The history of sports is as old as humanity. Various sports games are played throughout the world. The purpose is to keep people of all ages fit and healthy, both mentally and physically. While talking about cricket, it is the second most loved sport globally with an estimated number of fans of 2.5 billion. It is the most popular sport in Asia, Australia, and the United Kingdom.
It is not majorly played in countries like the US, Africa, and most of Europe. Cricket is popular among countries like Srilanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, etc. Its popularity can be measured from the fact that around 2.2 billion people watched ICC Cricket World cup 2015 on their television screens.
Being the second most popular sport, we cannot deny that only 16 countries have cricket as their major sports. Still, cricket is one of the highest paying sports, with a senior cricketer having a salary in thousands of dollars, that can exceed millions.
Not only internationally, but this game is also played and loved locally. In countries like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, you can see children of all ages playing cricket in streets throughout the country.
History of cricket
The history of cricket is as old as the 13th century. Its origin takes us to Northern Europe, where British territories are considered the home of cricket. It was played in the simplest form in which a player serves a small object, a wood or a ball, and the other player hits it with a club.
Evidence about how this ancient club-ball game developed into modern-day cricket is unknown. It was in the mid-sixteenth century when the evidence of playing cricket was found in Surrey. The 11-a-side match of cricket was played in Sussex in 1697. Cricket was played in Europe only until the 18th century, which later gained popularity, and it was in 1836 when the first match between South countries and North countries was played.
Technical developments in cricket took their place with time. The cricket came in its final modern form in which it is played today. The governing body ICC (International cricket council) hosts the cricket tournaments. The biggest cricket tournaments ever hosted include the T20 World cup, ICC Champions Trophy, Asia Cup, and The Ashes series.
What is Cricket?
Cricket is a sport in which a bat and a ball are used. This game is played between two teams, each with eleven players. The players can be substituted in case of injury or any other emergency. It is played on a circular field having a diameter of 140 meters, with a 20-meter pitch in the center and wicket at each end.
How to play cricket?
There are two umpires during the match. There are two batsmen in the field from the batting team, one on each side of the wicket. There is a bowler from the opponent’s team, and all others are fielders spread throughout the field.
The goal of the batting team is to make runs and the goal of the bowling team is to take wickets, out them, or do a dot ball (making zero runs).
There is a boundary; if you throw the ball out of it, you will make scores. Then there is a pitch made of sand; however, there are lots of variability in pitch depending upon which the ball performs differently. It either spins more or bounces more.
Then there are three vertical stakes on either side of the pitch called stumps. There’s a central oval on the cricket field, called infield. The area in the middle of the infield and the boundary is called the outfield.
In some parts of the game, not always, there is a rule that there should be only two players in the outfield.
Delivering the ball
The game begins with the delivery of the ball. But there are some rules for delivering the ball. If the bowler is on the left side, it is called over the wicket; however, if the bowler goes to the other side, it is called round the wicket for a right-handed batsman.
In order to do proper bowling, the bowler should throw the ball in such a way that the ball should be in reach to the batsman. If the ball thrown is out of reach to the batsman, it is called a Wide ball, it doesn’t count, and it marks one run (score). The interpretation of what causes a wide ball varies in limited-overs cricket and a first-class match.
No ball occurs when a bowler throws the ball by moving forward from his limit or if the ball thrown goes above the batman’s waist. It is not counted.
For a ball to be counted, it should bounce and should be in reach to the batsman. One bowler can throw six balls, which makes one over. After which, another bowler comes for bowling.
The job of the batsman
The job of the batsman is to score runs. Once the bowler throws the ball, the batsman hits it, the two batsmen start running between the wickets and change their sides. During this time, the fielder needs to throw the ball back to the wicketkeeper.
The batsman can make two and even three runs. This is possible if the batsman throws the ball far away and the fielder takes time in chasing the ball. The batsmen will run twice and thrice between the wickets to make two and three runs, respectively.
That was the one way to score a run. Another way to achieve a run is to throw the ball directly out of the boundary; this makes six runs. If the ball bounces the ground before crossing the boundary, it makes four runs. Now, this means that a batsman can score one, two, three, four, or six runs with one ball.
It is essential for the batsman to not go out of the crease and stay within limits. Also, the batsman should be conscious to not hit the stump with any of his body parts. Both these cases will result in him getting out.
