Cricket is one of the oldest and most popular games in the world, and it shows no sign of slowing down. It’s currently accepted as the second most popular in the world today, and it’s quickly spreading into new countries and cultures. As cricket continues its rise, many new viewers and players are looking to understand more about this amazing sport. So here’s just about everything you need to know about the game of cricket!
History of Cricket
It’s widely accepted that cricket started as a game for young children in South Eastern England sometime during the Medieval Age. While there are some claims it could be even earlier, the first recorded documentation of cricket dates back to 1598 in Guildford, England. Eventually, as the game grew – adults began to join in on the fun. Soon there were clubs formed for towns and villages, and they began playing each other for glory!
Eventually, the upper class took note of cricket and began using it as a mechanism for gambling. This quickly led to government action, and the forming of the first professional cricket teams – who were paid for their play. The 18th and 19th centuries saw a massive boom in the sport, and came along with a few technique changes, but by the end Cricket had become England’s national sport.
As the English Empire spread through this time, so did cricket! Many English colonies and territories picked up the game and made it integral to their cultural fabric. You can see this reflected even today in countries such as India, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan, Australia, and more! The first international match was held in 1844, and the rest is history. Cricket was on a trajectory to spread like wildfire – and that it did.
Basic Rules of Cricket
Cricket may seem complicated on first watch, especially in regards to scoring – but it is a relatively simple concept, not dissimilar to American baseball. Two teams flip a coin to decide the order, then proceed to take turns alternating Batting or Fielding. While batting, two members of the same team will attempt to contact the ball with the bat, so they can score runs – which you need to win.
On the opposite team, there is a bowler who is hurling the ball towards the batsman and wicket. They’re attempting to get the ball past the batter and hit the wicket, while the batsman swings. Also spread around the pitch are fielders, on the bowlers team, who are trying to grab hit balls for outs – or throw the ball at the wicket while the other team is running.
There are a fair amount of other rules that vary from competition to competition, but this general explanation will allow just about any viewer to understand what is happening in a cricket match!
While there are some domestic leagues in countries that love cricket, it is dominated by international competition. The International Cricket Council is the governing body, and has put together a number of international tournaments including the ICC Cricket World Cup, ICC World Test Championship, ICC CWC Super League, and more! There are also a number of international competitions with varying formats such as the ICC T20 World Cup, where a shortened version of the game is played.
It is also common for Test Series to be played between rival cricketing nations such as The Ashes, played between England and Australia every two years. Another famed international cricket rivalry is India vs Pakistan, which racks up around 150+ million viewers whenever they play!
Are There Women’s Cricket Leagues?
The game of cricket isn’t just for men! There are international and domestic opportunities for the best cricketing women in the world across many countries as well. The biggest competition in the Women’s Cricketing World remains the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup, held every four years – offsetting the men’s World Cup! The ICC also has their standard variants for Women’s Cricket such as the Women’s T20 World Cup, and even a U19 Women’s T20 World Cup for young women around the league. As cricket continues to grow in popularity as a game, women cricketers will continue to lead the way!
Are There Professional Cricket Leagues?
Absolutely! International cricket tends to command a lot of the world’s attention, but there are quite a few domestic cricket leagues in countries across the world. Some of the biggest domestic leagues include the Indian Premier League, the Australian Big Bash League, the Caribbean Premier League, Pakistan Super League, and English Vitality Blast League.
Many of the world’s cricketing stars call these leagues home, while their home country isn’t away competing in international cricket! With cricket’s upward trajectory, it is very possible to see the amount of domestic leagues expand rapidly in cricketing countries all over!
What Countries Are Cricket Popular In Today?
Due to the story of cricket being very tied to England and the spread of the English Empire, there are a huge number of countries across the world where cricket is an important cultural touchstone. Some countries with huge cricketing cultures include England, India, Pakistan, New Zealand, South Africa, the Caribbean, Australia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, United Arab Emirates, and more! The game of cricket is quickly spreading to new areas and seeing its popularity rise worldwide!
Is Cricket In The Olympics?
Cricket has only ever been included in the Olympics one time, way back during the 1900 Paris Games. It hasn’t been included due to the massive success of so many other international cricket events such as the ICC Cricket World Cup, ICC T20 World Cup, and more. However, it was announced in October of 2023 that cricket will be making its triumphant return to the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics, after an absence of more than 100 years! Viewers of the Olympics will have the chance to watch cricket being played during the most storied international competition of all time! Cricket being played on such a large stage is sure to continue its meteoric rise, and is sure to be a thrill!
How To Watch Live Cricket
Cricket is such an amazing sport to play, as it fosters community, team work, great health, and much more! If you’re looking to dive into the world of cricket, you may want to watch a live match or two. In the United States there’s an easy option for all the cricket matches, coverage, and pro analysis you could want – the Willow Cricket Channel on DISH Network. It’s the United States only 24/7 cricket channel, and comes with 2 included channels – Willow Cricket and Willow XTRA, which even shows some Hindi language content! Willow Cricket shows international matches from the ICC Cricket World Cup, ICC T20 Cricket World Cup, and tons of other international competitions, as well as domestic leagues such as the Indian Premier League, Pakistani Super League, Australian Big Bash League and more!
U.S. viewers looking for the best cricket coverage possible should definitely check out Willow Cricket on DISH Network today!