Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of eleven players on a field at the centre of, a 20-metre pitch with a wicket at each end, each comprising two bails balanced on three stumps. The batting side scores runs by striking the ball bowled at the wicket with the bat, while the bowling and fielding side tries to prevent this and dismiss each player. Means of dismissal include being bowled, when the ball hits the stumps and dislodges the bails, by the fielding side catching the ball after it is hit by the bat, but before it hits the ground; when ten players have been dismissed, the innings ends and the teams swap roles. The game is adjudicated by two umpires, aided by a third umpire and match referee in international matches, they communicate with two off-field scorers. There are various formats ranging from Twenty20, played over a few hours with each team batting for a single innings of 20 overs, to Test matches, played over five days with unlimited overs and the teams each batting for two innings of unlimited length.
Traditionally cricketers play in all-white kit, but in limited overs cricket they wear club or team colours. In addition to the basic kit, some players wear protective gear to prevent injury caused by the ball, a hard, solid spheroid made of compressed leather with a raised sewn seam enclosing a cork core, layered with wound string. Cricket's origins are uncertain and the earliest definite reference is in south-east England in the middle of the 16th century, it spread globally with the expansion of the British Empire, leading to the first international matches in the second half of the 19th century. The game's governing body is the International Cricket Council, which has over 100 members, twelve of which are full members who play Test matches; the game's rules are held in a code called the Laws of Cricket, owned and maintained by Marylebone Cricket Club in London. The sport is followed in the Indian subcontinent, the United Kingdom, southern Africa and the West Indies, its globalisation occurring during the expansion of the British Empire and remaining popular into the 21st century.
Women's cricket, organised and played separately, has achieved international standard. The most successful side playing international cricket is Australia, having won seven One Day International trophies, including five World Cups, more than any other country, having been the top-rated Test side more than any other country. Cricket is one of many games in the "club ball" sphere that involve hitting a ball with a hand-held implement. In cricket's case, a key difference is the existence of a solid target structure, the wicket, that the batsman must defend; the cricket historian Harry Altham identified three "groups" of "club ball" games: the "hockey group", in which the ball is driven to and fro between two targets. It is believed that cricket originated as a children's game in the south-eastern counties of England, sometime during the medieval period. Although there are claims for prior dates, the earliest definite reference to cricket being played comes from evidence given at a court case in Guildford on Monday, 17 January 1597.
The case concerned ownership of a certain plot of land and the court heard the testimony of a 59-year-old coroner, John Derrick, who gave witness that: "Being a scholler in the ffree schoole of Guldeford hee and diverse of his fellows did runne and play there at creckett and other plaies". Given Derrick's age, it was about half a century earlier when he was at school and so it is certain that cricket was being played c. 1550 by boys in Surrey. The view that it was a children's game is reinforced by Randle Cotgrave's 1611 English-French dictionary in which he defined the noun "crosse" as "the crooked staff wherewith boys play at cricket" and the verb form "crosser" as "to play at cricket". One possible source for the sport's name is the Old English word "cryce" meaning a staff. In Samuel Johnson's Dictionary, he derived cricket from "cryce, Saxon, a stick". In Old French, the word "criquet" seems to have meant a kind of stick. Given the strong medieval trade connections between south-east England and the County of Flanders when the latter belonged to the Duchy of Burgundy, the name may have been derived from the Middle Dutch "krick", meaning a stick.
Another possible source is the Middle Dutch word "krickstoel", meaning a long low stool used for kneeling in church and which resembled the long low wicket with two stumps used in early cricket. According to Heiner Gillmeister, a European language expert of Bonn University, "cricket" derives from the Middle Dutch phrase for hockey, met de sen. Gillmeister has suggested that not only the name but the sport itself may be of Flemish origin. Although the main object of the game has always been to score the most runs, the early form of cricket differed from the modern game in certain key technical aspects; the ball was bowled underarm by the bowler and all along the ground towards a batsman armed with a bat that, in shape, resembled a hockey stick.
