In cricket, an umpire is a person who has the authority to make decisions about events on the cricket field, according to the Laws of Cricket. Besides making decisions about legality of delivery, appeals for wickets and general conduct of the game in a legal manner, the umpire keeps a record of the deliveries and announces the completion of an over. A cricket umpire is not to be confused with the referee who presides only over international matches and makes no decisions affecting the outcome of the game. Traditionally, cricket matches have two umpires on the field, one standing at the end where the bowler delivers the ball, one directly opposite the facing batsman. However, in the modern game, there may be more than two umpires. Most Test matches are controlled by neutral members of the Elite Panel, with local members of the International Panel providing support in the third or fourth umpire roles. Members of the International Panel will officiate as neutral on-field umpires in Tests. Members of the three panels officiate in One Day Twenty20 International matches.
Professional matches have a match referee, who complements the role of the umpires. The match referee makes no decisions relevant to the outcome of the game, but instead enforces the ICC Cricket Code of Conduct, ensuring the game is played in a reputable manner; the ICC appoints a match referee from its Elite Panel of Referees to adjudicate Test matches and ODIs. Minor cricket matches will have trained umpires; the independent Association of Cricket Umpires and Scorers, formed in 1955, used to conduct umpire training within the UK. It however merged to form the ECB Association of Cricket Officials on 1 January 2008. A new structure of cricket umpiring and scoring qualifications has now been put into place and the ACO provides training and examinations for these. Cricket Australia has introduced a two-tier accreditation scheme and all umpires will be required to achieve the appropriate level of accreditation; the ages of umpires can vary enormously as some are former players, while others enter the cricketing world as umpires.
In accordance with the tradition of cricket, most ordinary, local games will have two umpires, one supplied by each side, who will enforce the accepted rules. When a ball is being bowled, one umpire stands behind the stumps at the non-striker's end, which gives him a view straight down the pitch; the second takes. Through long tradition, this is square leg – in line with the popping crease and a few yards to the batsman's leg side – hence he is sometimes known as the square leg umpire. However, if a fielder takes up position at square leg or somewhere so as to block his view, or if there is an injured batsman with a runner the umpire must move somewhere else – either a short distance or to point on the opposite side of the batsman. If the square-leg umpire elects to stand at point, he is required to inform both the batsmen, the captain of the fielding team, his colleague, he may move to the point position in the afternoon if the setting sun prevents a clear view of the popping crease at his end.
It is up to the umpires to keep out of the way of the players. In particular, if the ball is hit and the players attempt a run the umpire behind the stumps will retreat to the side, in case the fielding side attempts a run out at that end. At the end of each over, the two umpires will exchange roles; because the bowlers end alternates between overs, this means. For certain decisions during a match, the on-field umpire may refer to the Third Umpire if there is one appointed, who has access to television replays; the Third Umpire is most used in the case of run-outs, where the action is too fast for the naked eye but can be used to decide the cases of disputed boundaries and catches, when the umpires cannot decide if the ball has struck the ground before being caught. Third Umpire referrals for LBW dismissals was trialled in the 2002 ICC Champions Trophy in Sri Lanka, in the 2007 English Domestic Pro40 competition, is now in widespread use in international matches. During play, the umpire at the bowler's end makes the decisions, which he indicates using arm signals.
