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shape Introduction

What is Cricket?
  • Cricket is madness. Just take a look at the viewership figures of the ongoing ICC World Cup 2019 and it is proved.

  • At least 500 million people tuned in for the India-Pakistan match on [latex]{16}^{th}[/latex]June 2019 and the digital audience combined takes that number to One Billion – an impossible figure to match by any other sport anywhere on the planet.

shape Cricket

How did the Game start?
  • Expert opinion concludes that Cricket was invented in the Saxon or Norman times by children living in Weald, in South-East England.

  • As an adult sport, it was first played in 1611.

  • Village Cricket started getting developed with “County teams”; the first known game where County Names were used was in 1709.

How did it spread?
  • The game established itself in the elite London circle and the students so that matches be started becoming common.

  • A women’s cricket match got played in Surrey as early as 1745.

  • Cricket spread like wildfire through the British colonists to the American colonies, West Indies, Australia, and South Africa. In India, it came via the British East India Company Mariners.

  • The natives of these countries picked up the game, sometimes even as a means to snub the British at their own sport, just like in Football.
What is the Highest Governing Body of Cricket?
  • The global governing body of all Cricket playing nations is the International Cricket Council or ICC.

  • The headquarters are in Dubai, UAE; Chairman is Shashank Manohar and CEO is Dave Richardson.

What are its responsibilities?
  • It has the responsibility to maintain the ICC Code of Conduct – the professional standards of discipline in International Cricket. It does not govern domestic cricket.

  • It does not make the Laws of the Game – that remains under the control of the Marylebone Cricket Club.

  • The ‘Big Three’ of the Cricketing Nations that exert control over ICC are said to be Australia, England, and India.
Countries playing cricket:
What are the countries that play Cricket?
  • There are two categories in this, depending on the status of the country within ICC.

  • They are either Full Members or Associate Members.

Full Members – 12 in number
  • They are the governing bodies of Cricket of a country.

  • They have full voting rights at ICC meetings.

  • Every Full Member sends one team to play official Test Matches

  • They are qualified to play ODIs and T20s.

  • They have both Women’s and Men’s Cricket Teams.

The list of all the Countries -
S.NO Country Name
1. Afghanistan
2. Australia
3. Bangladesh
4. England
5. India
6. Ireland
7. New Zealand
8. Pakistan
9. South Africa
10. Sri Lanka
11. West Indies
12. Zimbabwe

Associate Members – 92 in number
  • Cricket is established in these countries but they do not qualify to be a Full Member.

  • They are eligible to play in the ICC World Cricket League.

  • The ICC grants One Day International status to the Associate Members based on their success in the World Cricket League.
How is Cricket Played?
  • Cricket is a Bat-and-Ball game with two teams. Each team has 11 members on its side.

  • The aim of the game is to score more runs than the opposition.

  • One player from the bowling team delivers a hard leather ball towards the batsman of the opposing team who tries to hit it to score ‘Runs’. Runs can be made in two ways.

  • The batting and bowling occurs on a 22 yards pitch in the middle of an oval shaped Cricket Pitch.

  • Either end of the pitch has three wooden stumps which support two bails. This is called the ‘Wicket’.

  • The batting side has two players on either side of the pitch at a time, while the bowling side has all 11 players on the field.

  • The aim of the bowling side is to restrict the runs and get a batter out.

  • There are 11 different ways to get a batsman out.

The most common ways are as follows -

What are the different versions of the game?
The different versions of Cricket developed sequentially over the years are -

What is the commercial future of the different versions?
  • Test cricket has become commercially enviable in the fast-paced world of today.

  • The billion dollar industry of IPL, with its expensive player auctions, multi-million dollar TV and marketing deals have changed the commercial scenario of cricket forever.

  • Started in 2008, it has seen many a scandal but has been successful to keep the interest alive, riding on regionalism (state/city based teams pit against each other), glitz and glamour (daily Bollywood celebrity appearances who own IPL teams) and even with the presence of Cheerleaders at the sidelines, akin to American Sports.

  • The IPL got replicated thereafter in almost every cricket playing country.

The three important reasons for IPL’s popularity can be described as follows -
What does Cricket mean to its fans, especially in India?
  • Cricket is a religion in the Sub-continent and India – Pakistan matches are no less than a war.

  • IPL has given financial security to even the junior level players.

  • There is a resurgence of youngsters joining Professional Cricket, thus boosting the sport and national sports as a whole.

  • Cricket through healthy rivalry has helped cement the bond between nations, entertained millions, and gave birth to numerous sports giant whom the youth like to idolize in life and beyond.

What are the signs of Cricket’s expansion?
  • Cricket is looking to expand its popularity to countries like the Netherlands and Afghanistan who are even making World Cup appearances.

  • It has given hope to war-torn countries like Afghanistan who have had a Phoenix-like rise in International Cricket.

  • Its popularity and dominance in Corporate Sports is why superpowers like China are spending millions to build their National Cricket Team.

  • All in all, Cricket is not just a game. It’s a way of life.