Cricket is one of the most popular sports of the world. Unlike football Cricket is not played by a lot of countries. Cricket, however still continues to be one the most viewed sports in the entire world.
This is possibly due to a colossal fan base in Indian sub continent. India and Pakistan are homes to ardent cricket lovers for whom it’s not just a sport but a ‘Religion’ . Cricket is also called as Gentlemen’s game. Let me as an impassioned cricket lover take you back to history of this wonderful game. Cricket was first played in southern England in the 16th century. By the end of the 18th century, it had developed to be the national sport of England. The expansion of the British Empire led to cricket being played overseas and by the mid-19th century the first international match was held. ICC, the game’s governing body, has 10 full members. Cricket is not only famous in England but followed passionately in Australia, India, Pakistan, New Zealand, Sri lanka, South Africa, West Indies, Bangladesh. These countries were British colonies earlier so cricket gain a lot of popularity here. However countries like Afghanistan, Netherlands, Scotland, Ireland, Nepal, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Canada which are often referred to as ‘Minnows’ are also emerging as tough competitors at International Arena. Cricket has its own governing body ICC which takes care of cricketing events taking place across the globe. Now I’ll succinctly introduce you to the subtle nuances of game. Readers are requested not to get perplexed! Because many of you may find it similar to Baseball which is also an immensely popular sport. Let’s understand the basics about the play ground where cricket is played. The ground is usually oval and there is a rectangular 22 yards patch called as ‘Pitch’. There are several positions marked on as in numbers where 11 players of one of the two teams field. Two batsmen from the opposite side bat on this pitch. Cricket is played in overs where each bowler has 6 balls to bowl to batsman and his task for batsman is simple -‘Just hit the ball but not directly into the hands of any of the 11 players otherwise he is signaled OUT by the umpire who stands at bowling end of pitch.
The above diagrams show a cricket ground and Melbourne Cricket Ground or MCG. Since the game is all about bowling and batting and fielding , it is necessary to understand is what they are exactly playing for! They play for ‘Runs’. In cricket if a batsman plays a bowl he can run on the fringe of pitch along with his partner, both running in opposite direction to take a run so that they cross each other every time they take one ‘RUN’. Similarly they can take two runs or three runs. However if your technique as a batsman are adroit you can manoeuvre the ball on to the fence and get Four Runs and if you could hit over the boundary rope with fielders staring at the ball going over them! Then you get Six runs! So isn’t it simple, the more the number of runs you score the more is the target for opponent. Today we have three entirely different formats in Cricket: T20, One Day Internationals and Test cricket. The former are relatively new in the realm but Test cricket is still played for 5 days in broad sunlight and both the teams get 2 innings (chances to bat) and the one who scores more either defeats the rival by certain numbers of wickets in hand if they chase down the total or by runs if rival falls short of achieving the total. The ASHES is a historic sporting event that marks clash of two cricketing giants Australia and England alternatively on their home grounds. This is considered to be the most yearned moments for an avid cricket fan.
Nowadays we have T20 cricket which is just played for 3 hrs where each side bowls 20 overs each and score as much runs as possible. One days are of 50 overs and they usually last for 8 hours. There are many ways in which a batsman can get out in cricket like a bowler hits the stumps guarded by batsman while facing the delivery or by mishitting the ball and it goes straight into the hands of fielders. A batsman can get run out if the Wicket keeper (the guy who stands behind the wickets to collect the bowl) dislodges the bails before batsman makes his ground. Just look at the picture below it will give you a better insight of accessories used in cricket.
Cricket has produced some of the greatest players. Great players like Don Bradman, Richard Headley, Jonty Rhodes, Gary sobers, Courtney Walsh, Malcolm Marshall in early 80s and 90s and now some great players like Sachin Tendulkar, Shane Warne, Ricky Ponting, Rahul Dravid , Wasim Akram, Brett Lee, Brandon Mccallum, Chris Gayle etc are some scintillating sporting figures in cricketing world. Being an Indian, I am an avid admirer of MS Dhoni who has brought ICC World Cup back to India after 21 years before this Kapil Dev and his team won it for first time in Indian cricketing history. West Indies has won 3 world cups, Australia has won 4 and Pakistan and Sri Lanka have each won one. Today Cricket is not only a big sport but also a brand when it comes to big money making leagues like PEPSI IPL and KFC Big Bash which provide an opportunity for talented cricketers to showcase their batting, bowling and fielding abilities to pave their way for national teams! India is certainly considered the power house of cricket where there is ample opportunities for both players and investors because of a prodigious fan following of this game in here. Slowly but steadily Cricket is gaining popularity in other parts of world.
With many of my friends who didn’t know about this amazing game I reckon that my article might have intrigued you and guys 2015 Cricket World Cup is going to take place in Australia and New Zealand!
So if you are still mesmerised by Football fever get ready for 2015 because you are going to be captivated by extravaganza of Cricket.