Some decisions must be instantaneous, whereas for others he may pause to think or discuss it with the square leg umpire if the latter may have had a better view. These decisions are signalled straight away. An umpire will not give a batsman out unless an appeal is made by the fielding side, though a batsman may walk if he knows himself to be out; this is nowadays rare in Tests and first-class matches for contentious decisions. If the fielding side believes a batsman is out, the fielding side must appeal, by asking the umpire to provide a ruling; the umpire'
Old Trafford Cricket Ground
Old Trafford, known for sponsorship reasons as Emirates Old Trafford, is a cricket ground in Old Trafford, Greater Manchester, England. It opened in 1857 as the home of Manchester Cricket Club and has been the home of Lancashire County Cricket Club since 1864. Old Trafford is England's second oldest Test venue and hosted the first Ashes Test in England, in July 1884, two Cricket World Cup semi-finals. In 1956, the first 10-wicket haul in a single innings was achieved by England bowler Jim Laker who achieved bowling figures of 19 wickets for 90 runs—a bowling record, unmatched in Test and first-class cricket. In the 1993 Ashes Test at Old Trafford, leg-spinner Shane Warne bowled Mike Gatting with the "Ball of the Century". Extensive redevelopment of the ground to increase capacity and modernise facilities began in 2009 in an effort to safeguard international cricket at the venue; the pitch at Old Trafford has been the quickest in England, but will take spin in the game. It is located about 0.5 miles from Old Trafford football stadium.
The site was first used as a cricket ground in 1857, when the Manchester Cricket Club moved onto the meadows of the de Trafford estate. Despite the construction of a large pavilion, Old Trafford's first years were rocky: accessible only along a footpath from the railway station, the ground was situated out in the country, games only attracted small crowds, it was not until the Roses match of 1875. When W. G. Grace brought Gloucestershire in 1878, Old Trafford saw 28,000 spectators over three days, this provoked improvements to access and facilities. In 1884, Old Trafford became the second English ground, after The Oval, to stage Test cricket: with the first day being lost to rain, England drew with Australia. Expansion of the ground followed over the next decade, with the decision being taken to construct a new pavilion in 1894; the ground was purchased outright from the de Traffords in 1898, for £24,372, as crowds increased, with over 50,000 spectators attending the 1899 Test match. In 1902, the Australian Victor Trumper hit a hundred before lunch on the first day.
Crowds fell through the early 20th century, the ground was closed during the First World War. Investment followed throughout the inter-war period, during this time, Lancashire experienced their most successful run to date, gaining four championship titles in five years. During the Second World War, Old Trafford was used as a transit camp for troops returning from Dunkirk, as a supply depot. In December 1940, the ground was hit by bombs, destroying several stands. Despite this damage—and the failure of an appeal to raise funds for repairs—cricket resumed promptly after the war, with German PoWs being paid a small wage to prepare the ground. The'Victory Test' between England and Australia of August 1945 proved to be popular, with 76,463 seeing it over three days. Differences of opinion between the club's committee and players led to a bad run of form in the 1950s and early 1960s. After 1964, the situation was reversed, 1969 saw the first Indoor Cricket Centre opened. In 1956 Jim Laker became the first person to take all 10 wickets in a Test match innings, achieving figures of 10 for 53 in the fourth Test against Australia.
Having taken 9 for 37 in the first innings, Laker ended the match with record figures of 19 for 90, which remain unmatched to this day. On 1 May 1963 the first one day cricket match took place at Old Trafford, as the Gillette Cup was launched. Lancashire beat Leicestershire in a preliminary knock-out game, as 16th and 17th finishers in the Championship the previous year, to decide who would fill the 16th spot in the One Day competition. Following Lancashire's reign as One Day champions in the 1970s, a programme of renovation and replacement was initiated in 1981; this changed the face of the ground to the extent that, only the Pavilion “is recognisable to a visitor who last watched or played a game in, the early 1980s”. In 1981 Ian Botham hit 118, including six sixes, which he has called "one of the three innings I would like to tell my grandchildren about". England went on to win the Ashes after being lampooned in the national media for such poor performances. In 1990, Sachin Tendulkar scored his first Test hundred at the age of 17—becoming the second-youngest centurion—to help India draw.
