in Johannesburg. The next year, the Indian Premier League was founded due to this. Modern cricketers in the twenty-first century must now play year-round due to the expansion of Twenty20 leagues across the globe.