As the ICC World Cricket Cup matches start from this Sunday, 08 Oct, 23, it is interesting to know the history of early cricket. There is a consensus of expert opinion that cricket might have been invented during Saxon or Norman times by children in the Weald, an area of dense woodlands and clearings in South-East England. The first reference to cricket being played as an adult sport was in 1611, and in the same year, a dictionary defined cricket as a boys’ game. There is also the thought that cricket may have been derived from bowls, by the intervention of a batsman trying to stop the ball from reaching its target by hitting it away.
Evolution and Spread of Cricket
Village cricket had developed by the middle of the 17th century, and the first English “county teams” were formed in the second half of the century, as “local experts” from village cricket were employed as the earliest professionals. The first known game in which the teams use County names is in 1709. So when the East India company was established in 1600 AD, the company managers took this favorite game with them wherever they went. The game of cricket landed in India too when this company landed in this subcontinent. The form of early cricket in India is depicted by Amir Khan in his Hindi film Lagaan in a wonderful style.
Cricket in India and Its Varieties
From the 17th century to present-day cricket, it is a romantic tale of the evolution of this funny game. As shown in the above film, many of the 600 Rajas & maharajas patronized this wonderful game. Ranji Trophy reminds us today of the glorious history. At present, there are 3 varieties of this game- test cricket, one day, & T20. There are separate records for all these varieties. The World Cup matches starting from 08 Oct in India is ODI consisting of 50 overs. So let us enjoy the sheer fun of the cricket festival!
Cricket: A Cultural Phenomenon and Business
A poet has said, “life‘s a game of cricket, lads”. So one of the greatest extravaganzas starts in India this weekend. A majority of Indians love the game; therefore, about one billion Indians will watch the Matches. To enjoy the game you need not know the intricate rules of the funny pastime. The young & old will talk about cricket this Autumn. It is a billion-dollar business as the ICC, BCCI, the betting pundits & advertisers will mint money. There would be full-page ads featuring the cricket greats like Gavaskar, Dhoni, Azharuddin & others.
The Grandeur of the World Cup
It is a festival unmatched in its grandeur, showmanship & style. One wonders how 13 players with a ball & a bat mesmerize millions of spectators. In good old days, AIR running commentary was one of the most popular pastimes of people of all ages. The most favorite match is, of course, the Indo-Pak game. How many manhours are lost is anybody’s guess. People in most colorful clothes & hats turn in the pavilions to watch their favorite players hitting fours & sixers. It is the greatest show on earth! Well, the common folks will forget about politics at least during the matches.
Anticipation and Celebrations
Already tickets are sold-out for the first match between India & Australia to be played on this Sunday. Volumes will be written in dailies in English & other Indian languages. All the sports channels will vie to provide live coverage of this great sport event. No effort will be spared by the organizers to make the show a great success. The World Cup is a grand festival, full of colors, sound & fun. Old records will be broken & new records will be set in bowling, batting & fielding. Hotels are full with the bookings in advance. This funny game will rule the hearts of millions of people during the great extravaganza.
The game became popular during the East India Company‘s rule in the 17th century. Amir Khan has made his Hindi movie ‘Lagaan’ based on those days. As the poet says, lads let the game begin! Three salutes to the inventors of this funny yet entertaining pastime!