Q.1. Test cricket is a unique game in many ways. Discuss some of the ways in which it is different from other team games. How are the peculiarities of Test cricket shaped by its historical beginnings as a village game?
Ans: The two peculiarities of Test cricket are:
(i) That a match can go on for five days and still end in a draw. No other modern day team sport takes even half as much time to complete. Baseball completes nine innings in less than half the time that it takes to play a limited overs match.
(ii) That the length of the pitch is specified — 22 yards — but the size or shape of the ground is not. No dimensions of the playing area are mentioned for cricket.
The reason behind these oddities is that cricket was the earliest modern team sport to be codified. Cricket was a game before hockey and soccer and hence gave itself rules and regulations so that it could be played in a uniform and standardised manner.
Originally cricket matches had no time limits. This was because the rhythms of village life were slower and cricket rules were made before the Industrial Revolution. Modern factory labour was paid by hours and hence games had to be codified and time limited to fit the routines of industrial city life. When cricket originated, there were no such limits or restrictions.
Cricket was originally played on public property known as commons. The size of this land varied from one village to another, so there were no designated boundaries or boundary hits.
This brought about the second oddity of cricket.
If you look at the game’s equipment, you can see how cricket both changed with changing times and yet fundamentally remained true to its origins in rural England. 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 of leather, twine and cork.
Even today both bat and ball are hand-made, not industrially manufactured. The material of the bat changed slightly over time. Once it was cut of a single piece of wood. Now it consists of two pieces, the blade which is made out of the wood of the willow tree and the handle which is made out of cane that became available as European colonialists and trading companies established themselves in Asia. Unlike golf and tennis, cricket has refused to remake its tools with industrial or man-made materials: plastic, fibre glass and metal have been firmly rejected.
Q.2. Describe one way in which in the nineteenth century, technology brought about a change in equipment and give one example where no change in equipment took place.
Ans. As far as protective equipment in cricket is concerned, it has been influenced by technological change. The invention of the vulcanized rubber led to the introduction of pads in 1848 and protective gloves soon afterwards. Today’s cricket cannot be imagined without helmets made of metal and synthetic lightweight materials.
However, cricket’s most important tools are all made of natural, per-industrial material. The ball, for example, is still hand-made. It is made of leather, twine and cork. These balls are not industrially manufactured.
Q.3. Explain why cricket became popular in India and the West Indies.
Ans: Cricket was a colonial game limited to countries that had once been part of the British empire. It took root only in countries that the British conquered and ruled. The British imperial officers brought the game to the colonies where it was played either by them or by the local elites who wanted to copy the habits of their colonial masters as in India.
Despite the exclusiveness of the game it became popular in India and West Indies. Success in cricket became a measure of racial equality and political progress.
Q.4. Give brief explanations for the following:
(i) The Parsis were the first Indian community to set up a cricket club in India.
(ii) Mahatma Gandhi condemned the Pentangular tournament.
(iii) The name of the ICC was changed from the Imperial Cricket Conference to the International Cricket Conference.
(iv) The significance of the shift of the ICC headquarters from London to Dubai.
(i) The Parsis were the first Indian community to set up a cricket club in India, the Oriental Cricket Club in Bombay. This was as a consequence of the Parsi contact with the British. The Parsis were brought into close contact with the British because of their interest in trade and were the first Indian community to westernize.
(ii) Mahatma Gandhi condemned the Pentangular tournament as he felt that it was a divisive competition that went against the need of the hour. At a time when the nationalists were trying to unite India’s diverse population, the Pentangular tournament divided them on communal lines and the colonial government encouraged these divisions.
(iii) The name was changed because of decolonization. This was a process by which the British influence in many areas, one of them sports, declined. Cricket was no longer the monopoly of the imperial powers. Cricket was becoming international. 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 all bowlers, everywhere in the world.
(iv) The break-up of the British empire brought about a shift in the balance of power in cricket. This shift was taken to its logical conclusion by globalization. Since India had the largest viewership for cricket as compared to other cricket playing nations the shift was towards South Asia. The transfer of ICC headquarters from London to tax-free Dubai is a clear symbol of this shift.
Q.5. How have advances in technology, especially television technology, affected the development of contemporary cricket?
Ans: Advances in television technology have certainly affected the development of contemporary cricket.
(i) Cricket has become more attractive to television audiences, endured and changed the nature of the game. Cricket now became a marketable game.
(ii) Cricket boards sold television rights to television companies and reaped profits.
(iii) Television channels sold television spots to companies. They aired their commercials and advertised their commodities to a large number of audience. They made huge profits.
(iv) Continuous television coverage made cricketers celebrities.
(v) Cricketers became rich. They were paid by cricket boards and also by companies whose commercials they endorsed.
(vi) Cricket audience expanded. Cricket was taken to the smaller towns. Children also became cricket fans.
(vii) People could watch and learn by imitating their heroes.
(viii) Cricket entered the global market. A match at Melbourne could be watched at Mumbai.
(ix) Balance of power shifted to South Asia as most viewership was from here. ICC headquarters shifted from London to tax-free Dubai.