History & Sports:The Story of Cricket
THE MPORTANCE OF CRICKET IN THE MODERN TIMES
Cricket as a sport has one of the largest followings in the world. Anyone who knows to speak the word ‘Cricket’ can assume himself to be an expert in the game.
(i) It is the most widely played game, especially in the former Commonwealth countries. Its range includes from Gully- Mohalla cricket to international test matches.
(ii) It is the biggest source of entertainment, not only for thousands and thousands of the spectators at the playing grounds but also other millions who watch a ball-by-ball progress on TV sets, etc.
(iii) Every single ball generates passion.
(iv) It is one way in which people compete with each other, stay fit and express their social loyalties.
(v) Cricket matches are organized to establish friendship between Nations; cricketers are seen as ambassadors of the country.
(vi) Cricket has come to represent the unity of the country.
(vii) Cricket has emerged as the biggest commercial venture; it is a whole big industry which generates jobs and income on a large scale.
(a) Invention of Cricket and its spread:
(i) Cricket was invented in Southeastern England in the 19th century. The Britishers took the game to all those places where they went, i.e., to their colonies in Asia and Africa. This is now cricket became a popular game in the former colonies of Great Britain.
(ii) After these colonies gained independence from their former rulers, they were organized in want came to be known as the Commonwealth. The game of cricket, therefore, is limited to the members of the Commonwealth. Important cricket playing countries are India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Australia, New Zealand, England, West Indies, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Kenya.
Cricket had been invented in England; it became intimately linked to the culture of the 19th century Victorian society. The game was expected to represent all that the Englishmen were supposed to value and respect, i.e.,
(i) Fair play,
(ii) Discipline, and
It was in this spirit that game was played till recent times, before commercialization took over the game. With commercialization, money has become the ruling deity of game.
THE PECULIARITIEST CRICKET
Modern cricket has different varieties; among these the two important ones are:
(i) Test matches, and
(ii) one-day matches. Test matches are played over a longer period often (five days presently), whereas a one-day match is restricted to a limited of overs that each side is to bowl to other side. Originally, cricket developed in the form of test matches.
(a) There were certain features of this game that made it different then other games:
(i) Test matches were open-ended games. There was no time defined. they would go on till the result was decided (presently a test match is a five day game, if no result is achieved in five days it is declared a drawn game). There is no other game with such a larger time span.
(ii) In cricket, the length of the pitch is specified-22 yard-but the size or shape of the ground is not defined. This is not so any other game.
(iii) In cricket, all important tools are made of natural materials, unlike golf and tennis where man-made materials are used.
(iv) In cricket, a player is a member of a team. he plays for the team and not for individual laurels.
(b)Peculiarities of cricket are shaped by its historical beginnings as a village game:
One, cricket’s rules were made before the industrial Revolution. The rhythms of village life were slower. A match could go on and on till was decided. Games that were codified after the Industrial Revolution were strictly time-limited to fit the routines of industrial city life.
Two, cricket was originally played on common lands in the countryside. The size of the common lands varied from village, and region to region. Therefore, it was left open to decide the boundaries of the ground in the area in which the match was being played.
There, unlike other games cricket’s most important tools are all made of natural, pre-industrial materials. The bat is made of wood as are the stumps and the bails. The ball is made with leather twine and cork.
In the matter of protective equipment has been influenced by technological change. The invention of vulcanized rubber led to the introduction of pads in 1848. Protective gloves were introduced soon thereafter. Helmets made out of metal and synthetic lightweight materials became an important part of protective equipment.but technological change did not materially alter the essence of the basic tools of the game, viz.,
(iii) Bails, and
(iv) Ball. These continue to be made out of natural materials.
LAWS OF CRICKET
(a) The first written ‘Laws of Cricket’:
The first written ‘Laws of Cricket’ were drawn up in 1744. They stated, the principals shall choose from amongst the gentlemen present two umpires who 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. There were no limits on the shape or size of the bat.