In 1993, Shane Warne bowled the "Ball of the Century" to Mike Gatting at the ground. In the same game, Graham Gooch was out handling the ball for 133—only the sixth out of nine times this has happened. In 1995, Dominic Cork took a hat-trick for England against the West Indies. In 2000, both Mike Atherton and Alec Stewart played their hundredth Tests, against the West Indies. In the Third Test of the 2005 Ashes series the match ended in a nailbiting draw, with 10,000 fans shut out of the ground on the final day as tickets were sold out. England went on to win the series regaining the Ashes for the first time in over 20 years; the cricket ground is near the Old Trafford football stadium, in the borough of Trafford in Greater Manchester two miles south west of Manchester city centre. Its capacity is 22,000 for Test matches, for which temporary stands are erected, 15,000 for other matches. Since 1884, it has hosted 74
In cricket, the term wicket has several meanings. Firstly, it is one of two bails at either end of the pitch; the wicket is guarded by a batsman who, with his bat, attempts to prevent the ball from hitting the wicket. Secondly, through metonymic usage, the dismissal of a batsman is known as the taking of a wicket, thirdly, the cricket pitch itself is sometimes called the wicket; the origin of the word is from a small gate. Cricket wickets had only two stumps and one bail and looked like a gate; the third stump was introduced in 1775. The size and shape of the wicket has changed several times during the last 300 years and its dimensions and placing is now determined by Law 8 in the Laws of Cricket, thus: Law 8: The wickets; the wicket consists of three wooden stumps. The stumps are placed along the batting crease with equal distances between each stump, they are positioned. Two wooden bails are placed in shallow grooves on top of the stumps; the bails must not project more than 0.5 inches above the stumps, must, for men's cricket, be 4.31 inches long.
There are specified lengths for the barrel and spigots of the bail. There are different specifications for the bails for junior cricket; the umpires may dispense with the bails. Further details on the specifications of the wickets are contained in Appendix D to the laws. For a batsman to be dismissed by being bowled, run out, stumped or hit wicket, his wicket needs to be put down. What this means is defined by Law 29. A wicket is put down if a bail is removed from the top of the stumps, or a stump is struck out of the grounds by the ball, the striker's bat, the striker's person, a fielder. A 2010 amendment to the Laws clarified the rare circumstance where a bat breaks during the course of a shot and the detached debris breaks the wicket; the wicket is put down if a fielder pulls a stump out of the ground in the same manner. If one bail is off, removing the remaining bail or striking or pulling any of the three stumps out of the ground is sufficient to put the wicket down. A fielder may remake the wicket, if necessary, in order to put it down to have an opportunity of running out a batsman.
If however both bails are off, a fielder must remove one of the three stumps out of the ground with the ball, or pull it out of the ground with a hand or arm, provided that the ball is held in the hand or hands so used, or in the hand of the arm so used. If the umpires have agreed to dispense with bails, for example, it is too windy for the bails to remain on the stumps, the decision as to whether the wicket has been put down is one for the umpire concerned to decide. After a decision to play without bails, the wicket has been put down if the umpire concerned is satisfied that the wicket has been struck by the ball, by the striker's bat, person, or items of his clothing or equipment separated from his person as described above, or by a fielder with the hand holding the ball or with the arm of the hand holding the ball; the dismissal of a batsman is known as the taking of a wicket. The batsman is said to have lost his wicket, the batting side is said to have lost a wicket, the fielding side to have taken a wicket, the bowler is said to have taken his wicket, if the dismissal is one of the types for which the bowler receives credit.
This language is used if the dismissal did not involve the stumps and bails in any way, for example, a catch. Though note that the other four of the five most common methods of dismissal do involve the stumps and bails being put down, or prevented from being put down by the batsman; the word wicket has this meaning in the following contexts: A team's score is described in terms of the total number of runs scored and the total number of wickets lost. The number of wickets taken is a primary measure of a individual bowler's ability, a key part of a bowling analysis; the sequence of time over which two particular batsmen bat together, a partnership, is referred to as a numbered wicket when discriminating it from other partnerships in the innings. The first wicket partnership is from the start of the innings until the team loses its first wicket, i.e. one of the first two batsmen is dismissed. The second wicket partnership is from when the third batsman starts batting until the team loses its second wicket, i.e. a second batsman is dismissed.
