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Cricket

A cricket match in progress. The bowler launches the ball towards the stumps and the batter prepares to hit the ball. His partner...Read More >>A cricket match in progress. The bowler launches the ball towards the stumps and the batter prepares to hit the ball. His partner waits to see whether they will attempt a run from one end of the pitch to the other. The fielders look on, ready to stop the ball or take a catch. The wicketkeeper crouches behind the stumps (bottom left). One of two umpires stands behind the stumps at the bowler's end. Cricket is a bat and ball sport played on a grass field between two teams of 11 players. Batters score points, called runs, by running between two sets of small wooden posts called wickets. The aim of the game is to score more runs than the opposing team. Matches can last between one and five days. The most famous regular contest is the Ashes, contested between England and Australia. Cricket is played by both men and women, although not in mixed teams. The referees are called umpires.


An 1817 illustration of cricket being played in Geneva, Switzerland

History

Early versions of cricket were games when a player used a club to hit a small piece of wood or a ball. The first evidence of it being played is from about 1550 at the Royal Grammar School in Guildford, Surrey, England. The laws of cricket were set down in 1788 by the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), which still revises them from time to time. Having been invented in Britain, the game became especially popular in the territories that once formed the British Empire, and which are now Commonwealth countries. Test matches between countries have been held since 1877, with one-day internationals dating from 1972.

Jasper Vinall was the first man recorded to have been killed playing cricket. He was struck by a bat as he went for a catch in 1624 in Horsted Keynes, West Sussex, England.

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