Cricket is a very old game that is steeped in tradition. The earlier types of cricket go back to at least the thirteenth century and the roots of the game can be traced back to the south of England. It seems to have been popular among the families of farmers in the south east. A game that seems to be similar was even mentioned as early as thirteen hundred, although it is not sure that this was cricket. However, the first known reference to the name cricket was made in the late sixteenth century in the south of England. This was at a school where the game was being played.
The origin of the name “cricket” is not actually known, but there are many possible sources for the name. One of the most popular ideas is that it is from the French language. The word could even be from the French word criqet which means bat. Although there are also Flemish and Old English contenders for the title. Actually even the French word criqet is originally from the Flemish. So it is not really possible to say exactly where the name cricket is from, but it has been around since at least the end of the sixteenth century.
In the year sixteen hundred the game of cricket was first brought to India by the east India Company. During the seventeenth century the game became more and more popular in the south east of England and it was played by a lot more people at this time as there are numerous references to the game during the seventeenth century. After a while it was played in a more formal fashion in the later part of this century. It is even thought that there might have been professional players at this time. It is certain that some of these games were played for large amounts of money and there was a lot of gambling on the matches that were being played in the seventeenth century. This is also when the number of players was established at eleven on each side. This is a time that was very important for the game as it was when it really became the early prototype of the game that it is today, although the bowling technique had not yet been formalised.
During the eighteenth century there were more and more references to the game and it was much more widespread at this time. There were numerous references to the game being played and there were stories of very high stakes being bet on the games. It also became a much more popular spectator game with large crowds watching matches and more formal games being arranged. Lords cricket club in London was established in 1787 as the home of cricket. It is still one of the most important and traditional clubs in cricket today. It is the home of the MCC who are the official holders of the rules of cricket.
In the nineteenth century cricket became more like the game it is today with the start of over arm bowling. This made the game a lot better as it was more accurate and made it much more interesting to watch. In the mid nineteenth century, the first overseas tour was to America and it was then followed some years later by a tour to Australia to the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
In 1864 the great cricketer WG Grace began playing cricket. He was to influence the game more than any other single person. He was a doctor and continued to practice when he was not playing the game. He played at the top level for over forty years. He scored over one thousand two hundred runs in the year 1902 when he was fifty four. He was a very domineering character and was well known for arguing with the umpires when he did not like their decisions. In the mid twentieth century, the crowds got to see the greatest batsmen that ever lived, the Australian Don Bradman. He was so good that the England team resorted to very direct tactics in the “bodyline series”, where they bowled at the man instead of the wicket in an attempt to beat the Australian team. This was so controversial that it led to strained diplomatic relations between England and Australia until the start of the Second World War.
In the sixties the game changed as limited over matches were played and made the game much more accessible to many more people. This started the one day internationals and the first one was played in 1971. The game became even more accessible in recent years with the start of Twenty20 cricket. This is where each team has a maximum of twenty overs and makes the game much faster and it generally lasts for no more than 3 hours. Even today the game continues to change and gets better and it is likely to carry on that way.