The goal of the bowling team is to take wickets. To throw the ball in a way that the batsman could not hit the ball using his bat and the ball strike the stump. It is called bowled. It is the most humiliating situation for a batsman as he is not able to defend the ball.
Once the bowling team takes the wicket, the batsman goes, and the other one comes. This will go on like this until all the bowling team takes all the ten wickets. After this, the inning ends.
There is another way to take a wicket. This can be done; once the batsman hits the ball, the fielder catches it before the ball bounce on the ground. This way of taking a wicket is called caught out.
The next way to take a wicket is when the batsmen are running between the wickets, the fielder takes the ball and blows off the stump by hitting it with the ball. Taking a wicket this way is called Run out. In order to avoid the situation, the batsmen should run fast enough to reach their positions before the fielder blow off the stump.
Another way of taking a wicket is by stump out. For this, the batsman should be behind the crease (the marked area where the batsman operates); otherwise, the bowler will throw the ball, and the wicketkeeper will catch it and hit the stump. This way, the batsman will be stumped out.
Leg before wicket
In this situation, the batsman uses his leg to prevent the ball from hitting the wicket. He places his leg in front of the ball. In this situation, the batsman could be saved sometimes. Using Hawkeye, it could be determined whether the ball would hit the wicket or move sideways. This way, they can make a decision about whether it was an out or not.
Another embarrassing way of getting out for the batsman is hitting the stump with any of his body parts like leg, foot, or even with the bat. This doesn’t occur very often.
What is an inning?
So far, we have understood that the bowler’s job is to throw the ball and the job of the batsman is to hit the ball and make runs. Now, we will see how long do they play.
In a one-day match, there are fifty overs. In each over, there are six balls. This means that the inning ends when the fifty overs are thrown, which made around 300 balls.
Each bowler comes and throws six balls and goes, then the other one comes, and this thing goes on until all 300 balls or 50 overs are thrown.
Another way to end the inning is by taking wickets one by one. Once all ten wickets are taken, the inning ends.
How can a team win the match?
The goal of the team that first comes for batting is to score as many runs as they can. Once the inning ends, we will see what did they score. Let’s suppose that a green team scored 278. This means that the blue team has to score more than 278 to win the match.
Sometimes, both teams score equal runs resulting in a draw. What will happen in such a situation? The match ends without a win or a tie.
Equipment for cricket
Cricket is played using bat and ball. For protection, some equipment is used. It is important for a batsman to pay special attention to safety measures. A ball coming towards the batsman can cause injuries. In addition, there are several other field equipment which is a must for an official match. However, if you are playing cricket in a park or backyard it is not essential to use all the equipment. A number of them will do for such small matches.
Although there are lots of things that are required for an official match all of them are not important if you are playing for fun in a park or backyard. Some important equipment is listed here:
An important thing to consider before playing cricket is shoes. Cricket shoes are different than normal ones in the sense that they provide support for easy running. They also have spikes on the outer sole to provide an easy grip on any kind of surface. Cricket shoes are a must-have thing in your cricket equipment list.
How will you play cricket without a ball? While buying one, make sure it is specifically made for playing cricket. A cricket ball usually consists of cork and covered with leather. The color of a cricket ball is red for test matches and it is white for T20 and ODI matches.
Another important thing, a bat. It is made entirely of wood and comes in different sizes and weights. Do not forget to check it once before buying. You should buy a bat that you can easily carry according to your height and strength.
Stumps are three cylindrical-shaped long posts with sharp edges. The sharp side goes into the ground.
Bails are tiny little pieces of wood that are placed on the stumps. They are placed there so that it becomes easy for the umpire to notice when the wicket breaks.
The helmet is made of metal and hard plastic. It is to be worn by the batsman and the wicketkeeper to protect them from injuries. The helmet has metallic grills in the front, it protects the face from the ball.
Gloves are for both the keeper and the batsman. They are made up of leather and cloth combined. Batsman’s gloves are slightly different from keeper’s gloves in the sense that the former’s gloves are small and soft from the outside. A hard sponge is added to the fingers’ portion for extra protection.
