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Is not mentioned in James I's Book of Sports (1617) but was certainly well developed before the end of the century. An eleven‐a‐side match for 50 guineas was played in Sussex in 1697 and in 1709 Kent played Surrey at Dartford. Bowling was underarm and the bat was a heavy curved club. In 1744 there was an attempt to formulate agreed rules and the same year an All England XI played the men of Kent at the Artillery Ground, Finsbury. A meeting at the Star and Garter in 1774 drew up new rules, with 22‐yard pitches, 4‐ball overs, stumping, and no‐balling: ‘the wicket‐keeper should not by any noise incommode the striker.’ In 1787 Thomas Lord opened his new ground at Marylebone and in 1788 the Marylebone Cricket Club issued revised rules, prohibiting any attempt to impede a fielder while making a catch. The club moved to its present ground in 1814.

The most important change in the rules in the 19th cent. was the introduction of overarm bowling in 1864 after vehement controversy. The Gentlemen v. Players match was first held in 1806 and was annual after 1819; Oxford v. Cambridge dates from 1827. By 1864 enough cricket was being played for John Wisden, himself a celebrated bowler, to launch his Cricketers' Almanack. The first test match was played at Melbourne in 1877, when Australia won, and when they won again at the Oval in 1882, the Sporting Times declared that the ashes of English cricket would be taken to Australia. Though county teams competed from early days, the county championship did not start until 1889, and was dominated in its early years by Nottinghamshire, Surrey, Yorkshire, and Lancashire. Gloucestershire, for whom the great W. G. Grace played, had been strong in the 1870s. Grace, probably the best known of all Victorian figures, gave cricket a national following.

The two main developments of 20th‐cent. cricket were the spread of international competition, as the West Indies, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and others came in to join England, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, and the introduction after the Second World War of limited‐over cricket at the highest level. Limited‐over cricket was not quite the innovation sometimes suggested, since village, club, and northern league cricket had always been played on that basis. It was made necessary because gate money could no longer support the traditional county championship in the face of alternative leisure attractions.

Subjects: Regional and National History.


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