Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of eleven players on a cricket field, at the centre of which is a rectangular 22-yard-long pitch with a wicket at each end. One team bats, attempting to score as many runs as possible, each phase of play is called an innings. After either ten batsmen have been dismissed or a number of overs have been completed, the innings ends. The winning team is the one that scores the most runs, including any extras gained, at the start of each game, two batsmen and eleven fielders enter the field of play. The striker takes guard on a crease drawn on the four feet in front of the wicket. His role is to prevent the ball hitting the stumps by use of his bat. The other batsman, known as the non-striker, waits at the end of the pitch near the bowler. A dismissed batsman must leave the field, and a teammate replaces him, the bowlers objectives are to prevent the scoring of runs and to dismiss the batsman. An over is a set of six deliveries bowled by the same bowler, the next over is bowled from the other end of the pitch by a different bowler. If a fielder retrieves the ball enough to put down the wicket with a batsman not having reached the crease at that end of the pitch. Adjudication is performed on the field by two umpires, the laws of cricket are maintained by the International Cricket Council and the Marylebone Cricket Club. Traditionally cricketers play in all-white kit, but in limited overs cricket they wear club or team colours. In addition to the kit, some players wear protective gear to prevent injury caused by the ball. Although crickets origins are uncertain, it is first recorded in south-east England in the 16th century and it spread globally with the expansion of the British Empire, leading to the first international matches in the mid-19th century. ICC, the governing body, has over 100 members. The sport is followed primarily in Australasia, Britain, the Indian subcontinent, southern Africa, womens cricket, which is organised and played separately, has also achieved international standard. A number of words have been suggested as sources for the term cricket, in the earliest definite reference to the sport in 1598 it is called creckett. One possible source for the name is the Old English cricc or cryce meaning a crutch or staff, in Samuel Johnsons Dictionary, he derived cricket from cryce, Saxon, a stick
Image: Cricket World Cup Final (16351625604)
Evolution of the cricket bat. The original "hockey stick" (left) evolved into the straight bat from c.1760 when pitched delivery bowling began.