Cricket in its historical perspective showed the origins of cricket are unclear, but English historians are quite adamant that it started in England around the 12th century. It is thought that the earliest form of the game was likely to have developed from what was called “bittle Battle” where dairymaids defended their milk stools with their “bottles” (wooden milk bowls).
The first bat was probably a branch of shepherd’s crook, and indeed the word cricket may well have developed from “cryce” which is an angel Saxon word meaning “shepherd’s staff”. The wickets were tree stumps (hence the word) and the balls were stones. A document in the Bodleian Library dated 1344 shows a nun holding a ball, while a monk waits to strike it. In the background are two monks and two nuns waiting to catch the ball. This illustration shows how cricket or a form of it, had spread to all quarters.,
The earliest written reference to cricket was in the early 3001s when an item in King Edward 1st wardrobe accounts recorded an item of his son’s cricket wear and also of Prince Edward playing “creagy”.
Later Edward IV outlawed “hands in and hands out as it was then called because it interfered with the mass’s archery practice, which was important to the country’s defense at that stage. The first definite reference to cricket was in 1598. It refers to one John Derwick “playing cricket (sic) whilst studying at the “Free School of Guildford. The sport though, was still under threat from politicians of the day, with Cromwell banning cricket on Lords Day, and also in Ireland, where all “sticks” and balls were to be burned by the hangman.
After the Restoration cricket began to return to favor, particularly with the aristocracy, many of whom began gambling on the game’s outcome. The first recorded game was in 1646 at Coxheath in Kent. It was during this period that matches became more common between the counties of Kent, Surrey, Sussex, and London, with the first county match between Kent and London in 1709. By this time royalty had again become keen on the game. Frederick, Prince of Wales was in fact president of the London club, which in 1744 drew up the first laws of cricket. Unfortunately, Frederick was killed due to his love of cricket, for in 1751 he was struck on the head by a ball and incurred an internal abscess.
At this stage, cricket was chiefly a country game, centered mainly around the Hambledon Club in Kent, which formed in 1767, but towards the end of the century the game moved to London, and in 1787 the White Conduit Club changed its name to the· Marylebone Cricket Club after one of the White Conduit members encouraged Thomas Lord who was a tenant of a public house in Marylebone Road to develop and manage a cricket ground.
After a number of sites were developed, he finally came upon the present site of Lords Cricket Ground in St. Johns Wood, London. The MCC soon became confident enough that it revised and published a new set of rules for cricket in 1816, thus establishing itself as the head of the cricket world, and making Lords its Mecca.
In 1846 William Clarke gathered together ”The Eleven of England” and set out on a tour of England with his professional cricketers. Clarke’s team would play wherever a purse was offered, wet or fine, and against whichever club offered. Other ”traveling cricketers” later started up, and two or three teams toured the country throughout the year. This gave rise not only to professionalism, but also gave young players such as W. G. Grace the chance to establish themselves in cricket, and perhaps the opportunity of also becoming professionals.
From England cricket spread to wherever the Union Jack was flown, growing most popular in South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, West Indies, India, and Pakistan. Regular tours between England and Australia were started in the mid-nineteenth century, both considering the other as the “Great Enemy”, contesting the famed Ashes. This was the state of cricket in England when the first settlers arrived in New Zealand.
Over-arm bowling had just been established as the accepted way to bowl, and England was soon to lose its first test match against a foreign side, and thus starting the Ashes series between England and Australia. Now regular test matches are held between six of the seven test-playing sides (the seventh is South Africa) and England and Australia find they are no longer the greatest teams in the world.