THE CRICKET STORY

The primordial origin of Cricket is “very” unclear with various sources giving speculative stories without proper documented backing.

According to some theories, cricket originated outside England and was brought there by the Normans after 1066. As early as the 8th century, bat and ball games were played in the Punjab region of southern Asia—the ancestors of games such as gilli-danda and perhaps polo. Like the other great recreational import of the time, chess, these sports are believed to have migrated via Persia and through Constantinopleinto Europe. There are 8th and 9th centuryaccounts of bat and ball games being played in the Mediterranean region, sometimes as church-sponsored events to promote community spirit. If the games reached France in this manner, it is reasonable to assume they would cross the Channel and be introduced in England. But all of this is speculation and there is general agreement among cricket historians that the sport did originate in south-east England.

Cricket is widely accepted to have originated in the Tudor times in south-eastern England as said earlier, with its likeliest birthplace being the Weald, an area of arable land that lies across Kent and Sussex. The Wealdean counties and neighboring Surrey were the centers of excellence till cricket spread north to London and west to Hampshire, the two regions that cemented it’s place in the 18th century.

Cricket has kept on developing with a lot of changes being made and new “inventions” introduced to the game to make it what it is today, “the second most popular sports by fans” with a fan base of approximately 2.5 billion fans worldwide owing its popularity to its heavy presence in Australia, England and the Indian Sub-continent where it is a religion.

