Cricket is a bat and ball game that is played between two teams each consisting of 11 players. The game is played on a cricket field, a 22 yards long and 10 wide pitch. While one team bats and tries to score as many runs as possible, the other team tries to prevent it by bowling and fielding. A game can last from about three hours (Twenty20) to five days (Test cricket).
The rules and laws of cricket are regulated by the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC).
Cricket is played in many countries worldwide in one form or another, while the highest governing body – the ICC has only ten members. The sport is most popular in the member states of the Commonwealth of Nations which is closely connected with the sport’s history. Cricket as we know it today emerged in 16th century England and was introduced to other parts of the world during the height of the British Empire.
Forms of Cricket
There are many different forms of cricket that can roughly be divided into two types – major and minor cricket. The first type refers to elite matches such as Test cricket, limited overs cricket, first-class cricket and Twenty20 that are played by the top-class cricketers, while minor cricket refers to domestic matches that are played by cricket clubs.
Test cricket is the highest standard of cricket. It is a type of first-class cricket – premier international or domestic matches that are played over five days. It was first played in 1877 between England and Australia that were soon joined by South Africa (1889). Between the World Wars and shortly thereafter, four more national teams joined the Test nations – West Indies, New Zealand, India and Pakistan.
By the end of the 20th century, the Test status was also achieved by Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. England’s national team is also open for Wales’ players and is de facto team of England and Wales. The West Indies’ team also comprises cricketers from multiple nations including Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Anguilla, Montserrat, British Virgin Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands and Sint Maarten.
Limited overs cricket that was introduced in the 1960s shortened the duration of a match to one day although it sometimes extends into the second day due to the bad weather. But “one day matches” allowed organisation of a larger number of matches as well as increased media coverage. In 2003, a new version of limited overs was introduced – the Twenty20 that was soon adopted internationally as it was an immediate commercial success.
Each of the Test nations also holds national championships and County Championship in England that is contested by 18 county clubs.
Besides the cricket as it is known in England and other “cricket nations”, numerous variations of the sport are played as well. Examples include French cricket, indoor cricket, Kwik cricket and beach cricket, to mention only a few.other useful sport to aid cricket performance are running and personal trainer training.