Etc... The tenth wicket or last wicket partnership is from when the eleventh batsman starts batting until the team loses its tenth wicket, i.e. a tenth batsman is dismissed. A team can win a match by a certain number of wickets; this means that they were batting last, reached the winning target with a certain number of batsmen still not dismissed. For example, if the side scored the required number of runs to win with only three batsmen dismissed, they are said to have won by seven wickets; the word wicket is sometimes used to refer to the cricket pitch itself. According to the Laws of Cricket, this usage is incorrect, but it is in common usage and understood by cricket followers; the term sticky wicket refers to a situation in which the pitch has become damp due to rain or high humidity. This makes the path of the ball more unpredictable thus making the
Batting average (cricket)
In cricket, a player's batting average is the total number of runs they have scored divided by the number of times they have been out. Since the number of runs a player scores and how they get out are measures of their own playing ability, independent of their teammates, batting average is a good metric for an individual player's skill as a batter; the number is simple to interpret intuitively. If all the batter's innings were completed, this is the average number of runs they score per innings. If they did not complete all their innings, this number is an estimate of the unknown average number of runs they score per innings; each player has several batting averages, with a different figure calculated for each type of match they play, a player's batting averages may be calculated for individual seasons or series, or at particular grounds, or against particular opponents, or across their whole career. Batting average has been used to gauge cricket players' relative skills since the 18th century.
Most players have career batting averages in the range of 20 to 40. This is the desirable range for wicket-keepers, though some fall short and make up for it with keeping skill; until a substantial increase in scores in the 21st century due to improved bats and smaller grounds among other factors, players who sustained an average above 50 through a career were considered exceptional, before the development of the heavy roller in the 1870s an average of 25 was considered good. All-rounders who are more prominent bowlers than batsmen average something between 20 and 30. 15 and under is typical for specialist bowlers. A small number of players have averaged less than 5 for a complete career, though a player with such an average is a liability unless an exceptional bowler as Alf Valentine, B. S. Chandrasekhar or Glenn McGrath were. Career records for batting average are subject to a minimum qualification of 20 innings played or completed, in order to exclude batsmen who have not played enough games for their skill to be reliably assessed.
Under this qualification, the highest Test batting average belongs to Australia's Sir Donald Bradman, with 99.94. Given that a career batting average over 50 is exceptional, that only five other players have averages over 60, this is an outstanding statistic; the fact that Bradman's average is so far above that of any other cricketer has led several statisticians to argue that, statistically at least, he was the greatest athlete in any sport. Disregarding this 20 innings qualification, the highest career test batting average is 112, by Andy Ganteaume, a Trinidadian Keeper-batsman, dismissed for 112 in his only test innings. Batting averages in One Day International cricket tend to be lower than in Test cricket, because of the need to score runs more and take riskier strokes and the lesser emphasis on building a large innings, it should be remembered in relation to the ODI histogram above, that there were no ODI competitions when Bradman played. If a batter has been dismissed in every single innings this statistic gives the average number of runs they score per innings.
However, for a batter with innings which finished not out, the true average number of runs they score per innings is unknown as it is not known how many runs they would have scored if they could have completed all their not out innings. This statistic is an estimate of the average number of runs. If their scores have a geometric distribution this statistic is the maximum likelihood estimate of their true unknown average. Batting averages can be affected by the number of not outs. For example, Phil Tufnell, noted for his poor batting, has an respectable ODI average of 15, despite a highest score of only 5 not out, as he scored an overall total of 15 runs from 10 innings, but was out only once. A batter who has not been dismissed in any of the innings over which their average is being calculated does not have a batting average, as dividing by zero does not give a result. Highest career batting averages in Test matches. Table shows players with at least 20 innings completed. * denotes not out. Last updated: 14 October 2018.
