Cricket is a type of club ball game that uses a handheld tool to hit a ball. It belongs in the same family of games like baseball, golf, hockey, and squash, to name a few. The key element in cricket is its use of wickets that batsmen defend. Although cricket is most popular in England, Australia, Pakistan, and India, it is gradually gaining enthusiasts in the United States. It also enjoys high viewmanship and participation in many parts of Asia and the Middle East.
Cricket likely evolved from a children’s game played in England. The first historical reference to the game played by adults appeared in 1611. It was also during this time when the term cricket appeared in a dictionary, defining it as a type of boys’ ball game. Cricket may also have evolved from a type of bowling, except that it utilizes a batsman who attempts to strike back the ball to prevent it from hitting its target.
The first cricket teams in England were founded in the 17th century. County teams were formed and competitive games were played starting in 1709. The first known women’s cricket match occurred in 1745 in Surrey. Over the years, the popularity of the game increased and cricket became a dominant sport in many regions in England during the 18th century.
The rules of the game were established and amended in 1774. Changes in the design of the stump (such as the addition of the middle stump for better stability) and the regulation of the width of the bat were also established. Members of the Star and Garter Club, who later founded the Marylebone Cricket Club in 1787. From then on, the Laws of Cricket has been kept and revised by the MCC.
Certain changes were implemented in how the game was played. In early games, for example, the ball was rolled on the ground and batsmen used bats shaped like hockey sticks to hit them. In 1760, pitching was allowed, which also helped change the shape and design of the bat. Because of the higher position or projectile of the ball, the use of a straight, wide bat became necessary.
Cricket later spread to other parts of the world via the British, who introduced it to North America, India, Australia, South Africa, and New Zealand.
A Closer Look at Cricket
Cricket is a competitive game played by two teams with 11 players for each team. It is similar to baseball in certain aspects. Players, for example, take turns batting and defending wickets, similar to defending bases in baseball. Wickets are arranged on the playing field, with each wicket containing a bail on top. The object of the offensive team is to knock down the bail to dismiss the batsman guarding it. The object of the defensive team is to prevent this from happening by striking the ball.
To play, batsmen are assigned to guard the wickets on two opposite sides of the field. These batsmen are called the striker (the one who will attempt to hit the ball) and the non-striker (the player who will stand in front of the wicket on the opposite side of the field). A bowler from the opposing team throws the ball in an attempt to knock down the bail off the wicket. The batsman or striker then defends the wicket by striking the ball using a cricket bat. The batter can then run to the opposite side of the field once he/she hits the ball. The non-striker also runs to the other side of the field that the striker guarded. In short, the striker and the non-striker exchange places. Each time the batsman changes places, he/she earns a score.
Each team assigns two players as team captains. Both captains participate in a toss coin to determine the team who will take the bat first. There are two to four innings in cricket. In each innings (the term remains in this form whether it refers to one or multiple innings), one team plays bat to score while the opposing team pitches and fields. The opposing team will try to dismiss the batsmen mainly by knocking out the bails on top of the stumps and restrict the score of the other team. When the inning is over, the other team switches to the batting role and a new inninsg begins. An innings ends when the batting side’s batsmen are all dismissed. It may also end if the captain of the batting team declares it closed. This is regardless of the number of players left to bat. A match may also be ended if the game runs out of time or if the weather is bad.
Another reason why an innings could end early is when the number of overs have already been bowled. This usually occurs in an limited overs match.
Objective of the Game
To win a game, a team must be able to score higher than the opposing team by making more runs. However, there are certain forms of cricket where all opposition batsmen must be dismissed in the final innings for a team to win. Otherwise, the game will be a draw.
The cricket playing field is an oval (or sometimes, circular) grass area. In the center of the oval is the pitch, which is a flat strip. The area of pitch measures 20.12m in length, with at least 1.22m area as an extension to make space for the bowler approach and the return crease. The turf pitch width is 3.05m. Depending on the cricket competition level that is being played, the dimensions of the turf wicket might change.
The main pieces of equipment used in cricket are the ball, the bats, and the wickets.
The Cricket Ball
The cricket ball has a circumference of 9 inches and has a core made with cork.
The cricket bat is usually made of willow wood. Its maximum length is 38 inches while its maximum width is 4.25 inches.
The cricket wicket is made up of three stumps (sometimes called stakes) that are 28 inches high and 1.25 inches in diameter. The wickets are stuck perpendicular to the ground and arranged in a way to prevent the ball from passing between the stumps. On top of the wicket rest two bails measuring 4.37 inches.
Length of Play
Cricket takes a long time to play. In Test and first class matches, a game could last as long as five days. Typically, a cricket game could last at least six hours each day. To ensure that players are not unnecessarily exhausted, special rules allow intervals for snacks, drinks, and lunch. Cricket is only played during dry weather.