A Small Lesson in the History of Cricket

Not every sport is as dynamic as football, rugby, mountain biking and the like. Some sports are slower and they tend to give opportunities for people who have yet to master movement. Sports like golf and cricket are much easier to play, or rather, you can slow down and think about your next move. 

Cricket, in particular, is unknown to most people, even though it is the second most popular sport on the planet, second only to football/soccer. With that, here is a brief history lesson about cricket, its origins and how it came to be this popular.

The Origins of Cricket

Cricket is widely believed to have originated in the Weald, a very dense woodland area in the south eastern part of England, in Kent and Sussex.

The date of origin is unclear but the first mention of the word cricket dates back to 1597 according to the Julian calendar or 1598 according to the modern one. It is said to be created by children, some say Saxon, others Norman.

Cricket remained a children’s game for many centuries and it is said to have been picked up by adults in the 17th century. The bat probably originated from a combination of bowls and cricket, the bat being used to stop the ball from reaching its destination.

Cricket Moving Across the World

Cricket had a tough time during the years of the Commonwealth, when everything was clamped down. After the Restoration, cricket started becoming more popular, and was played more frequently in England. That would after 1660. Somewhere after 1660, professional matches were started, because it was at the time that betting on cricket became immensely popular. At the end of the 17th century, the press reported more about betting, rather than cricket.

Cricket spread to the Americas in the 17th century and the West Indies and Australia in the 18th, as soon as colonization of these parts began. The 18th century was dedicated to the development of cricket, but nothing major happened until the 19th.

The Development of the First County Clubs 

The first county clubs were founded in the 19th century, the first of them being Sussex in 1839. The first international match was played in 1844 and it was between the US and Canada. 1877 marks the first year of official Test cricket matches. It took place in Australia when an English team was touring the country. England and Australia were the first two Test teams. The third one was South Africa, founded in 1889.

The 19th century saw cricket develop in ways which were only enhanced in the 20th. Yet, cricket was still not as popular.

The 21st Century – Cricket Becomes Very Popular

Cricket was popularized by England and Wales in the 21st century. Twenty20 cricket was invented, which you could watch in an evening and not have to dedicate multiple days for a single match. India had their own unofficial league in 2007, which lasted for 2 years, but the official one, the Indian Premier League, created in 2008, dramatically increased cricket’s population in the world. There are a lot of cricket fans in India.

Cricket, a sport which started off as a children’s game, grew to be the world’s second most popular sport. Test cricket is played for days while Twenty20 is more accommodating to modern viewers. This has been a short history lesson in cricket.