It is believed that cricket began in England as far back as the 1300’s although there is no documented evidence of this. It is believed it would have been invented and played by children living in the Weald, an area in South-East England made up of dense woodland and open clearings.
The first documented reference to cricket being played as a sport by adults was in 1611. That same year the game was entered as cricket and described as a boy’s sport in a dictionary.
By the middle of the 17th century cricket was being played in villages across English and county teams were formed later that century. 1709 is the earliest reference to teams actually using the counties as their names. Kent met Surrey at Dartford for this first inter-county game.
1744 saw organised rules being applied (although there are suggestions there were rules in place before this. That same year saw Kent play against an All-England side in a famous game. It was not unusual for there to be disorder amongst the crowds and heavy betting at cricket games. These days you can bet online or play fantasy cricket if you like to gamble on the sport.
Evolution of cricket
In 1811 wide deliveries were banned. 1838 saw an official ruling on the circumference of the ball used. In 1841 pads were introduced for protection, firstly from cork and later from vulcanised rubber. This same new rubber was used to make protective gloves in 1848.
Boundaries were introduced later in 1870 so not all the hits had to be run. Then the delivery of the ball started to change.
At this time all deliveries were bowled underarm but then someone changed all that. If legend is to be believed then John Willes developed the first ‘round-arm’ delivery. His sister was unable to deliver the ball underarm due to the garments that women wore in those days and threw the ball round-arm instead. Willes then practised and developed this technique.
Because of the popularity of this new development the MCC ruled that the hand must be below the elbow at the time of delivery. However by 1830 it was so popular that the MCC conceded and rewrote the rules to all the new techniques as long as the hand or arm do not go above the shoulder.
Slowly over time the game came closer to the one we know today.
Colonisation and the spread of cricket around the world
As Britain got more Imperialist ambitions cricket spread around the world wherever the British navy and army landed. There are even records of cricket being played in North America back in the 1700’s.
Colonisation of Australia in around 1788 brought the game down under and by the 1800’s it had reached the West Indies and India. The 19th century saw the game played in South Africa and New Zealand. All countries that have embraced the game and produced great players and national teams.
It might seem strange that the first International match did not include England where the game was invented but was actually held in New York at St Georges Cricket Club between the United States and Canada. In 1877 England and Australia played their first game ever and their rivalry began.
India falls in love with cricket
Due to the colonisation of India cricket became incredibly popular. This was down to the British Raj and The East India Company. Madras city was founded by the East India Company in 1639. They then acquired Portuguese territory in 1661 on the west coast. This included the city of Bombay. In 1690 there was a treaty (Anglo-Mughai) that let English traders and merchants develop a trading settlement along the Hooghly River. This grew into the city of Calcutta. At all of these locations the British played cricket the native population embraced the sport and the popularity grew.
One of the reasons it became so popular and remains so is that it is so easy to play. Children only need a bat and ball and you can see children on the streets using a stick instead of a bat to swing at the ball. Even though there is no official national sport in India, cricket would be it if there was. It is treated as a religion and is possibly their favorite import from England.
When the sport first arrived in India it led to plenty of opportunities for gamblers too. Cricket matches were places for men to gamble heavily on the sport but then the British banned gambling in 1867. These days gambling is still forbidden in cricket and other sports. In fact there are only three states in India that allow casinos. If you find yourself in India wanting to bet on sports like cricket or just play casino games like eye of horus then you will have to go online. This is technically not illegal as legislation has not been settled for online gambling or casinos yet.
One other important development happened in 1882. England lost to Australia and there was a mock obituary for English cricket published. Two women from Melbourne burnt a bail and then presented it in an urn to the England captain of the time.
This is how the Ashes began and the longest running competition in the game was on.
These days cricket continues to be popular and played in schools across England and the rest of the world. While it has been embraced by some countries as if it was started there it is still strangely unknown in others such as China, Brazil and Russia. Where China strongly favours Olympic sports Brazil is a huge footballing nation and it would take some turn around to get cricket popular there. If you are more of an armchair fan then you could always play cricket on a console or PC as there are more than a few on the market or if you like betting on cricket then you can go online to a bookmaker site or online casino and place your bet there. In between innings you can login to a live casino and have a quick game of cards while you wait for the cricket teams to return.
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