Peculiarities of Test cricket
(i) A match can go on for five days and still end in a draw.
(ii) The length of the pitch is specified – 22 yards – but the size or shape of the ground is not.
(iii) Cricket was the earliest modern team sport to be codified
The first written ‘Laws of Cricket’ were drawn up in 1744
- present two umpires shall absolutely decide all disputes.
- the stumps must be 22 inches high and the bail across them six inches.
- The ball must be between 5 and 6 ounces, and the two sets of stumps 22 yards apart’.
World's first Cricket Club - Hambledon 1760's. Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) was founded in 1787.
1788, the MCC published its first revision of the laws and became the guardian of cricket’s regulations.
Changes in Cricket Laws (second half of the 18th century)
- it became common to pitch the ball through air
(i) bowler got the advantage of pace, spin and swing
(ii) batsman had to master timing and shot selection
- replacement of the curved bat with the straight one
- weight of the ball 5½ to 5¾ ounces
- width of the bat - four inches
- 1774, first leg-before-law was published
- third stump become common
- first six-seam cricket ball
Changes during the nineteenth century
- rule about wide balls
- exact circumference of the ball was specified
- protective equipment (pads and gloves)
- boundaries were introduced
Cricket's connection with a rural past
(i) can be seen in the length of a Test match. Originally, cricket matches had no time limit
(ii) Cricket’s vagueness about the size of a cricket ground is a result of its village origins
(iii) Cricket’s most important tools are all made of natural, pre-industrial materials
Cricket and Victorian England
Professionals / Players - Poor who played cricket for a living, had to do the energetic, hardworking aspects of the game like fast bowling.
Amateurs / Gentleman - who could afford to play cricket for pleasure, tended to be batsmen
Batsmen always have an advantage in Cricket -
(i) Rules were always made in favour of Gentlemen
(ii) Captain of the cricket team was traditionally a batsmen
"Battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton."
People of England believed
- Britain's military success was based on the values taught in schools like Eton
- here by the team sports, they were taught discipline, importance of hierarchy, skills, codes of honour, leadership qualities
- British believed that by ruling the colonies, there were civilizing them. Were not playing cricket for profit, but for the sake of the spirit of fair play.
In reality they won the war because of economic advantages and the contribution of industries and trade
The Spread of Cricket
(i) Cricket is played only in those countries which were once colony of England
(ii) Here playing cricket become a sign of superior social and racial status and the local people were discouraged from playing cricket.
Cricket in West Indies
- First non-white club in the West-Indies were established towards the end of the 19th century by light skinned mulattos
- Success at cricket became a measure of racial equality and political progress. They saw in the game a chance for self- respect and international standing. When the West Indies won its first Test series against England in 1950, it was celebrated as a national achievement
Two ironies to this great victory.
One, the West Indian team that won was captained by a white player. And two, the West Indies cricket team represented not one nation but several dominions
- The pan-West Indian team that represents the Caribbean region in international Test cricket is the only exception to a series of unsuccessful efforts to bring about West Indian unification.
Cricket, Race and Religion
- The first record we have of cricket being played in India is from 1721, an account of recreational cricket played by English sailors in Cambay. The first Indian club, the Calcutta Cricket Club, was established in 1792. Indians were considered to have no talent for the game and certainly not meant to play it. But they did.
- The first Indian community to start playing the game was the small community of Zoroastrians, the Parsis, who founded the first Indian cricket club, the Oriental Cricket Club in Bombay in 1848.
- The white cricket elite in India offered no help to the enthusiastic Parsis. In fact, there was a quarrel between the Bombay Gymkhana, a whites-only club, and Parsi cricketers over the use of a public park.
- A Parsi team beat the Bombay Gymkhana at cricket in 1889, just four years after the foundation of the Indian National Congress in 1885
Promotion of Communalism through Cricket in India
- By the 1890s, Hindus and Muslims were busy gathering funds and support for a Hindu Gymkhana and an Islam Gymkhana.
- Colonial officials regarded religious communities as separate nationalities. Applications (for establishing gymkhana) that used the communal categories favoured by the colonial state were more likely to be approved.
First-class cricket in India
- organised on communal and racial lines. The tournament was initially called the Quadrangular, because it was played by four teams: the Europeans, the Parsis, the Hindus and the Muslims. It later became the Pentangular when a fifth team was added, namely, the Rest, which comprised all the communities left over, such as the Indian Christians.
Criticism of Racial and Communal foundation of the Pentangular Tournament
- By the late 1930s and early 1940s, journalists (S.A.Brelvi), Radio commentator (A.F.S.Talyarkhan) and political leader M.Ghandhi had begun to criticize the racial and communal foundations of the Pentangular tournament.
- A rival first-class tournament on regional lines, the National Cricket Championship (later named the Ranji Trophy), was established but not until Independence did it properly replace the Pentangular.
The Modern Transformation of the Game
- Modern cricket is dominated by Tests and one-day internationals, played between national teams. The players who become famous, who live on in the memories of cricket’s public, are those who have played for their country.
- C.K.Nayadu played for India in its first Test matches against England starting in 1932, his place in India’s cricket history is assured because he was the country’s first Test captain
- India entered the world of Test cricket in 1932, this was possible because Test cricket from its origins in 1877 was organised as a contest between different parts of the British empire, not sovereign nations. The first Test was played between England and Australia.
Decolonisation and Sport
Even after the disappearance of the British empire, the regulation of international cricket remained the business of the Imperial Cricket Conference ICC. The ICC, renamed the International Cricket Conference as late as 1965, England and Australia retained the right of Vito till 1989.
Decolonisation was a process which led to the decline of English influence in many areas including sports.
The colonial flavour of world cricket during the 1950s and 1960s can be seen from the fact that England and the other white Commonwealth countries, Australia and New Zealand continued to play matches with South Africa. It was only with political pressure from countries of Asia and Africa (recently decolonised) combine with liberal feeling in Britain that forced the English cricket authorities to cancel a tour by South Africa in 1970.
Commerce, Media and Cricket Today
The 1970s were the decade in which cricket was transformed.
1971 saw the first one-day international being played between England and Australia in Melbourne.
First World Cup successfully staged in 1975
In 1977 the game was changed forever by an Australian television tycoon, Kerry Packer. He saw cricket as a money-making televised sport. He signed up 51 of the world's leading cricketers and for almost two years staged unofficial tests and One-day Internationals under the name of World Series Cricket. Packer drove home the point that cricket was a marketable game which could generate huge revenue.
Impact of Television Coverage on Cricket
Cricket Boards became rich by selling television rights to television companies
Continuous television coverage made cricketers celebrities.
Television coverage also expanded the audience and children became cricket fans. Multinational companies created a global market for cricket. This has shifted the balance of power in cricket. India has the largest viewership for the game and hence the game's centre of gravity shifted to South Asia. This shift was symbolised by the shifting of the ICC headquarters from London to tax-free Dubai.
Innovation in Cricket technique in recent years
The innovations in cricket have come from the practice of sub-continental teams in countries like India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka - doosra and the reverse swing are Pakistani innovations.
Initially were greeted with great suspicion by countries like Australia and Britain, but became part of the technique of all bowlers everywhere in the world
Today the amateur is replaced by the professional, one-day game has overshadowed test cricket.