Contrary to what the name of this sport suggests, the game Cricket is actually not named after the insect of the same name. The name actually derived from a misnomer of several old English, Dutch and French words, including krick(-e), meaning a stick (Dutch), cricc or cryce, meaning a crutch or staff (Old English), or the French word criquet meaning a wooden post. Playing cricket sport was a pastime for aristocratic societies back in the 16th century.
The name of the sport changed very little since it was first played in the 16th century in Southern England, and by the 20th century, it was officially called “Cricket.” Cricket is very similar to American baseball, where both sports use a small ball, a bat, and both innings. It is widely believed that baseball got some influences from the traditional English game of cricket, thus explaining their similarities.
Why is Cricket so Popular?
Cricket has a cult following of over 2.5 billion fans – it is the second most popular sport in the world next to Football. This English sport is almost 300 years old, and as of today, nearly every person in the world knows what the cricket game is. In India, the game is as popular as football, and the reason for this is that India was once a British colony, and the Britons taught the natives how to play this game when they still ruled the country.
As a matter of fact, cricket is more popular in India now than in its country of origin, the United Kingdom. It is also quite popular in other countries surrounding India, such as Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Playing cricket sport has an endearing effect on the people of India and other countries, where this game was introduced when Britain was still colonising several regions of the world. The British has left a lasting legacy in Asia with their traditional sport – cricket.
Cricket is extremely popular due to several reasons:
- Historical Influence: Cricket was introduced by the British during the time of their empire, and it spread to many parts of the world, including Australia, India, Pakistan, the Caribbean, South Africa, and New Zealand, among others. These regions continue to play and support the game passionately. Playing cricket sport, though not yet officially established, was a favourite pastime for British colonisers and the local natives in the areas where they colonised people.
- Cultural Significance: In countries like India, Pakistan, and the West Indies, cricket is more than just a game. It’s a cultural event that brings people together. Matches, especially those at the international level, are major events that bring communities together, foster national pride, and sometimes even play a role in diplomacy.
- Variety of Formats: Cricket offers a variety of formats ranging from multi-day Test matches, one-day internationals (ODIs), to the very short and exciting Twenty20 format. This caters to a wide range of audience preferences, from the traditional purist to fans who prefer fast-paced excitement. Playing cricket sport makes fans excited and they even go to online sports betting sites to bet on their favorite teams, as way for them to show their support – and also win cash prizes.
- Star Power: Cricket has produced many charismatic and talented players whose fame transcends national boundaries. Players like Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara, Imran Khan, and more recently, Virat Kohli and Steve Smith, have massive global followings.
- Global Tournaments: Events like the ICC Cricket World Cup, the ICC T20 World Cup, and various national leagues like the Indian Premier League (IPL), the Big Bash League (BBL), and the Pakistan Super League (PSL) attract international attention and increase the sport’s popularity. Playing cricket sport in global tournaments unifies the fans from dozens of countries, especially during the Olympic Games!
- Commercialisation and Media Coverage: The sport has been highly commercialised over the past few decades, leading to substantial media coverage. This exposure, especially through television and now increasingly through the internet, has made the sport more accessible to a larger global audience.
- Community and Youth Programs: Many cricketing nations have strong youth and community cricket programs that encourage participation from a young age. This grassroots-level involvement helps maintain and grow interest in the sport. Young people easily love this game once they learn the mechanics of playing cricket sport. Getting young kids into sports helps them avoid drugs and other vices that can lead them to ruin.
It’s worth noting that the popularity of cricket varies significantly around the world. While it’s a major sport in countries like India, Pakistan, England, Australia, and South Africa, it’s less well-known in many other countries, especially those where sports like soccer, basketball, and baseball dominate. In some countries where playing cricket sport is not prevalent, there are representatives from the International Cricket Council endorsing the game, especially to young children in order to encourage the proliferation of the game.
What You Need to Know About Playing Cricket Sport
Cricket is a popular sport with a rich history, particularly in countries such as England, Australia, India, Pakistan, and South Africa. It is a bat-and-ball game that is played between two teams, each consisting of 11 players. Playing the cricket sport on a field at the centre of which is a 20-meter-long pitch.
Here are the basic steps to understand and play cricket:
- Understand the Cricket Field: A cricket field is generally circular or oval, in the centre of which is the pitch where most of the action happens. At each end of the pitch, there’s a set of three wooden sticks known as stumps or wickets. Across the top of these stumps are two small pieces of wood called bails.
- Understand the Objective: The goal of cricket is simple – to score more runs than the opposition. One team bats and attempts to score runs, while the other fields and attempts to restrict the batting team from scoring. The roles switch at the end of an innings. When playing cricket sport, always plan for the game ahead in order to get a strategic foothold over your opponent and win.
