The traditional English game of cricket has a long and colourful history, and is said to be the second most watched sport after football. The exact origin of this complex game is unknown, however, experts and historians agree that it probably originated in South East England some during Norman or Saxon times, when a group of children created the game using what they could scrape together. There are also indications that a form of cricket was played in France by a future King Edward II, although this cannot be substantiated.
A Children’s Game
For many centuries, the early form of cricket was not a sport, rather a form of entertainment for young children, whenever they could get away from the daily chores, which were many in those times. The game was played by having a wicket, which would have been a piece of wood, and the ball was thrown and the batsman tried to stop it hitting the wicket using a wooden bat. The ball would have likely been a stone, or perhaps a shaped piece of wood, and the rules would have been very basic, unlike the complicated list of regulations we have today.
The Transition to a Sport
The game of cricket began to attract the interest of adults, and there is written reference to the game as far back as the early 17th century, when two men were prosecuted in Surrey for playing on Sunday morning, when they should have been at church.Photo by Shaun Metcalfe
The English Civil War that occurred in the 17th century was a reason why many men were in one place, often for long periods, awaiting battle instructions, and cricket became a very popular game in their downtime.
After the civil war, the new puritan government banned popular games like soccer and cricket, and the game almost disappeared within the working class, although the top English schools still encouraged the playing of cricket. If you are a player, and looking for a top quality cricket bat for sale, there are online stores, such as https://www.meulemans.com.au/ that supply everything needed to play, and with only the best makes on offer, they are suppliers of professional players too.
Betting was said to be rampant in the 18th century, and cricket offered a chance to win large sums of money, with wealthy aristocrats who invested heavily in preparing teams to play on their behalf. This was the start of what we now know as county cricket, when teams that represented Lords and their lands were pitted against each other, with large sums of money at stake.
The British introduced cricket to their commonwealth territories, and the game arrived in Australia in 1788, when colonisation first began. Australians have been playing cricket for more than 200 years, and the modern game is played nationwide.
Worldwide popularity has ensured that cricket is here to stay, and with a range of games ranging from a one day event, to a 5 day Test, the allure of cricket has touched the hearts of all who play it.