Essay on Cricket
Cricket is a widely famous outdoor sport played across the world. It is played nationally and internationally. It is referred to as a game of gentlemen played with great sportsmanship. It is a game of bat and ball on a big field between two teams simultaneously. There are eleven players on each side. This game requires good physical and mental strength and builds up the character of self-confidence and agility in an individual.
Cricket is one of the forms of club ball games played across the world like hockey, baseball, tennis, etc., but the key difference is that in this game, one has to defend the three sticks (i.e., stumps) behind him from hitting by the ball, which is not there in any of the other forms. The craze for cricket in countries like England, Australia, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and New Zealand is much more than any other game.
There are various concepts regarding the name of the game. Initially, in an old English dictionary, the word Cryce was described as a crutch. Later, Samuel Johnson, in his dictionary, mentioned the word Cryce as a stick. In that period, the county of Flanders used the word Krick which meant a stick. These references established the connection between the County of Flanders and South-eastern England, which helped to refer that the origin of the word Cricket is Middle Dutch.
According to the language expert of Bonn University, Heiner Gllimeister, the word cricket was derived from the Dutch phrase used for hockey- met de krik ket sen, which means with the stick chase. He also claimed that the game originated in the Dutch region along with the name. With the game's progress, the word "krik ket" transformed into cricket.
History and Origin
The oldest reference to the cricket can be traced back to the 16th century in South East England. The game spread widely in the countries where the British Empire expanded, which is why the regions where cricket flourished marvellously were British colonies.
The earliest mention of the game is seen in the court case of disputed land in 1597, when one of the witnesses, John Derrick, gave the statement that-
"Being a scholar in the free school of Guldeford, hee and diverse of his fellows did runne and play there at creckett and other plaies."
In his statement, he mentioned the game of cricket, and the time he was talking about was 50 years back from 1597, which means the time of incidence of the event was around the 1550s. So, it is possible that cricket was played during that era, but only as a children's game.
Cricket in the 1600s
The reference to cricket is traced from the order of the ecclesiastical court in Sussex in 1611 when it was found that two church followers did not attend the Easter Sunday prayer because they were busy playing cricket. They were punished with a fine of 12d and were asked to do penance. This order is evidence of the presence of cricket in the 1600s.
According to English historians, During the 1660s, the interest in cricket surged among the members of King Charles II's court. Subsequently, gambling also increased, which became a problem in the region, so the Gambling Act was passed in 1664. The act limited the money at stake up to 100 Pounds only in cricket.
By the end of the 17th century, the game of cricket had developed into a significant sport in England. In 1697, the first known cricket contest was held in Sussex, which was termed the First-class match.
Cricket in the 1700s
In the 18th century, cricket gained significant popularity and underwent many changes. Some of the changes were that the bowlers started to pitch the ball instead of rolling it on the ground. Due to the change in the bowling style, the hockey stick-like bat was replaced with a straight bat for playing the bouncing ball.
In the 1760s, the Hambledon Club was founded to organize cricket matches. Before the foundation of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), Hambledon Club was the leading cricket club In England.
The year 1787 witnessed the establishment of the Marylebone Cricket Club at Lord's ground. It became the top cricket club in England and formulated various laws related to the game. During this period, the single wicket was replaced with three stumps, and the rule of the leg before wicket (lbw) was introduced.
Cricket in the 1800s
MCC continued to introduce new rules for the advancement of the game. The law of Bowling style was changed from underarm to roundarm, then again changed to overarm.
County-level cricket flourished in this period. In 1839, many county cricket clubs were formed in Sussex, which significantly popularised the game across England during that era.
The first international cricket match was played in Toronto in 1844. It was played between the club teams of the USA and Canada, and Canada was the winner.
The first-ever overseas tour for the cricket match was done by England when a club team of England reached North America in 1859.
This was the period when the British Empire was expanding; consequently, the interest in cricket of British officers spread the game of cricket in all the regions where they made colonies, like regions of the Caribbean, British India, South Africa, New Zealand, etc.
In 1862, the English cricket team reached Australia to play a cricket match. Later in 1868, the Australian cricket team made its first international cricket tour to England. Subsequently, the cricketing relationship between England and Australia strengthened, which paved the way for the first Test match between both countries in 1877 at Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). This test match resulted in the most prestigious Test cricket tournament, The Ashes, in 1882, which has been played till now between Australia and England.