Highest career batting averages in First-class cricket as follows: Source: Cricinfo Statsguru. Table shows players with at least 50 innings batted, note this table has no requirement for minimum number of runs scored. * denotes not out. Last updated: 10 November 2018. Alternative measures of batting effectiveness have been developed, including: Strike rate measures a different concept to batting average – how the batter scores – so it does not supplant the role of batting average, it is used in limited overs matches, where the speed at which a batter scores is more important than it is in first-class cricket. A system of player rankings was developed to produce a better indication of players' current standings than is provided by comparing their averages. Cricket statistics Batting average Bowling average
Sir Donald George Bradman, AC referred to as "The Don", was an Australian international cricketer acknowledged as the greatest batsman of all time. Bradman's career Test batting average of 99.94 has been cited as the greatest achievement by any sportsman in any major sport. The story that the young Bradman practised alone with a cricket stump and a golf ball is part of Australian folklore. Bradman's meteoric rise from bush cricket to the Australian Test team took just over two years. Before his 22nd birthday, he had set many records for top scoring, some of which still stand, became Australia's sporting idol at the height of the Great Depression. During a 20-year playing career, Bradman scored at a level that made him, in the words of former Australia captain Bill Woodfull, "worth three batsmen to Australia". A controversial set of tactics, known as Bodyline, was devised by the England team to curb his scoring; as a captain and administrator, Bradman was committed to attacking, entertaining cricket.
He hated the constant adulation, it affected how he dealt with others. The focus of attention on his individual performances strained relationships with some teammates and journalists, who thought him aloof and wary. Following an enforced hiatus due to the Second World War, he made a dramatic comeback, captaining an Australian team known as "The Invincibles" on a record-breaking unbeaten tour of England. A complex driven man, not given to close personal relationships, Bradman retained a pre-eminent position in the game by acting as an administrator and writer for three decades following his retirement. After he became reclusive in his declining years, his opinion was sought, his status as a national icon was still recognised. 50 years after his retirement as a Test player, in 1997, Prime Minister John Howard of Australia called him the "greatest living Australian". Bradman's image has appeared on postage stamps and coins, a museum dedicated to his life was opened while he was still living. On the centenary of his birth, 27 August 2008, the Royal Australian Mint issued a $5 commemorative gold coin with Bradman's image.
In 2009, he was inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame. Donald George Bradman was the youngest son of George and Emily Bradman, was born on 27 August 1908 at Cootamundra, New South Wales, he had a brother and three sisters—Islet and Elizabeth May. Bradman was of English heritage on both sides of his family, his grandfather Charles Andrew Bradman left England for Australia. When Bradman played at Cambridge in 1930 as a 21 year old on his first tour of England, he took the opportunity to trace his forebears in the region. One of his great-grandfathers was one of the first Italians to migrate to Australia in 1826. Bradman's parents lived near Stockinbingal, his mother Emily gave birth to him at the Cootamundra home of a midwife. That house is now the Bradman Birthplace Museum. Emily had hailed from Mittagong in the NSW Southern Highlands, in 1911, when Don Bradman was about two-and-a-half years old, his parents decided to relocate to Bowral, close to Mittagong, to be closer to Emily's family and friends, as life at Yeo Yeo was proving difficult.
Bradman practised batting incessantly during his youth. He invented his own solo cricket game, using a cricket stump for a bat, a golf ball. A water tank, mounted on a curved brick stand, stood on a paved area behind the family home; when hit into the curved brick facing of the stand, the ball rebounded at high speed and varying angles—and Bradman would attempt to hit it again. This form of practice developed his timing and reactions to a high degree. In more formal cricket, he hit his first century at the age of 12, with an undefeated 115 playing for Bowral Public School against Mittagong High School. During the 1920–21 season, Bradman acted as scorer for the local Bowral team, captained by his uncle George Whatman. In October 1920, he 29 * on debut. During the season, Bradman's father took him to the Sydney Cricket Ground to watch the fifth Ashes Test match. On that day, Bradman formed an ambition. "I shall never be satisfied", he told his father, "until I play on this ground". Bradman left school in 1922 and went to work for a local real estate agent who encouraged his sporting pursuits by giving him time off when necessary.
