Cricket is by far the most popular sport in India, and it is played practically everywhere. In India, cricket is an integral part of the culture. Top players are regarded as national celebrities, with frequent appearances in the media and marketing. The Indian and Pakistani teams have a long-standing rivalry, and India-Pakistan matches are among the country's most eagerly anticipated and widely viewed sporting events. But how did a game, originated from a small village in England, become played in large stadiums? How did this game become the passion of the Indian sub-continent? What is the history of cricket? All these questions have fascinating answers. So without any further due, let's dive right into it.
The origin of cricket lies somewhere in the dark ages. But all research concedes that the game derived from an ancient, widespread, and uncomplicated past time where one player served an object, be it a small piece of wood or a ball, and then another hit it with a suitably fashioned club.
This English game originated in the sheep-raising country of the southeast, where the short grass and the pastures made it possible to bowl. In the household records of King Edward I in the year 1300, there is mention of a game similar to cricket being played in Kent.
The earliest types of cricket bats were much like hockey sticks. By the 18th century, the bat developed into a heavier, more extended, and curved version of our modern bat. In ancient cricket, the balls made of rag or wood were commonly used, but now, cricket balls are traditionally red.
White balls were added when matches began to be played at night under floodlights because they are more visible at night. Even if the game is not played at night, all professional one-day matches are played with white balls.
If we talk about the detailed history of cricket, then cricket was the first game ever to establish its own rules. The first written rules of cricket were created in 1744. The authorities say that "The principals/captains shall select two umpires from among the gentlemen present to adjudicate all disagreements." The stumps must be twenty-two inches tall, with a six-inch bail across them. The ball must weigh between 5 and 6 ounces, and the two sets of stumps must be spaced 22 yards apart." The shape and size of the bat were unrestricted. Due to the bowlers bowling swiftly at shins unprotected by pads, it appears that 40 notches were regarded as a very high score. In the 1760s, Hambledon organized the world's first cricket club, and the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) was founded in 1787.
The first leg before the legislation was published in 1774. The bat's breadth was limited to four inches, while the ball's weight was regulated to between five and a half and five and three-quarter ounces. Following an inning by a hitter known as "Shock" White, who came with a bat the width of the wicket, the latter decision was made. A third stump became prevalent around the same time.
By 1780, a significant match lasted three days, and the year also witnessed the invention of the first six-seam cricket ball. The MCC issued its first amendment of the laws in 1788, which prohibited charging down an opponent and allowed for the mowing and covering of the wicket to help keep things fair.
The demand for uniformity reflected the game's rapid growth in popularity during the eighteenth century. One hundred and fifty cricket matches were reported in the newspapers during the time between 1730 and 1740. Between 1750 and 1760, this number increased to 230, and between 1770 and 1790, it reached over 500.
By this time, cricket became so popular that people used to go and play cricket instead of going to church on Sundays.
Now cricket was being called the sport of gentlemen. But here, the definition of gentlemen was utterly wrong. Cricket got divided into two parts- one for the professional poor people called "players" and the other for the rich people who played cricket just for fun called "gentlemen."
The gentlemen were always put on the top, and the players were looked down. The team captain was also chosen among gentlemen only. But the table turned when, in 1930, a professional player named Len Hutton became the captain of the England cricket team for the first time. From that time onwards, cricket grew up as the game of professional players.
The British people spread the cricket empire to every country they once ruled. India is no other exception. The early roots of cricket in India were spotted in 1721. British officers used to play cricket in India.
Earlier, Indians were looked down on, and it was considered that cricket isn't made for Indians and they can't play well (World Cup 1983 smiles from corner). The East India Company's presence and development during the British Raj are crucial to cricket history in India and the subcontinent.
The first-ever Indian cricket club was established in 1792 and was named Calcutta Club. The teams were based on ethnicity. There used to be a Quadrangular tournament among Hindus, Muslims, Parsi, and Europeans.
The Partition of India following complete independence from the British Raj in 1947 was an important and defining event in the history of Indian cricket during this period.
The Bombay Quadrangular event, a focal point of Indian cricket for nearly 50 years, was one of the first casualties of change. Teams based on ethnicity had no place in the new India. As a result, the Ranji Trophy established itself as the national title.
India produced many renowned players in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, notably Sachin Tendulkar and Kapil Dev, who are considered the best in the sport's history.
The IPL, which has been contested every year since its creation, runs from March to May and pits eight teams against one another in a league system to determine who goes to the playoffs and ultimately the final.
Though the tournament's founding is estimated to have cost roughly $400 million, its concentration on franchises and ability to attract the finest players in the sport has seen its value rise to billions in recent years.
The IPL is now broadcast worldwide and is usually recognized as the highest-quality domestic cricket league available. Its success compliments Indian cricket, demonstrating how much the country loves and cherishes the game, with more advancement in the works.
The history of the cricket game is overwhelming. It is way more overwhelming that because of India's massive population and sub-continent marketplace, it is now the world's second-largest athletic event, second only to the Olympics. It will be interesting to observe how it develops; whether it consumes itself with overkill or continues to be the most significant growth area in cricket in the twenty-first century will be determined by time.