Sunday, 4 Jun 2023

The Storied History Of Cricket

Cricket, a sport today enjoyed by millions of people all over the world, is nearly as old as competitive gaming itself.

Modern-day historians believe cricket to have begun as early as the 13th century – a time when boys from the country bowled balls at everything from tree stumps to sheep pen.

Back then, gates would typically consist of a pair of uprights with slotted tops on which the crossbar would rest, with the entire gate then referred to as the wicket. While early historians differ about the size of the wicket during those early days of the game, by the year 1706, the pitch had reached a standard length of 22 yards long.

Early Bats And Balls

The cricket ball fans love and know today was once presumed a stone, which remained the case for the biggest part of the 17th century. The current standard weight of 5.5 ounces was presumed brought into play in 1774.

The bat used to be shaped like the branch of a tree while resembling something of a modern-day hockey stick. When the change to a straight bad was instituted, the reasoning had been to provide improved defense against length bowling.

Bowling as a technique wasn’t very advanced in those early days of the game, meaning batting pretty much dominated the game all throughout the 18th century.

The Birth Of The Current Format

11-to-a-side matches seem to have their origins in Sussex in the late 1600s.

A formal record exists of a game between Kent and Surrey back in 1709, which is largely accepted to be the first of its kind. A standard set of rules for the game has its origins in around this time also.

According to historical sources, early-cricket was mostly limited to England’s southern counties before eventually spreading to London and beyond.

Even during those early days, betting on the sport had been common practice, as had been the presence of raucous crowds.

Early Dominance

By the time the second half of the 18th century rolled around but still long before the slots casinos in Australia we know today, Hampshire’s Hambledon Club, which had its home at Broadhalfpenny Down, dominated the game as a strong and established cricket force.

The club later moved to Lord’s Cricket Ground in St. Marylebone, and in 1878, became the MCC with its own set of first code of rules and regulations.

In 1836, cricket’s new prominence led to a match between North counties and South counties, which indicates to modern historians’ evidence of the spreading nature of the game at the time.

Dominating the scene during this period had been the All-England Xi, which had been founded by Nottingham-resident William Clarke. This ultimately led to the forming of the United All-England XI, during which time the two sides dominated the world of cricket. County cricket was formed shortly after, which ultimately led to a supply of some of the best players for the very first English overseas touring squad in 1859.

Interesting too about those early days is the fact that most matches were contested between professional and amateur players. This came to an end only in 1962, when the MCC abandoned this distinction.