- Understand the Teams: Each team is made up of 11 players. The batting team sends two players at a time to the pitch (known as batsmen) while the fielding team spreads out around the field. One player from the fielding team (the bowler) will bowl the ball towards the batsman.
- Understand Overs and Innings: The match is divided into innings, and each innings is divided into overs. An over consists of six balls bowled by the same bowler. Once an over is complete, another bowler from the same team bowls an over, but from the other end of the pitch. An innings is either defined by a set number of overs (typically in shorter formats of the game) or until 10 of the 11 batsmen are out (Test cricket).
- Scoring Runs: A batsman can score runs in several ways. They can hit the ball and then run to the other end of the pitch, thereby scoring a run. If the ball is hit all the way to the boundary of the field without bouncing, six runs are scored. If the ball bounces or rolls to the boundary, four runs are scored. There are also extras or bonus runs awarded for various infractions committed by the fielding team.
- Getting Out: There are several ways a batsman can be dismissed (or given “out”). These include being bowled (the bowler hits the stumps with the ball), caught (a fielder catches the ball without it bouncing), run-out (a fielder hits the stumps with the ball before the batsmen complete their run), and LBW (leg before wicket, where the batsman blocks the ball which would have hit the stumps with their leg).
- The Bowling: A bowler aims to dismiss the batsman by hitting the wickets, forcing an error for a catch, or trapping them LBW. There are various bowling styles in cricket, the most common being fast-paced and spin. Fast bowlers rely on speed and movement off the pitch, while spinners use the rotation of the ball to deceive the batsmen.
- Fielding and Wicket Keeping: Fielders assist the bowler in preventing runs and getting the batsmen out. The positions they take on the field can vary widely, from close to the batsman to the boundary edge. The wicketkeeper is a specialised fielder who stands behind the stumps being targeted by the bowler. They catch balls that the batsman misses and can also attempt to dismiss the batsman in various ways.
- The Equipment: Cricket requires a ball, a bat, and two sets of stumps and bails. The players should also wear appropriate attire, with the fielding team often wearing whites, and the batsmen wearing protective gear like helmets, pads, gloves, and a box.
- Playing the Game: Cricket is typically played in a sports club or on a large open field. It requires a group of at least 22 players (two teams of 11), a designated umpire to enforce the rules, and a scorer to keep score. However, casual games can be played with fewer players and relaxed rules.
Playing cricket sport well, requires good hand-eye coordination, athleticism, concentration, and understanding of the game’s strategic elements. It is a sport that celebrates team effort and individual contribution equally, making it both exciting and rewarding to play.
Remember, cricket is a sport best learned in practice, so if you’re interested in learning to play, consider joining a local club or gathering a group of friends for regular games. The more you play, the better you’ll understand and appreciate the nuances of this fantastic sport.
Cricket Hall of Fame
The International Cricket Council (ICC) does not have an official Hall of Fame, but it periodically inducts players into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame to honour their outstanding contributions to the sport. It is an honour bestowed upon retired players who have significantly impacted the game.
The ICC Cricket Hall of Fame was launched on January 2, 2009, in association with the Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations (FICA) as part of the ICC’s centenary year celebrations. The initial inductees were 55 players from across cricketing history.
Some prominent names in the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame include:
- Sir Donald Bradman (Australia) – Often cited as the greatest batsman of all time.
- Sachin Tendulkar (India) – Holds numerous batting records, including the highest run-scorer in both Test and One-Day Internationals (ODIs).
- Sir Vivian Richards (West Indies) – One of the greatest batsmen in the history of the sport.
- Sir Garfield Sobers (West Indies) – An exceptional all-rounder.
- Brian Lara (West Indies) – Held the record for the highest individual score in a Test innings.
- Muttiah Muralitharan (Sri Lanka) – The highest wicket-taker in Test cricket.
- Wasim Akram (Pakistan) – One of the greatest fast bowlers in history.
- Shane Warne (Australia) – Widely regarded as one of the greatest spin bowlers in history.
- Ricky Ponting (Australia) – One of the most successful captains and prolific run-scorers in cricket history.
- Jacques Kallis (South Africa) – One of the game’s greatest all-rounders.
- Kapil Dev (India) – One of the greatest all-rounders and led India to their first World Cup victory in 1983.
- Imran Khan (Pakistan) – An inspirational captain and a great all-rounder, who led Pakistan to their only World Cup win in 1992.
It can be said that playing cricket sport is one of the most challenging sports to excel at. This is because the mechanics of the game are not that difficult to learn, and anyone can master it if given enough time to practice. So, when professional cricket sports teams compete in a cricket match, it is almost certain that they will give their 100% performance just to win. Usually, the winning team secures their victory by pure luck or overmatching the opposing team by placing their best players on the field to a point where the match becomes lopsided.