Cricket is the second most watched sport on the planet behind football. Over time it has evolved to what we see now it today. Governance of cricket is done by the ICC with over a hundred countries and territories in membership although test membership is currently limited to 12 countries with two countries only being added in 2018.
The earliest reference of cricket (initially called creckett) is in 1597 in a court case in England, although it was known as a children’s game at the time. The first reference as an adult sport was in 1611 in England when two men were prosecuted for playing cricket and not attending church on a Sunday.
The first international test match would only be centuries later in 1877 when England toured Australia, later becoming the Ashes Series in 1882. South Africa became the third test playing nation in 1889. Over the following years, cricket would see significant growth with New Zealand and India joining the party.
Growth of test Cricket
The ICC, originally Imperial Cricket conference, only consisted of England, Australia and South Africa in 1909. New members would attain membership as the years went by West Indies (1928), New Zealand (1930), India (1932) and Pakistan (1952). Affiliate members were later added at the end of the 20th century Sri Lanka (1982), Zimbabwe (1992) and Bangladesh (2000). In 2018 the ICC gave membership status to Ireland and Afghanistan.
How have the cricket laws changed over time?
In 1889 cricket started with a four ball over, replaced by five balls an over and later changed to six balls an over in 1900. In 1927 this would be further extend to eight balls an over in 1924 and later standardized to six balls an over in 1979.
Limited overs started in England country teams started in the 1960’s with the first international limited overs match in 1971.
The Third Umpire was formally used in 1992 in a test match between South Africa and India.
LBW was introduced in 1774 as a formal way of dismissal.
Pads were introduced in 1836 as an optional accessory.
Six runs known as a sixer was introduced in 1910.
All white was the formal dress code and the first use of coloured uniforms was in 1979 between the West Indies and Australia who later on went to play the first day/match night in the same year.
In 2003, English counties started a new format of cricket consisting of 20 overs per inning (T20). Later adopted as a cricket format at international level.
A new form of cricket would be introduced in 2017 known as T10 (10 overs) but is still to make it as an international level.