In December 1889, the first-ever formal County Championship of Cricket was organized, whose first game was played in 1890.
Cricket in the 1900s
The period of 1900s was a significant era in cricket history. In this era, all-time greatest batsman Don Bradman of Australia registered his name in cricket history books. He played for 20 years, from 1928 to 1948.
During this period, Test Cricket reached across the world, and accreditation for the Test playing teams was granted to many countries, as shown in below table:
Another milestone of this era was the introduction of Limited Overs cricket in England. Earlier, only Test cricket was played, a game of five days that was too time-consuming. This gave birth to Limited Overs Cricket. In this, the number of overs was reduced to 100, 50 overs for each side batting and bowling. This format of cricket is also termed One-day cricket. The first ever One-day international match was played between England and Australia on 5th January 1971 at Melbourne Cricket Ground, Australia.
Later in 1975, the governing body of cricket International Cricket Council (ICC) launched the 50- Overs Cricket World Cup due to the growing popularity of this format of cricket.
Cricket in the 2000s
With the coming of the 21st century, cricket has become one of the most popular games throughout the world. Many nations were playing this game at the international level. Only a few teams earned the accreditation of Test playing because it required specific statistical criteria to be fulfilled by the ICC. The teams that were given permission to play Test matches during this period were Bangladesh in 2000, Ireland, and Afghanistan in 2018.
In 2003, a new format of cricket was introduced at the county level in England that reduced both the overs and the duration of the game. The game became short, and it was the T20 format of cricket. In this, both the teams get 20 overs each, and the game lasts only 3 hours. The first T20 cricket game was played between England and New Zealand women's teams on 5th August 2004. The popularity of this format rose more rapidly than the One-day format. Cricket fans loved this format because of its fast-moving gameplay. In 2007, within three years of its international introduction, ICC launched the T20 International World Cup, which was played in South Africa.
Gameplay and Types of Equipment
The game of cricket is played on a big circular or oval ground, with a diameter of 136m to 150m for men. For women, it usually varies between 110m to 130m. As per the ICC bye-laws, the minimum playing area for a classic Test match should have a diameter of 137.16m.
In the centre of the ground, a rectangular flat strip of 22 yards long and 305cm wide is called pitch. On the pitch, three wooden stumps called wickets are rooted at both ends. The surface of the pitch is hard and has tiny grasses.
On the pitch, four types of white markings are known as the crease. These are bowling crease, popping crease, and two return creases on either side.
The types of equipment used in the game
Batting is the part of the game in which one player with the bat, a batsman (in male cricket) or batter (in general), faces the ball thrown by the bowler. The batter tries to hit the ball to score runs and, at the same time, defends the ball from hitting the stumps. There are two batters on the field from the batting side at a time.
The batter plays different shots, which are explicitly named based on the region of the playing area and the way of hitting the ball. Some of them are cover drive, square drive, cut, late cut, hook, on drive, off drive, straight drive, pull, square cut, leg glance, and late cut.
In bowling, the player who does bowling is known as a bowler. The bowler's function is to primarily throw the ball toward the batter with the target to hit the stumps. The bowler's mindset is to get the batter out by any legitimate method by giving the minimum number of runs. There are different bowling styles in which a bowler is specialized, like fast bowling, spin bowling, medium-pace bowling, etc.
Various ways a bowler dismisses a batter are clean bold, catch out, run-out, lbw, and hit-wicket.
Fielding is one of the most critical components of the game, which is done by all team members present on the field. It can be regarded as the co-component of bowling because it is done when a team bowls against the opponent. In this, all the players are assigned specified places where they try to stop the ball or take catches when the ball comes to them after being hit by the batter. It is an act of saving runs for the team or stopping another group from scoring runs.
The fielders are placed in specified places, like slips, point, cover, mid-off, mid-on, mid-wicket, square leg, the long-off, long-on, third man, fine leg, extra cover, gully, silly point, etc.
There are umpires whose work is to judge the game. Two umpires on the field monitor the game and validate the game as per rules, like giving scores, out decisions, wide and no-ball decisions, etc. There is also a third umpire, known as a TV umpire, who gives decisions that are not clear to the field umpires, like close run-outs, unclear catches, etc.