(b) Major changes that took amine to the game of cricket during the 1760s and 1770s:
During the 1760s and 1770s many changes took place in the game of cricket. it became common to pitch the ball through the air, rather then roll it along the ground . This change gave bowlers the options of length, deception through the air, plus increased pace. It also opened new possibilities for spin and swing. In responses, batsmen had to master timing and shot selection. One immediate result was th replacement of the curved bat with the straight one. All of this raised the premium on skill and reduced the influence of rough ground brute force.
(i) The weight of the ball was limited to between 5*1/2 to 5*3/4 ounces, and the width of the bat to four inches. The latter ruling followed an inning by a batsman who appeared with a bat as wide as the wicked.
(ii) In 1774, the first leg-before law was published.
(iii) A third stump became common.
(iv) By 1780, three days had become the length of a major match, and this year also saw the creation of the first six-seam cricket ball.
(c) Important changes that occurred in the game of cricket during the 19 th century:
During the 19 th century the important changes that occurred in the game of cricket can be briefly stated as follows:
(i) The rule about wide ball was applied.
(ii) The exact circumference of the ball was specified.
(iii) Protective equipment like pads and gloves became available.
(iv) Boundaries were introduced; earlier all runs were scored by running between the stumps. over am bowling became legal.
CRICKET AND VICTORIAN ENGLAND
The organization of cricket in England reflected the nature of English society.
The players were divided into two groups: (A) Professionals and (B) Amateurs.
(i) Those persons who played cricket for a living were called professionals.
The wages of professionals were paid by patronage or subscription or gate money. the game was seasonal and did not offer employment the year round.
Most professionals worked as miners or, in other forms of working class employment in winter, the off-season.
(ii) The rich who could afford to play for pleasure were called amateurs and the poor who played it for a living were called professionals.
(a) The rich were amateurs for two reasons:
One, they considered sport a kind of leisure. To play for the pleasure of playing and not for money was an aristocratic value. Two, there was not enough money in the game for the rich to be interested.
(i) The social superiority of amateurs was built the customs of cricket. Amateurs were called Gentlemen while professionals had to be content with being described as Players.
(ii) They entered the ground from different entrances.
(iii) Amateurs tended to be batsmen, leaving the energetic, hardworking aspects of the game, like fast bowling, to the professionals. That is partly why the rules of the game always give the benefit of the doubt to the batsman.
(b) Cricket a batsman’s game:
Cricket is a batsman’s game because its rules were made to favour ‘Gentlemen’, who did most of the batting. The social superiority of the amateur was also the captain of a cricket team was traditionally a batsman: not because batsmen were naturally better captains but because they were generally Gentlemen. Captains of teams, whether club teams or national sides, were always amateurs. It was not till the 1930s that the English Test team was led by a professional, the Yorkshire batsman, Len Hutton.
(c) “Battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton”:
In actual fact the Napoleonic wars were won because of the economic contribution of the iron works of Scotland and Wales, the milis of Lancashire and the financial houses of the City of London. it was the English lead in trade and industry that made Britain the world’s greatest power, but it suited the English ruling class to believe that it was the superior character of its young men, built in boarding schools , like Eton, playing gentlemanly games like cricket , that tipped the balance.
THE SPREFAD OF CRICKET
(i) In colonies, cricket was established as a popular sport either by white settlers (as in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Australia, New Zealand, the West Indies and Kenya) or by local elites who wanted to copy the habits of their colonial masters, as in India.
(ii) While British imperial officials brought the game to the colonies, they made little effort to spread the game, especially in colonial territories.
(iii) Playing cricket became a sign of superior social and racial status, and the Afro-Caribbean population was discouraged from participating in organised club cricket, which remained dominated by white plantation owners and their servants.
(iv) The first non-white club in the West Indies was established towards the end of the nineteenth century, and even in this case its members were light-skinned mulattos.
(v) Despite the exclusiveness of the cricket elite in the Wheat Indies, the game became hugely popular in the Caribbean.
