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History of Cricket

In this issue we will discuss about an intresting game. That is Cricket.Cricket is a bat-and-ball team sport that originated in England and is now played in more than 100 countries. A cricket match is contested by two teams, usually of eleven players each. A cricket match is played on a grass field in the centre of which is a flat strip of ground 22 yards (20 m) long called a cricket pitch. A wicket, usually made of wood, is placed at each end of the pitch and used as a target.

The bowler, a player from the fielding team, bowls a hard leather, fist-sized, 5.5 ounces (160 g) cricket ball from the vicinity of one wicket towards the other, which is guarded by the batsman, a player from the opposing team. The ball usually bounces once before reaching the batsman. In defence of his wicket, the batsman plays the ball with a wooden cricket bat. Meanwhile, the other members of the bowler's team stand in various positions around the field as fielders, players who retrieve the ball in an effort to stop the batsman scoring runs, and if possible to get him or her out. The batsman , if he or she does not get out , may run between the wickets, exchanging ends with a second batsman (the "non-striker"), who has been stationed at the other end of the pitch. Each completed exchange of ends scores one run. Runs are also scored if the batsman hits the ball to the boundary of the playing area. The match is won by the team that scores more runs.

Cricket is essentially an outdoor sport, certainly at major level, and some games are played under floodlights. It cannot be played in poor weather due to the risk of accidents and so it is a seasonal sport. For example, it is played during the summer months in Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, while in the West Indies, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh it is played mostly during the winter months to escape the hurricane and monsoon seasons.

Governance rests primarily with the International Cricket Council (ICC), based in Dubai, which organises the sport worldwide via the domestic controlling bodies of the member countries. The ICC administers both men's and women's cricket, both versions being played at international level. Although men cannot play women's cricket, the rules do not disqualify women from playing in a men's team.The rules are in the form of a code known as The Laws of Cricket and these are maintained by the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), based in London, in consultation with the ICC and the domestic boards of control.

Team structure

A team consists of eleven players. Depending on his or her primary skills, a player may be classified as a specialist batsman or bowler. A well-balanced team usually has five or six specialist batsmen and four or five specialist bowlers. Teams nearly always include a specialist wicket-keeper because of the importance of this fielding position. Each team is headed by a captain who is responsible for making tactical decisions such as determining the batting order, the placement of fielders and the rotation of bowlers. A player who excels in both batting and bowling is known as an all-rounder. One who excels as a batsman and wicket-keeper is known as a "wicket-keeper/batsman", sometimes regarded as a type of all-rounder. True all-rounders are rare as most players focus on either batting or bowling skills.There are various types of playing thegame. The most popular are Test Cricket,Oneday match andTwenty twentymatches. Let me explain briefly about all these.

Test cricket

Test cricket is the highest standard of first-class cricket. A Test match is an international fixture between teams representing those countries that are Full Members of the ICC. The men wearing black trousers on the far right are the umpires. Teams in Test cricket, first-class cricket and club cricket wear traditional white uniforms and use red cricket balls, while professional limited overs teams usually wear multi-coloured uniforms and use white balls.

Although the term "Test match" was not coined until much later, Test cricket is deemed to have begun with two matches between Australia and England in the 1876-77 Australian season. Subsequently, eight other national teams have achieved Test status: South Africa (1889), West Indies (1928), New Zealand (1929), India (1932), Pakistan (1952), Sri Lanka (1982), Zimbabwe (1992) and Bangladesh (2000). Welsh players are eligible to play for England, which is in effect an England and Wales team. The West Indies team comprises players from numerous states in the Caribbean, most notably Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, the Leeward Islands and the Windward Islands. Test matches between two teams are usually played in a group of matches called a "series". Matches generally last up to five days and a series normally consists of three to five matches. Test matches that are not finished within the allotted time are drawn. Since 1882, most Test series between England and Australia have been played for a trophy known as The Ashes. Some other series have individual trophies too: for example, the Wisden Trophy is contested by England and West Indies; the Frank Worrell Trophy by Australia and West Indies.

Limited overs

Limited overs cricket is sometimes called "one day cricket" because each match is scheduled for completion in a single day. In practice, matches sometimes continue on a second day if they have been interrupted or postponed by bad weather. The main objective of a limited overs match is to produce a definite result and so a conventional draw is not possible, but matches can be undecided if the scores are tied or if bad weather prevents a result. Each team plays one innings only and faces a limited number of overs. Typically, the limit is 40 or 50. In Twenty20 cricket, each team faces 20 overs only.

Standard limited overs cricket was introduced in England in the 1963 season in the form of a knockout cup contested by the first-class county clubs. In 1969, a national league competition was established. The concept was gradually introduced to the other major cricket countries and the first limited overs international was played in 1971. In 1975, the first Cricket World Cup took place in England. Limited overs cricket has seen various innovations including the use of multi-coloured kit and floodlit matches using a white ball. Twenty20 is a new variant of limited overs itself with the purpose being to complete the match within about three hours, usually in an evening session. The original idea, when the concept was introduced in England in 2003, was to provide workers with an evening entertainment. It has been commercially successful and has been adopted internationally. The inaugural Twenty20 World Championship was held in 2007. In the next issue,we will see about a differentgame.