An over consists of six balls to be bowled by a bowler. A bowler throws the ball six times in one go, completing an over. In a 50-over match, a single bowler bowls for a maximum of 10 overs, whereas in Test cricket, there is no limit of overs to be bowled by the bowler. In the fresh T20 format, a single bowler's maximum limit of over is four overs.
Structure of the Game
In Limited Over Cricket
The game of cricket is played between two teams. Each team has eleven members, of which some are batters, some are bowlers, and some are those who do both batting and bowling; they are known as all-rounders. There is also one member who is specialized in fielding behind the stumps and is termed a wicketkeeper.
The game is played in two halves, and each half is termed an inning. In each inning, one team does batting to score as many runs as possible by hitting the ball, being bowled by the opponent, and setting the target for the other team. In the same inning, the other team does bowling and tries to stop the batters from scoring runs by fielding and dismissing the ten batters of the opponent team.
In another inning, the team that bowled in the first half does batting and tries to achieve the target run set by the opponent, which is one run more than what the opponent has scored. The bowling team of this inning defends the target set by them by dismissing the batters of the batting team of the 2nd innings.
If the batting team in the 2nd innings achieves the target, which is one run more than the other team before the end of the last over, then this team will be declared the winner. The bowling team of the 2nd innings can win the match if they succeed in defending their target either by dismissing all the batters of the opponent or by stopping them from scoring the required runs within the limited overs.
In Test Cricket
In test cricket format, the manner of playing is the same. Still, the fundamental difference is that there is no over-limit in this format, and the game is played for four innings instead of just two innings in the limited overs format.
In the 1st inning, one team bowls, and the other bats and sets the target. Then in the 2nd inning, the other team bats and tries to make many runs as scored by the batting team in the first innings. Here the change comes, if the batting team in the second inning reaches the target, they continue playing. Now, the batting team tries to take the lead by scoring the maximum number of runs till all the batters are not out. The runs scored after surpassing the target set in the 1st inning by the batting team in the 2nd inning are termed the lead. When all the batters of the batting team in the 2nd inning get out, the 2nd inning ends.
Now, in the 3rd inning, the batting team of the 1st inning again comes to bat and follows the lead. Here the bowling team has a chance of winning if they manage to out all the batters of the batting team before reaching their set lead. They will become the winner by the number of runs the other team is short and an inning, without playing the 4th inning. If the batting team covers the lead, they continue batting and try to make maximum runs, which will be the target for the other team to win the game.
In the 4th inning, the bowling team of the 3rd inning comes out to bat, and their target is to make one run more than the runs scored by the batting team of the 3rd inning. In this inning, if the batting team reaches the target, they will be the winner of the match. If the bowling successfully defends their target set in the 3rd inning by taking all the wickets of the opponent team, they will win the game. If neither team achieves its target, the match is declared a draw.
In a team of eleven members, there is a captain, who is generally the best or most experienced batter, bowler, or both, then there is a vice-captain, and the rest members are a mix of batters, bowlers, and all-rounders.
Top International Tournaments by ICC
1) ICC World Test Championship
The ICC World Test Championship started in August 2019. It is the premier world championship for test cricket format. In this, the top nine test playing teams of the world play test matches between them as part of different test match series. These are league matches, with rights reserved with the game hosting nation. The total league matches are played for two years; on the basis of rankings, the top two teams play the final.
The final match is the event of the ICC, and the winner of the final game becomes the ICC World Test champion. The championship in 2019 started with the Ashes series and ended with the final match between India and New Zealand in June 2021. New Zealand won the game and became the first ICC World champion.
2) International Men's Cricket World Cup
It is the most prestigious and flagship ICC event. It is the 50 overs cricket tournament held at an interval of four years in which the top 10 teams of the world play for the trophy of the World Cup. Different cricket-playing countries host the contest on a random rotational basis.
The first edition of the World Cup was played in England in 1975 with eight teams. West Indies became the first to lift the world cup by defeating Australia by 17 runs.
The latest edition of the World Cup was held in England in 2019, in which England lifted the trophy for the first time in cricket history.
The most successful team in the world cup is Australia which has won the trophy five times.
