If you ask people from around the world what’s England’s national sport, many will instantly say soccer. Even though soccer is immensely popular in this country, this is the wrong answer to this question. The correct one would be cricket, which comes as a surprise even to some residents of the country.
As we all know by now, due to the ongoing global current situation, there hasn’t been much going on in the world of cricket. As a substitute for the latest cricket news, today you will have the opportunity to learn more about the history of cricket.
Why Is Cricket Called Cricket?
Before we dive into the timeline of cricket development, let’s first see why this sport is called cricket. Several words look like they might have been the inspiration for creating the term cricket.
One of them is a Middle Dutch word krick(-e) that represents a stick. Then there’s another word from the same dialect — krickstoel. This word means “a long low stool” and was probably used because it mirrors the long low wicket with two stumps common for early cricket.
There are some words from other languages after which cricket potentially got its name. One is the Old English word cricc or cryce, used as a synonym for a crutch or staff, as well as a French word criquet that describes a wooden post.
Be that as it may, the name itself became important only after cricket got recognized as a sport in England.
Most historians believe that cricket dates back to Saxon or Norman times. There has been a debate about whether it originated in England or France, but it most certainly started as a children’s game that wasn’t taken seriously by adults until the 17th century.
At this time, only people living in villages used to play cricket. During the 17th century, the popularity of the game rose to prominence, with the commonwealth accepting it in 1660, after the Restoration.
In the 18th century, the first patrons got involved, forming the first official county teams. The noblemen started employing people from villages as they had more experience with the game. They were considered “local experts” and seen as the earliest cricket professionals.
Simultaneously, British colonists who traveled overseas introduced the game to people from other continents. It got widely accepted in India, Australia, North America, South Africa, and New Zealand.
First Cricket Rules in Development of Cricket in England
The basic terms of cricket were known even at its very beginning, while the first rules took the form of Articles of Agreement. They were created by the Duke of Richmond and Alan Brodick in 1728 to serve as the code of practice in a particular game. The first official Laws of Cricket were created in 1744 and have been revised regularly since then.
After the laws had been established, England started investing in cricket. The first venue was set in Yorkshire, while the first popular clubs were in London and Dartford.
Everything was going well for the game of cricket until daily life got interrupted by several wars. Once they were all over at some point in the 19th century, cricket made a comeback and got amended to some extent. The introduction of the railway added to the development of cricket, as it allowed teams from different cities to compete against each other.
The 19th century was also a period in which cricket took off internationally. The journeys of national teams to other countries formed the competition known as Test cricket.
This type of cricket tournament remained popular throughout the 20th century and is today the most important cricket competition. Apart from the Test Championship, all countries where cricket plays a significant role have their own premier leagues. Finally, Twenty20 cricket came into being, ideal for anyone who prefers a shortened format of the game.