Cricket Development Timeline

  • 1550 (approx) : Evidence of cricket being played in Guildford, Surrey.
  • 1598 : Cricket mentioned in Florio’s Italian English dictionary.
  • 1610 : Reference to “cricketing” between Weald and Upland near Chevening, Kent.
  • 1611 : Randle Cotgrave’s French-English dictionary translates the French word “crosse” as a cricket staff. Two youths fined for playing cricket at Sidlesham, Sussex.
  • 1624 : Jasper Vinall becomes first man known to be killed playing cricket: hit by a bat while trying to catch the ball – at Horsted Green, Sussex.
  • 1676 : First reference to cricket being played abroad, by British residents in Aleppo, Syria.
  • 1694 : Two shillings and sixpence paid for a “wagger” (wager) about a cricket match at Lewes.
  • 1697 : First reference to “a great match” with 11 players a side for fifty guineas, in Sussex.
  • 1700 : Cricket match announced on Clapham Common.
  • 1709 : First recorded inter-county match: Kent v Surrey.
  • 1710 : First reference to cricket at Cambridge University.
  • 1727 : Articles of Agreement written governing the conduct of matches between the teams of the Duke of Richmond and Mr Brodrick of Peperharow, Surrey.
  • 1729 : Date of earliest surviving bat, belonging to John Chitty, now in the pavilion at The Oval. 
  • 1730 : First recorded match at the Artillery Ground, off City Road, central London, still the cricketing  home of the Honourable Artillery Company.
  • 1744 : Kent beat All England by one wicket at the Artillery Ground. First known version of the Laws of Cricket, issued by the London Club, formalising the pitch as 22 yards long.
  • 1767 (approx) : Foundation of the Hambledon Club in Hampshire, the leading club in England for the next 30 years.
  • 1769 : First recorded century, by John Minshull for Duke of Dorset’s XI v Wrotham.
  • 1771 : Width of bat limited to 4 1/4 inches, where it has remained ever since.
  • 1774 : LBW law devised.
  • 1776 : Earliest known scorecards, at the Vine Club, Sevenoaks, Kent.
  • 1780 : The first six-seamed cricket ball, manufactured by Dukes of Penshurst, Kent.
  • 1787 : First match at Thomas Lord’s first ground, Dorset Square, Marylebone – White Conduit Club v Middlesex. Formation of Marylebone Cricket Club by members of the White Conduit Club.
  • 1788 : First revision of the Laws of Cricket by MCC.
  • 1794 : First recorded inter-schools match: Charterhouse v Westminster.
  • 1795 : First recorded case of a dismissal “leg before wicket”.
  • 1806 : First Gentlemen v Players match at Lord’s.
  • 1807 : First mention of “straight-armed” (i.e. round-arm) bowling: by John Willes of Kent.
  • 1809 : Thomas Lord’s second ground opened at North Bank, St John’s Wood.
  • 1811 : First recorded women’s county match: Surrey v Hampshire at Ball’s Pond, London.
  • 1814 : Lord’s third ground opened on its present site, also in St John’s Wood.
  • 1827 : First Oxford v Cambridge match, at Lord’s. A draw.
  • 1828 : MCC authorise the bowler to raise his hand level with the elbow .
  • 1833 : John Nyren publishes his classic Young Cricketer’s Tutor and The Cricketers of My Time.
  • 1836 : First North v South match, for many years regarded as the principal fixture of the season.
  • 1836 (approx) : Batting pads invented.
  • 1841 : General Lord Hill, commander-in-chief of the British Army, orders that a cricket ground be made an adjunct of every military barracks.
  • 1844 : First official international match: Canada view United States.
  • 1845 : First match played at The Oval.
  • 1846 : The All-England XI, organised by William Clarke, begins playing matches, often against odds, throughout the country.
  • 1849 : First Yorkshire v Lancashire match.
  • 1850 : Wicket-keeping gloves first used.    John Wisden bowls all ten batsmen in an innings for North v South.
  • 1853 : First mention of a champion county: Nottinghamshire.
  • 1858 : First recorded instance of a hat being awarded to a bowler taking three wickets with consecutive balls.
  • 1859 : First touring team to leave England, captained by George Parr, draws enthusiastic crowds in the US and Canada.
  • 1864 : Overhand bowling authorised by MCC. John Wisden’s The Cricketer’s Almanack first published.
  • 1868 : Team of Australian aborigines tour England.
  • 1873 : WG Grace becomes the first player to record 1,000 runs and 100 wickets in a season. First regulations restricting county qualifications, often regarded as the official start of the County Championship.
  • 1877 : First Test match: Australia beat England by 45 runs in Melbourne.
  • 1880 : First Test in England: a five-wicket win against Australia at The Oval.
  • 1882 : Following England’s first defeat by Australia in England, an “obituary notice” to English cricket in the Sporting Times leads to the tradition of The Ashes.
  • 1889 : South Africa’s first Test match. Declarations first authorised, but only on the third day, or in a one-day match.
  • 1890 : County Championship officially constituted. Present Lord’s pavilion opened.
  • 1895 : WG Grace scores 1,000 runs in May, and reaches his 100th hundred.
  • 1899 : AEJ Collins scores 628 not out in a junior house match at Clifton College, the highest individual score in any match. Selectors choose England team for home Tests, instead of host club issuing invitations.
  • 1900 : Six-ball over becomes the norm, instead of five. Cricket makes its one and only appearance in the Olympics at the Paris Olympics Games.
  • 1909 : Imperial Cricket Conference (ICC – now the International Cricket Council) set up, with England, Australia and South Africa the original members.
  • 1910 : Six runs given for any hit over the boundary, instead of only for a hit out of the ground.
  • 1912 : First and only triangular Test series played in England, involving England, Australia and South Africa.
  • 1915 : WG Grace dies , aged 67. 
  • 1926 : Victoria score 1,107 v New South Wales at Melbourne, the record total for a first-class innings.
  • 1928 : West Indies’ first Test match. AP “Tich” Freeman of Kent and England becomes the only player to take more than 300 first-class wickets in a season: 304.
  • 1930 : New Zealand’s first Test match. Donald Bradman’s first tour of England: he scores 974 runs in the five Ashes Tests, still a record for any Test series.
  • 1931 : Stumps made higher (28 inches not 27) and wider (nine inches not eight – this was optional until 1947).
  • 1932 : India’s first Test match. Hedley Verity of Yorkshire takes ten wickets for ten runs v Nottinghamshire, the best innings analysis in first-class cricket.
  • 193233 : The Bodyline tour of Australia in which England bowl at batsmen’s bodies with a packed leg-side field to neutralise Bradman’s scoring.
  • 1934 : Jack Hobbs retires, with 197 centuries and 61,237 runs, both records. First women’s Test: Australia v England at Brisbane.
  • 1935 : MCC condemn and outlaw Bodyline.
  • 1947 : Denis Compton of Middlesex and England scores a record 3,816 runs in an English season.
  • 1948 : First five-day Tests in England. Bradman concludes Test career with a second-ball duck at The Oval and a batting average of 99.94 – four runs short of 100.
  • 1952 : Pakistan’s first Test match.
  • 1953 : England regain the Ashes after a 19-year gap, the longest ever.
  • 1956 : Jim Laker of England takes 19 wickets for 90 v Australia at Manchester, the best match analysis in first-class cricket.
  • 1957 : Declarations authorised at any time.
  • 1960 : First tied Test, Australia v West Indies at Brisbane.
  • 1963 : Distinction between amateur and professional cricketers abolished in English cricket. The first major one-day tournament begins in England: the Gillette Cup.
  • 1969 : Limited-over Sunday league inaugurated for first-class counties.
  • 1970 : Proposed South African tour of England cancelled: South Africa excluded from international cricket because of their government’s apartheid policies. First use of “drop-in” pitches. 
  • 1971 : First one-day international: Australia v England at Melbourne.
  • 1975 : First World Cup: West Indies beat Australia in the final at Lord’s.
  • 1976 : First women’s match at Lord’s, England v Australia.
  • 1977 : Centenary Test at Melbourne, with identical result to the first match: Australia beat England by 45 runs. Australian media tycoon Kerry Packer, signs 51 of the world’s leading players in defiance of the cricketing authorities.
  • 1978 : Graham Yallop of Australia wears a protective helmet to bat in a Test match, the first player to do so.
  • 1979 : Packer and official cricket agree peace deal.
  • 1980 : Eight-ball over abolished in Australia, making the six-ball over universal.
  • 1981 : England beat Australia in Leeds Test, after following on with bookmakers offering odds of 500 to 1 against them winning.
  • 1982 : Sri Lanka’s first Test match.
  • 1991 : South Africa return, with a one-day international in India.
  • 1992 : Zimbabwe’s first Test match. Durham become the first county since Glamorgan in 1921 to attain firstclass status.
  • 1993 : The ICC ceases to be administered by MCC, becoming an independent organisation with its own chief executive.
  • 1994 : Brian Lara of Warwickshire becomes the only player to pass 500 in a firstclass innings: 501 not out v Durham.
  • 2000 : South Africa’s captain Hansie Cronje banned from cricket for life after admitting receiving bribes from bookmakers in match-fixing scandal. Bangladesh’s first Test match. County Championship split into two divisions, with promotion and relegation. The Laws of Cricket revised and rewritten.
  • 2001 : Sir Donald Bradman dies, aged 92.
  • 2003 : Twenty20 Cup, a 20-over-per-side evening tournament, inaugurated in England.
  • 2004 : Lara becomes the first man to score 400 in a Test innings, against England.
  • 2005 : The ICC introduces Powerplays and Supersubs in ODIs, and hosts the inaugural Supersedes. The first men’s Twenty20 International between Australia and New Zealand.
  • 2006 : Pakistan forfeit a Test at The Oval after being accused of ball tampering.
  • 2007 : The inaugural ICC Twenty20 World Cup was played in South Africa.
  • 2015 : The first ever day-night Test match was played in Adelaide from Nov 27 to Dec 1 between Australia and New Zealand.
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