Wisden Cricketers' Almanack
Wisden Cricketers' Almanack is a cricket reference book published annually in the United Kingdom. The description "bible of cricket" was first used in the 1930s by Alec Waugh in a review for the London Mercury. In October 2013, an all-time Test World XI was announced to mark the 150th anniversary of Wisden Cricketers' Almanack. In 1998, an Australian edition of Wisden Cricketers' Almanack was launched, it ran for eight editions. In 2012, an Indian edition of Wisden Cricketers' Almanack was launched. Wisden was founded in 1864 by the English cricketer John Wisden as a competitor to Fred Lillywhite's The Guide to Cricketers, its annual publication has continued uninterrupted to the present day, making it the longest running sports annual in history. The sixth edition was the first published under its current title. Charles Pardon, with George Kelly King, founded the Cricket Reporting Agency in 1880. From Pardon's becoming editor of Wisden in 1887, the editor was nearly always a CRA partner and the CRA was responsible for the editorial production of the Almanack, until in 1965 it merged with the Press Association.
Wisden was acquired and published by Robert Maxwell's publishing conglomerate, Macdonald, in the 1970s. Cricket fan Sir John Paul Getty, Jr. bought the company, John Wisden & Co. in 1993 and in December 2008 it was sold to A&C Black, owned by Bloomsbury. The company presented the Wisden Trophy, for Test matches between England and West Indies, in 1963 to celebrate its 100th edition. In 2013, a history of Wisden was published: The Little Wonder: The Remarkable History of Wisden, by Robert Winder. "The Little Wonder" was John Wisden's nickname. Wisden is a small-paged but a thick book with a distinctive bright yellow cover that it has carried since the 75th edition in 1938. Prior to that, covers varied between yellow and salmon pink; that edition was the first to display the famous woodcut of two cricketers, by Eric Ravilious, on its cover. It is published each April, just before the start of the English domestic cricket season. Since 2003 the woodcut has been replaced as the main feature of the front cover by a photograph of a current cricketer, but still appears albeit in a much reduced size.
It is produced in both softcover versions. Since 2006, a larger format edition has been published on an experimental basis; this is said to be in response to requests from readers who find the print size of the standard edition hard to read. It is around twice the traditional size and was published in a limited edition of 5,000, it is not a large print book as such, as the print will still be of a size found in many standard books. From 2011 an Epub version, The Shorter Wisden, has been available in online bookstores. Described by the publishers as a "distillation of what's best in its bigger brother", it includes the Notes by the Editor, all the articles and obituaries and the reports on all England's Test matches for the year in question. Excluded are other cricket reports contained within the Almanack proper; the format has changed markedly over the years. The first edition had only 112 pages yet found space to cover the dates of battles in the English Civil War, the winners of The Oaks and the rules of quoiting.
The contents of a contemporary edition include the following sections: Around a hundred pages of articles on cricketing topics, including the introductory "Notes by the Editor", which address controversial cricket issues and always provoke discussion in the cricketing world. The traditional Wisden Cricketers of the Year awards, which date back to 1889, the Wisden Leading Cricketer of the World award, started in 2004. Traditionally the main source for key statistics about the game, although it has never attempted to be comprehensive. Nowadays the records section is intended to be complementary to the much more detailed data available online at Wisden's associated website ESPNcricinfo. By far the largest section of the book. Hugely detailed coverage, including scorecards of every First class game played in the previous English summer, summaries of minor counties, second eleven, university and premier club cricket, as well as the Village Cup. Full coverage of all international cricket and brief coverage of domestic first class cricket outside England.
This short section, 80 pages in the 2010 edition, has information about and addresses of official cricket bodies as well as the full laws of cricket, together with appendices. There are details of meetings held by official bodies, including their major decisions, as well as articles about the Duckworth–Lewis method and Powerplays; the laws have been omitted from the most recent editions. This section includes the Chronicle, reviews of other cricket books published in the year, noteworthy retirements and the regarded obituaries section among others. John Arlott wrote the Books section from its inception in the 1950 edition until the 1992 edition, just before he died. Beginning with the 1993 edition the Books section has been written by a different person each year someone "with a literary reputation first and a separate enthusiasm for cricket"; the first such reviewer was J. L. Carr, others have included Sebastian Faulks and Leslie Thomas. An award for the Wisden Book of the Year was inaugurated in the 2003 edition.
