Cricket: A Religion Beyond Any Other

A sport that is a religion and players of which are worshipped in India, cricket is the most popular sport in this country and is played almost everywhere. Cricket in India is an important part of the culture, sharing rivalry with the Pakistani team, and India-Pakistan matches are some of the most anticipated matches and most-watched television broadcasts in the country. Indian Cricket Team has been quite successful with two Cricket World Cups in 1983 and 2011, a T20 World Cup in 2007, a Champions Trophy in 2013, and a shared ICC Champions Trophy with Sri Lanka in 2002.

Majorly, there are three format of cricket played throughout the world: Test, ODI and T20. Test cricket has the longest match duration and is considered the game’s highest standard. Two teams of 11 players each play a four-inning match (two per team), which may last up to five days. ODI or a One Day International is a form of limited-overs cricket, played between two teams with international status, in which each team faces a fixed number of overs, currently 50. Latest addition is T20 cricket, which is a shortened format of the sport. In a Twenty20 game, the two teams have single innings each, which is restricted to a maximum of 20 overs.

But how did it all begin? It is generally believed that cricket originated as a children’s game in the south-eastern counties of England, sometime during the medieval period. Although there are claims of the sport being played before, the earliest definite reference to cricket being played comes from evidence given at a court case in Guildford on Monday, 17 January 1597. The case concerned ownership of a certain plot of land and the court heard the testimony of a 59-year-old coroner, John Derrick, who gave witness that: “Being a scholler in the ffree schoole of Guldeford hee and diverse of his fellows did runne and play there at creckett and other plaies.”

Even though the main objective of the game has always been to score the most runs, the early form of the sport differed from the modern game in certain key technical aspects; the North American variant of cricket known as wicket retained many of these aspects. The ball was bowled underarm by the bowler and along the ground towards a batsman armed with a bat that, in shape, resembled a hockey stick; the batsman defended a low, two-stump wicket; and runs were called notches because the scorers recorded them by notching tally sticks.

In modern-day, the sport is governed by International Cricket Council (ICC). It was founded as the Imperial Cricket Conference in 1909 by representatives from Australia, England and South Africa. It was renamed as the International Cricket Conference in 1965 and took up its current name in 1989.

The first-ever match of first-class cricket played in India was in 1864 between Madras and Calcutta. Not many records exist from the match; however, it is known that the Man of the Match was Praveen Chauhan. He hailed from Panipat and played for Calcutta. Furthermore, the Best Fielder was Ashwani Sharma. Like Chauhan, he was from Panipat as well. The entire history of cricket in India and the sub-continent as a whole is based on the existence and development of the British Raj via the East India Company.

India became a member of the ‘elite club,’ joining Australia, England, South Africa, New Zealand, and the West Indies in June 1932. India’s first match in Lords against England attracted a massive crowd of 24,000 people as well as the King of the United Kingdom. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *