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Where does the Game Cricket Come from?

By Kathy Hawkins
Updated May 23, 2024
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The game of cricket goes back to at least the 13th century, though it is possibly even older. It was likely first played by farmers' and metalworkers' children in England's Weald, near Sussex and Kent. The first variation of the name appeared in 1598, with a court case referring to a game called krekett being played at an English school. From that point, the game grew to become an immensely popular sport throughout England.

At that time, people began to form tournaments, such as the "great cricket match" in Sussex in 1697. In the 18th century, it was named the official sport of England and was the favored leisure activity of the privileged class. In the 1760s, the Hambledon Club in London was the center of much of the country's cricket activity.

Though there were many matches within England, the game was not played internationally until 1859, when an English team traveled to North America for a match. An English team traveled to Australia 18 years later to play against an Australian team in Melbourne. The first Australian team to play in England was made up of Australian aborigines, which was a groundbreaking event, both for the native Australian community and for the world of cricket.

The game continued to gain widespread popularity throughout the 20th century, with the introduction of One Day International matches in 1971. Today, cricket is one of the most widespread games in the world. It is extremely popular in England and Australia, as well as other countries, including Pakistan, Kenya, Sri Lanka, and India. The game never really gained popularity in the United States, however, which has no official team.

In many countries, the game is played by state and national teams, but it is also a very popular sport for children and families to play casually. Other variations of the sport include indoor cricket, in which a net is used, and a faster version that originated in New Zealand, called Kiwi cricket.

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Discussion Comments
By jholcomb — On Apr 26, 2012

@Denha - I think the only way to really learn about a sport is to watch it. It's not on TV here much (to state the obvious) but a few major world games do get airplay, especially if you have satellite or digital cable with a top-tier sports package. You might be able to catch an occasional live cricket match, or at least one on tape delay.

You might also try looking online. Sometimes you can get subscriptions to watch games for a particular sports league online; cricket might have something like that. Or international sports websites might at least have highlight videos you can watch.

By stolaf23 — On Jan 12, 2011

@Denha, me too. If I am ever in the United Kingdom, Australia, or any other place where the game is highly popular, I would love to attend a live cricket match. While I would probably not understand any of it, it looks so fun that I am sure it would be great to watch.

By Denha — On Jan 11, 2011

Unfortunately, people in the United States generally have no idea how to play cricket, or even how to understand the game while it is played. I have always wanted to learn, but there is just no real resource in the US from which to really learn.

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