He gave up cricket in favour of tennis for two years, but resumed playing cricket in 1925–26. Bradman became a regular selection for the Bowral team. Competing on matting-over-concrete pitches, Bowral played other rural towns in the Berrima District competition. Against Wingello, a team that included the future Test bowler Bill O'Reilly, Bradman made 234. In the competition final against Moss Vale, which extended over five consecutive Saturdays, Bradman scored 320 not out. During the following Australian winter, an ageing Australian team lost The Ashes in England, a number of Test players retired; the New South Wales Cricket Association began a hunt for new talent. Mindful of Bradman's big scores for Bowral, the association wrote to him, requesting his attendance at a practice session in Sydney, he was subsequently chosen for the "Country Week" tournaments at both cricket and tennis, to be played during separate weeks. His boss presented him with an ultimatum: he could have only one week away from work, therefore had to choose between the two sports.
He chose cricket. Bradman's performances during Country Week resulted in an invitation to play grade crick
South Australia cricket team
The South Australia cricket team, named West End Redbacks, nicknamed the ’Southern Redbacks’, is an Australian men's professional first class cricket team based in Adelaide, South Australia. The Redbacks play their home matches at Adelaide Oval and are the state cricket team for South Australia, representing the state in the Sheffield Shield competition and the limited overs Ryobi One-Day Cup, their Ryobi One-Day Cup uniform features a red body with black sleeves. They are known as the West End Redbacks due to a sponsorship agreement with West End; the Redbacks competed in the now-defunct KFC Twenty20 Big Bash, but were succeeded by the Adelaide Strikers in 2011 because this league was replaced with the Big Bash League. The earliest known first-class match played by South Australia took place against Tasmania on the Adelaide Oval in November 1877. In 1892–93 they joined New South Wales and Victoria and played the inaugural Sheffield Shield season. South Australia won the Shield in just their second attempt.
They have won the competition 13 times in total while they have twice won the One Day tournament now known as the Ryobi One Day Cup. They are the current holders of the KFC 20/20 Big Bash trophy, defeating NSW in the 2010/11 final at Adelaide Oval. Over the years many successful international cricketers have played for South Australia. Clarrie Grimmett played with them during the 1920s and 30s, taking a total of 668 wickets which remains a state record. In 1934 Donald Bradman joined the club after playing with New South Wales, started with scores of 117, 233 and 357 in his first three innings. Others include the Chappell brothers, David Hookes, Darren Lehman,Gil Langley, Jason Gillespe and Terry Jenner. South Australia have imported cricketers to play for them, the most famous being Gary Sobers who appeared in three seasons during the early 1960s and Barry Richards. Richards played just one season with South Australia but managed to set a state record for most runs in a season, making 1538 runs in 1970–71.
Sheffield Shield/Pura Cup 1963–64 1968–69 1970–71 1975–76 1981–82 1995–96One-day Cups 1983–84 1986–87 2011–12KFC Twenty20 Big Bash/Big Bash League 2010/11 Players with international caps are listed in bold. Most runs for South Australia Highest individual score: Don Bradman 369 vs Tasmania in 1935/36Most centuries: Darren Lehmann 42Most runs in a season: Barry Richards 1538 runs in 1970/71Highest partnership: David Hookes and Wayne Phillips 462* vs Tasmania in 1986/87Highest team score: 821-7d vs Queensland in 1939/40Most wickets for South Australia Most wickets in a season: Shaun Tait 65Most wickets in an innings: Tim Wall 10/36 vs NSW in 1932/33Most wickets in a match: George Giffen 17/201 vs Victoria in 1885/86 List of South Australian representative cricketers List of international cricketers from South Australia Official Website of the South Australia cricket team Official Website of Cricket Australia Article on team's history from Cricinfo
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.