(vi) At the time of their independence many of the political leaders of Caribbean countries like Forbes Burnham and Eric Williams saw in the game a chance for salt-respect and international standing.
(vii) When the West Indies won its first Test series against England in 1950s , it was celebrated as a national achievement , as a way of demonstrating that West Indians were the equals of white Englishmen.
(viii) The first time a black pack led the West Indies Test team was in 1960 when Frank Worrell was named captain.
(ix) Through the early history of Indian first class cricket, teams were not organized on geographical principles and it was not till 1932 that a national tern was given the right to represent India in a Test match.
(a) Cricket, Race and Religion:
(i) Cricket in colonial India was organised on the principle of race and religion. The first record we have of cricket being played in India is from 1721. The first Indian club, the Calcutta Cricket Club was established in 1792. Through the eighteenth century cricket in India was almost wholly a sport played by British military men and civil servants in all-white clubs and gymkhanas. Indians were considered to have no talent for the game and certainly not meant to play it. But they did.
(ii) The origins of India cricket, that is, cricket played by Indian are to be found in Bombay and the first Indian community to start playing the game was the small community of Zoroastrians, the Parsis .the Parsis 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 white-only club, and Paris cricketers over the use of a public park. When it became clear that the colonial authorities were prejudiced in favour of their white compatriots, the Parsis built own gymkhana to play cricket in. a Parsis team beat the Bombay Gymkhana at cricket in 1889, just four years after the foundation of the Indian National Congress in 1885.
(iii) By the 1890s, Hindus and Muslims were buys gathering funds and support for a Hindu Gymkhana and an Islam Gymkhana. In the late nineteenth century, many Indian institutions and movements were organised around the idea of religious community because the colonial state encouraged these division and was quick to recognise communal institutions. Applications that used the communal categories favoured by the colonial state were likely to be approved.
(iv) This history of gymkhana cricket led to first-class cricket being organised on communal and racial lines. The toumament was initially called Quadrangular, because it was played by four teams: the Europeans, the Parsis, the Hindu and the Muslims. It later became the Pent angular when a fifth team was added, namely, the Rest, which comprised all the communitles left over, such as the Indian Christians.
(v) By the late 1930s and early 1940s, journalists, cricketers and political leaders had begun to criticize the racial and communal foundations of the Pent angular torment. They condemned the Pent angular as a communally divisive competition that was out of place in a time when nationalists were trying to unite India’s diverse population. a rive 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 Pent angular . Pent angular was a colonial toumament and it died with the Raj.
(b)Mahatma Gandhi’s views on cricket.
Mahatma Gandhi believed that sport was essential for creating a balance between the body and the mind. However, he often emphasized that games like cricket and hockey were imported into India by the British and were replacing traditional games. Suck games as cricket, hockey, football and tennis were for the privileged, he belived. They showed a colonial mindset and were a less active education then the simple exercise of those who worked on the land.
THE MODERN TRANSFORMATION
(i) Modern cricket is dominated by Tests and one day internationals, played between national teams.
(ii) The players Indian fans remember from the ear of the Pent angular and the quadrangular are those who were fortunate enough to play Test cricket.
(iii) C.K.Nayudu, an outstanding Indian batsman of his time, lives on in the popular imagination when some of his great contemporaries like Palwanker Vithal and Palwanker Baloo have forgotten because his career lasted long enough for him to play Test cricket for India while theirs did not.
(iv) Nayudu has past his cricketing prime when he 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.
(v) Indica entered the world of Test cricket in 1932s,a decade and a half before it became an independent nation. This was possible because Test cricket from its origins 1877 was organised as a contest between different parts of the British empire, not sovereign nations.
(vi) The first Test was played between England and Australia when Australia was still a white settler colony, not even a self-governing dominion.
(a) The name of ICC was changed from the Imperial Cricket Conference to the International Cricket Conference:
The imperial Cricket Conference was responsible for the regulation of the game of cricket throughout the world. it was dominated by two nations , England and Australia. they had the veto rights.
