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Origins of Cricket

Cricket is one of the most popular games of this century, played in countries all over the world. The game has its roots in 16th century when originated in England and over the years developed into an international game. At first, the game was only played in England but in the 18th century, it was introduced in North America, West Indies and other colonies of the British Empire. International cricket matches were started in 1844 and the first ever test match was played in 1877.

The laws revolving around the game of cricket have been in place since time immemorial but they were officially codified in 1744. These laws dealt with batting, bowling, wickets, runs, pitch etc. the laws and rules that are in place today are in some form or the other linked to the original ones from 1744. The only times during the 18th and 19th century when cricket has faced a crisis are those when wars broke out, for instance the seven year war, the Napoleonic wars, the battle of waterloo and others.

The formation of county clubs was a major milestone in the development of the game. This along with the development of railway networks allowed the players to visit places all around the world and thus made cricket an international game. When the English counties made game subject to overs, it became much more exciting and thus lucrative. Since the number of overs was limited, it allowed for a greater number of matches to be played. This helped the batting and bowling lines to develop, making the players more experienced and determined.

Cricket initially started as an elitist sports and basically involved hitting a ball with a club. Over the centuries, it has developed into an international game – a game of the common people. One can belong to any background and still make a name for himself in this game if he is spirited and can show his abilities in bowling, batting and fielding. At the same time, cricket is a game where individual players come under scrutiny from various corners and the spotlight is turned on every individual player. So they might get the entire credit for winning a game or on the other hand get all the blame for losing it.

One of the highlights of cricket in the recent times had been world cup. The first world cup was held in 1975 at Lords and was between Australia and West Indies. In 2003, the Twenty20 world cup was inaugurated in England, which was a new twist in cricket. The matches were reduced to twenty overs and power play was introduced in 2005 which dealt with changes in the fielding during the match. Both these developments radically changed the face of cricket making it more thrilling.

However, with everything that involves a lot of thrill and money there are some negatives involved. Gambling has been a common problem associated with cricket as many players have been found to be involved in match fixing. However, the International Cricket Council (ICC) takes this issue very seriously and takes stern action against the perpetrators.
John William Hennaghan