The winners have been: This section contains fixtures for the forthcoming international and English domestic season, the international schedule for the upcoming seven years and the Index of Unusual Occurrences featuri
History of cricket
The sport of cricket has a known history beginning in the late 16th century. Having originated in south-east England, it became the country's national sport in the 18th century and has developed globally in the 19th and 20th centuries. International matches have been played since 1844 and Test cricket began, retrospectively recognised, in 1877. Cricket is the world's second most popular spectator sport after association football. Governance is by the International Cricket Council which has over one hundred countries and territories in membership although only twelve play Test cricket. Cricket was created during Saxon or Norman times by children living in the Weald, an area of dense woodlands and clearings in south-east England that lies across Kent and Sussex; the first definite reference is dated Monday, 17 January 1597. There have been several speculations about the game's origins including some that it was created in France or Flanders; the earliest of these speculative references is dated Thursday, 10 March 1300 and concerns the future King Edward II playing at "creag and other games" in both Westminster and Newenden.
It has been suggested that "creag" was an Olde English word for cricket but expert opinion is that it was an early spelling of "craic", meaning "fun and games in general". It is believed that cricket survived as a children's game for many generations before it was taken up by adults around the beginning of the 17th century. Cricket was derived from bowls, assuming bowls is the older sport, by the intervention of a batsman trying to stop the ball from reaching its target by hitting it away. Playing on sheep-grazed land or in clearings, the original implements may have been a matted lump of sheep’s wool as the ball. A 1597 court case in England concerning an ownership dispute over a plot of common land in Guildford, Surrey mentions the game of creckett. A 59-year-old coroner, John Derrick, testified that he and his school friends had played creckett on the site fifty years earlier when they attended the Free School. Derrick's account proves beyond reasonable doubt that the game was being played in Surrey circa 1550, is the earliest universally accepted reference to the game.
The first reference to cricket being played as an adult sport was in 1611, when two men in Sussex were prosecuted for playing cricket on Sunday instead of going to church. In the same year, a dictionary defined cricket as a boys' game and this suggests that adult participation was a recent development. A number of words are thought to be possible sources for the term "cricket". In the earliest definite reference,it was spelled creckett; the name may have been derived from the Middle Dutch krick. The Middle Dutch word krickstoel means a long low stool used for kneeling in church. According to Heiner Gillmeister, a European language expert of the University of Bonn, "cricket" derives from the Middle Dutch phrase for hockey, met de sen, it is more that the terminology of cricket was based on words in use in south-east England at the time and, given trade connections with the County of Flanders in the 15th century when it belonged to the Duchy of Burgundy, many Middle Dutch words found their way into southern English dialects.
A number of references occur up to the English Civil War and these indicate that cricket had become an adult game contested by parish teams, but there is no evidence of county strength teams at this time. There is little evidence of the rampant gambling that characterised the game throughout the 18th century, it is believed, that village cricket had developed by the middle of the 17th century but that county cricket had not and that investment in the game had not begun. After the Civil War ended in 1648, the new Puritan government clamped down on "unlawful assemblies", in particular the more raucous sports such as football, their laws demanded a stricter observance of the Sabbath than there had been previously. As the Sabbath was the only free time available to the lower classes, cricket's popularity may have waned during the Commonwealth. However, it did flourish in St Paul's. There is no actual evidence that Oliver Cromwell's regime banned cricket and there are references to it during the interregnum that suggest it was acceptable to the authorities provided that it did not cause any "breach of the Sabbath".
It is believed that the nobility in general adopted cricket at this time through involvement in village games. Cricket thrived after the Restoration in 1660 and is believed to have first attracted gamblers making large bets at this time. In 1664, the "Cavalier" Parliament passed the Gaming Act 1664 which limited stakes to £100, although, still a fortune at the time, equivalent to about £15 thousand in present-day terms. Cricket had become a significant gambling sport by the end of the 17th century. There is a newspaper report of a "great match" played in Sussex in 1697, 11-a-side and played for high stakes of 50 guineas a side. With freedom of the press having been granted in 1696, cricket for the first time could be reported in the newspapers, but it was a long time before the newspaper industry adapted sufficiently to provide frequent, let alone comprehensive, covera