3) International Women's World Cup
Surprisingly, the Women's World Cup is the oldest cricket championship. It was started in 1973 in England by the International Women's Cricket Council, in which England won the tournament by points.
Before 2005, it was organized at irregular intervals, but from 2005 it was held every four years, and now ICC organizes the event.
The last edition was held in 2022 in New Zealand and won by Australia for the 7th time, making it the most successful team in the women's world cup.
4) ICC Men's T20 International World Cup
ICC started the first edition of the Men's T20 World Cup in 2007 in South Africa between twelve teams. India won the first edition by defeating Pakistan in the final.
The latest edition was held in 2021, in which Australia got its first T20 World Cup title.
West Indies has won the T20 World Cup twice, making it the most successful team in the tournament.
5) ICC Women's T20 International World Cup
The first edition of the T20 Women's World Cup was held in 2009 in England with eight international teams. England won the inaugural edition after beating New Zealand by six wickets.
The latest edition of the tournament was held in Australia in 2020, and the Australian team won the trophy by defeating the Indian women's team in the final.
Australia is the most successful team in the women's world cup due to winning the cup 5 times.
Some most famous independent cricket tournaments across the world
Independent competitions are those that the ICC does not organize. They are generally managed by the cricketing board of the concerned nation. These competitions are usually held in the T20 format, and the most prominent of them are-
1) Indian Premiere League (IPL)
IPL is the world's most famous, most seen, most attended live, and wealthiest cricket tournament. BCCI started it in 2008, and since then, it has been held every year in which ten teams play for the trophy. In this, players from different countries are auctioned and sold to the franchises for which they play the game. The names of the teams in the IPL are based on the names of the different cities in India.
It completed its 15th edition in 2022. Mumbai Indians is the most successful team in the tournament.
2) Big Bash League (BBL)
BBL is the T20 cricket tournament held in Australia. In 2011, the first edition of the league was played. The administrative body of the BBL is Cricket Australia. There is a total of eight teams in this league. Perth Scorchers won the latest edition of 2021-2022 for the 4th time. It is the most successful team in BBL.
3) Bangladesh Premier League
BPL is the T20 cricket league that started on the lines of IPL in 2012 with seven teams. The playing structure is the same, where the names of teams are based on the names of different cities of Bangladesh, and players from other nations participate in the tournament. Comilla Victorians won the last edition of the league.
4) Pakistan Super League
This T20 cricket league of Pakistan started with five teams, but now six are on board. The first edition was played in 2016, though it was founded in 2015. The winner of the current edition is Lahore Qalandars in 2022. Islamabad United has won the title twice, the maximum number of times any team in the league won.
5) T20 Blast
T20 Blast has been known by different names like Twenty20 Cup (2003-2009), Friends Life T20(2010-2013), NatWest T20 Blast (2014-2017), and Vitality Blast since 2018 because currently, Vitality is the sponsor of the tournament.
It is the oldest T20 tournament that started in 2003 in England and Wales at the county level. In this, 18 county teams compete for the trophy divided into two or three divisions and play the group stage match within their division, and the top team of each division plays the final.
This league is administered by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB). Hampshire Hawks won the 2022 edition, and the Leicestershire Foxes were the most successful team winning the trophy three times.
At the International level, the administrative body of cricket is International Cricket Council (ICC), founded in 1909 as Imperial Cricket Conference and renamed as ICC in 1987. The headquarter of ICC is located in Dubai, UAE.
A total of 108 nations are members of the ICC, of which 12 are full-time members who can play Test Cricket, whereas 96 are Associate members.
From 1909 to 1963, it was known as Imperial Cricket Conference, and then from 1964 to 1988, it was called International Cricket Conference. In 1989, its name was changed to International Cricket Council, which is also its present name.
At the national level, the game of cricket is managed by the national cricket boards of respective nations, like BCCI in India, ECB in England, Cricket Australia in Australia, etc.
Spirit of Game
Cricket is considered a gentleman's game, and the players hope to play it with great integrity and honesty. Players should maintain mutual respect, follow the rules, and respect the decisions given by the umpires. This game creates valuable qualities in an individual like leadership, teamwork, mutual understanding, pressure handling, with a positive attitude.