Batsmen safety equipment
Among all the cricket equipment, batsmen safety measures include:
- Thigh guard/ lower body protector
- Batting gloves
- Batting helmet
- Abdominal protector
- Batting leg-guards
- Cricket bat
Cricket in backyard
Cricket is one of the most popular, well-loved games, it is played everywhere in the world. People usually love to play this game on weekends or on picnics. For good family time, a space in the backyard is enough to enjoy this game. Backyard cricket also known as Back garden cricket is an informal way of playing the game with minimum equipment. Usually, a bat, a ball, and stumps are all you need.
The rules in backyard cricket are almost similar to formal ones, with a little difference that is made for convenience. Teams are usually non-existent. People come turn by turn for batting.
The fence is usually regarded as the boundary. The rule has changed to six and out in the backyard cricket.
There is no leg before wicket and no umpire. If players in the teams are belligerent, an umpire should be there.
In the case of only one batsman, the batsman will run out at either end.
Two innings are awarded if both the teams are trainees. The innings will end rapidly.
These are only a limited number of changes that are made while playing in a backyard. People add more to it according to their convenience. Having fun is the objective, following rules or not, does not count.
Who can play cricket?
Cricket is one of the most loved games globally. People of all ages enjoy playing it. When talking about formal cricket, ICC has considered a player with a minimum age of 15 to be eligible to play in an international cricket team. There is no issue if anyone joins the academy for learning cricket at the age of 15. Within a year, a person becomes eligible to get selected in a team for the district level. In an international team, a player usually retires at the age between 35 to 40. It is because at this age the body of a person does not remain fit for sports.
However, for fun and delight, there is no age for any kind of sports game. Anyone at any age is capable of playing cricket. People from the age of 5 to 60 have been seen playing cricket on the streets.
Facts about cricket
- Cricket was originated in the 13th century but is started to become popular in the 19th century.
- The first official match of cricket took place in 1864.
- The longest match of cricket was held in 1939, it was between South Africa and England. This match lasted 14 days.
- One fun fact about cricket is that the ancient players of cricket were shepherds.
- The highest score in one over is 77 and not 36.
- Cricket was originated in England.
- The cricket game usually gets paused due to rain. The other issue is bad lighting.
- It is legal to pause the game if an animal runs into the field. An example of such an incident is, once a pig ran into the field due to which the match was suspended.
- There are two umpires in an official cricket match. However, one empire off-field is also present.
- Players make a lot of blunders due to the pressure of the team.
- 481/6 is the highest score in the history of cricket made by England against Australia in 2018.
- Shahid Afridi has the record for making the longest six that last for 158 meters against South Africa.
Importance of playing cricket
It is played for fun and for competition. A large population plays cricket only for fun. Since it is a prolonged game, people usually do not like to follow rules. They make their own rules and get the most fun out of it.
Playing cricket from an early age not only improves physical and mental health, but it also helps in learning certain skills. Playing sport of any kind will never keep you at loss. You are always at benefit especially in terms of physical health. A better physique means a long healthy life than normal individuals.
Learning proper bowling techniques is one of the most difficult tasks. It is, therefore, important to engage children in cricket at an early age. Early bowling classes make the child capable of fast swing, and other spinning techniques.
Competition and drills make the child strong enough to beat pro players in later stages of life.
Hand-eye coordination for catching and batting
It is important to learn hand-eye coordination in order to perform better while batting and fielding. The cricket academies pay special attention to such techniques. With a coach’s guide, a person will be able to learn and perform better.
Certain skills like back foot play, center wicket play, front foot batting, running between the wickets are being taught in different cricket clubs and academies.
Catching and throwing might seem easy while watching a match, but these are completely different skills that need special attention. A child learns different techniques and skills for throwing or catching a ball. With a group of other players, a sense of competition makes them perform well in every drill.
Before starting cricket, a person needs to keep in mind that only a fit person can play this game. Other things like batting, catching, hand-eye coordination could be learned with time.
Playing cricket increases your stamina. You are able to work for a much longer time than usual. Not only that, you have complete control of your body. You are able to balance and coordinate well. Playing cricket on a regular basis keeps you fit and healthy.
Other benefits of cricket include improved social skills. You are able to communicate better with people. In addition, playing any game helps you learn how to cope up with winning and losing.
Cricket is played in the form of a team. You learn how to work and cooperate in a team. You understand that the game is not for yourself, it is for the whole team and you act accordingly.
You got to have a big social circle. You meet new and great people every day, make new friends, and understand how to communicate with everyone
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