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CRICKET

ORIGINS

  • In the 1760s, a cricket club was formed in the Hampshire village of Hambledon in the south of England, which established the techniques of batting and bowling that still apply today.

  • By the 1970s the centre of the game moved from the countryside to London and the Lord's ground owned by the Marylebone Cricket Club. It was the MCC, as it became known, that drew up the rules and conduct of the game and still fulfils English colonies and by the middle of the nineteenth century was being played in Australia and New Zealand, the West Indies and India.


SPACE REQUIRED

  • There are no fixed measurements for a cricket ground, only for the 22 yard "wicket", where the bowler bowls the ball overarm at the batsman. The wicket itself has to mown very short, and modern wickets are almost brown, because so much loam (a paste of clay and water) is used on them. This is rolled regularly into the area between the wickets in order to harden it.

  • In countries like West Indies the pitch can be almost like concrete. Newcomers to cricket are often confused between the use of the word "wicket" for both the area described above, and for the two sets of wooden stumps and bails at either end of this bowling area.


PLAYING APPARATUS

  • The players wear white flannel trousers, white shirt, and short sleeve or long sleeve sweater, with a club badge on it and club colours at its V neck. Cricket boots have small metal studs to grip the ground. Sometimes the batsmen wear a helmet, but most of the players wear a cap, again in club colours.

  • The cricket ball is red, hard and almost 9 inches in circumference. Each player needs a bat, which must be no longer than 38 inches or wider than 4.5 inches. The blade must be made of wood.

  • There are three stumps placed at each end of the pitch, 9 inches wide and 28 inches high. On top are placed two short sticks known as the bails.


RULES AND REGULATIONS

  • A team contains 11 men or women. At the start of a game (which can last for an afternoon or up to five days for international matches), the two captains toss a coin to decide which team will bat and which team will field first. The portion of the game during which a side is batting is called an "innings". A player's batting period is also referred to their innings.

  • The fielding team has a number of specialist bowlers who bowl six balls at the batsmen from one end of the wicket. Every six balls (called an over) the bowling switches to the other end of the wicket.

  • The aim of the batsmen is to hit the ball and run as many times as they can between the wickets. They can score four by hitting the ball at ground to the boundary marker surrounding the ground. If they hit it over this marker in the air then six runs are awarded without the batsmen having to run. The batsmen can be bowled out if the ball hits their wicket. They can be caught out by a fielder holding the ball, witch must not touch the ground before reaching him. They can also be stumped by the wicketkeeper, a player who stands permanently behind the batsman receiving the bowling. A player is given out "stumped" by the umpire if the wicketkeeper removes the bails and the batsman has not at least his bat or one foot touching the ground within the four-foot area of the crease (the line which defines the position of the bowler and the batsman). The aim is to make the most runs for the lost of the least batsmen.

  • In one-day games each side bats once and the side batting first might decide they have made enough runs, and can bowl the other side out for fewer runs, so they will declare their innings over.

  • In matches lasting three, four or five days each side will bat twice, and the total of each innings is added up.


RECORDS SET IN THE GAME

  • The game’s history in England is dominated by Dr William Grace, better known as W. G. Grace. Born in 1848, near Bristol, he played cricket for 40 years as it moved from a rural to a national sport. He played his last Test at the age of 50. In 1871 he became the first man to score over to 2,000 runs in a season. He achieved the double glory of 1,000 runs and 100 wickets eight times.

  • The Australian Sir Donald "The Don" Bradman is still rated as the greatest batsman ever. In 52 Test match appearances for Australia between 1928 and 1948 he scored over 6,000 runs, averaging 99.94 an innings.


DID YOU KNOW?

  • Dr E. M. Grace, brother of the legendary W. G., lacked his brother's magic touch. In 1902 W. Hyman of the both Associates cricket team hit 32 sixes off his bowling in one match!

  • In August 1962 Joseph Fillison umpired his last first-class cricket match between Old England and the Lord's Taverners. It was a unique event, since he was then 100 years old.

  • During the Second World War the battalion of the Green Howards, a regiment of the British Army on continual service overseas, were fanatical about cricket. They tried to play whenever they could and took a length of matting with them just in case the local ground was unsuitable. This "tour" took them through all the major fields of operations, including India, Egypt, Iraq, Sicily, France, Italy, Belgium and Germany.

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