With the disappearance of the British empire, the organization of world cricket was also undergoing a change. Two major changes suggestive of decolonization and deimperialism were:
(i) The name of Imperial Cricket Conference was changed into the international Cricket Conference.
(ii) The veto right were abolished. Equal membership was introduced.
The significance of the shift of the ICC headquarters from London to Dubai.
The shift the ICC headquarters from London to Dubai signified that the balance of power in cricket was shifting from ex-colonial power and white men to South Asis, who have come to dominate the world cricket.
(b) The impact of decolonization on cricket:
Cricket had developed as a game in colonial countries. It spread to those countries where the colonial rulers went. In course of time, colonies began to produce better played of cricket then were available with the colonial power themselves. But the colonial powers could successfully curb the growth of such talent.
With decolonization, all such restriction s on the growth of cricket stood removed. Some significant changes began to take place in the organization of cricket:
(i) The name of the Imperial Cricket Conference was changed into the Intemational Cricket Conference.
(ii) The headquarters of the ICC were shifted from London to Dubai.
(iii) Veto right of England and Australia in ICC were removed . all members got equal rights.
(iv) England had to boycott South Africa who did not permit non-white players to represent their country.
(v) It came to be accepted that the laws of cricket could not continue to be framed for British or Australian conditions of play. The techniques of ‘doosra’ and ‘reverse swing’ evolved by the Asian bowlers to suit their conditions, came to be accepted and endorsed.
COMMERUES MEDIA AND CRICKET TODY
Advances in technology had a dramatic effect on the game of cricket .on-field, the concept of ‘Third Umpire’ was put in practice. a number of major decisions on field could be referred to him as he had the benefit of replays of every event from all possible angles. stumps carried cameras; umpires could talk direct to the ground staff and others from their radios. score – boards became more functional and informative.off-field, organization of matches became much more convenient with easy free flow required information. with the advent of television , cricket became a marketable game which could generate huge revenues.
(i) Cricket boards became rich by selling television rights to television companies.
(ii) Television channels made money by selling television spots to companies who were happy to pay large sums of money to air commercial for their products to cricket’s captive television audience.
(iii) Continuous television coverage made cricketers celebrities who, besides being paid better by their cricket boards, now made even large sums of money by making commercials for a wide range of products , from tyres to colas, on television.
(iv Television coverage expanded the audience for the game by beaming cricket into small towns and villages.
(v) It also broadened cricket’s social base. Children who had never previously had the chance to watch international cricket because they lived outside the big cities, where top-level cricket was played, could now watch and learn by imitating their heroes.
(vi) The technology of satellite television and the world wide reach of multinational television companies created a global market for cricket.
Contribution of Kerry Packer in development of cricket
Kerry Packer was an Australian television tycoon. He saw the money-making potential of cricket as a television sport. He introduced ‘World Series Cricket’. He signed up fifty-one of the world’s leading cricketers against the wishes of the national cricket boards and for about two years staged unofficial Tests One-Day internationals. The innovations he introduced during this time to make cricket more attractive to television audiences endured and changed the nature of the game.
Coloured dress, protective helmets, filed restrictions, cricket under lights, became a standers part of the post-Packer game. Crucially, Packer drove home the lesson that cricket was a marketable game, which could generate huge revenues.
(a) The centre of gravity in cricket has shitted away from the old:
(i) A more impotent sign that the centre of gravity in cricket has shifted away from the old, Anglo-Australian axis is that innovations in cricket technique in recent years have mainly come from the proactive of sub continental terns in countries like India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
(ii) Pakistan has pioneered two great advances in bowling: the doosra and the; rivers swing’.
(iii) Initially, both innovations were greeted with great suspicion by countries like Britain and Australia which saw them as an underhanded, illegal bending of the laws of cricket.
(iv) In time, it came to be accepted that the laws of cricket could not continue to be framed for British or Australian conditions of play, and they became part of the technique of ll bowlers, everywhere in the world.
(v) Today, the global marketplace has made Indian players the best-paid, most famous cricketers in the game, men for whom the world is a stage