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
South Africa national cricket team
The South African national cricket team, nicknamed the Proteas, is administered by Cricket South Africa. South Africa is a full member of the International Cricket Council with Test, One Day International and Twenty20 International status. South Africa entered first-class and international cricket at the same time when they hosted an England cricket team in the 1888–89 season. At first, the team was no match for Australia or England but, having gained in experience and expertise, they were able to field a competitive team in the first decade of the 20th century; the team played against Australia and New Zealand through to the 1960s, by which time there was considerable opposition to the country's apartheid policy and an international ban was imposed by the ICC, commensurate with actions taken by other global sporting bodies. When the ban was imposed, South Africa had developed to a point where its team including Eddie Barlow, Graeme Pollock and Mike Procter was arguably the best in the world and had just outplayed Australia.
The ban remained in place until 1991 and South Africa could play against India, Sri Lanka and the West Indies for the first time. The team since reinstatement has been strong and has at times held number one positions in international rankings but has lacked success in organised tournaments. Outstanding players since reinstatement have included Allan Donald, Makhaya Ntini, Shaun Pollock, Jacques Kallis, Graeme Smith, Kagiso Rabada, AB de Villiers, Dale Steyn, Faf du Plessis and Hashim Amla. European colonisation of southern Africa began on Tuesday, 6 April 1652 when the Dutch East India Company established a settlement called the Cape Colony on Table Bay, near present-day Cape Town, continued to expand into the hinterland through the 17th and 18th centuries, it was founded as a victualling station for the Dutch East Indies trade route but soon acquired an importance of its own due to its good farmland and mineral wealth. There was no significant British interest in South Africa until 1795, when British troops under General Sir James Henry Craig seized Cape Colony during the French Revolutionary War, the Netherlands having been occupied by French forces the same year.
After the British seized Cape Colony a second time in 1806 to counteract French interests in the region in the course of the Napoleonic Wars, Cape Colony was turned into a permanent British settlement. As in most other parts of the world, British colonisation brought in its wake the introduction of the game of cricket, which began to develop rapidly; the first recorded cricket match in South Africa took place in 1808, in Cape Town between two service teams for a prize of one thousand rix-dollars. The oldest cricket club in South Africa is the Port Elizabeth Cricket Club, founded in 1843. In 1862, an annual fixture "Mother Country v Colonial Born" was staged for the first time in Cape Town. By the late 1840s, the game had spread from its early roots in Cape Colony and permeated the Afrikaners in the territories of Orange Free State and Transvaal, who were descendants of the original Dutch settlers and were not considered a cricket-playing people. In 1876, Port Elizabeth presented the "Champion Bat" for competition between South African towns.
The first tournament was staged in Port Elizabeth. King William's Town won the tournament in 1877, too. In 1888, Sir Donald Currie sponsored the first English team to tour South Africa, it was managed by Major R. G. Warton and captained by future Hollywood actor C. Aubrey Smith; the tour marked the advent, retrospectively, of both Test cricket in South Africa. Currie donated the Currie Cup that became the trophy, first won by Transvaal in 1889–90, for a national championship of the provincial teams in South Africa. In 1889, South Africa became the third test-playing nation when it played against England at Port Elizabeth, captained by Owen Robert Dunnell. Soon after, a 2nd test was played at Cape Town. However, these two matches, as was the case with all early matches involving the erstwhile'South African XI' against all touring teams, did not receive the status of official'Test' matches until South Africa formed the Imperial Cricket Conference with England and Australia in 1906. Neither did the touring English team organised by Major Warton claim to be representing the English cricket team.
The players who participated did not know that they had played international cricket, the side that played South Africa was regarded to be of weak county strength. The team was captained by C. A. Smith, a decent medium pacer from Sussex, for two of the Major Warton's XI, Basil Grieve and The Honourable Charles Coventry, the two Tests constituted their entire first-class career. So, the nascent, fledgling'South African XI' was weak, losing both tests comfortably to England, English spinner Johnny Briggs claiming 15–28 in the second Test at Cape Town. However, Albert Rose-Innes did make history by becoming the first South African bowler to take a five-wicket haul in Tests at Port Elizabeth. South Africa's early Test record remains the worst among all current Test-playing nations with ten defeats and just a solitary draw from their first eleven tests, it was not until 1904 that they began to emerge as a quality international team, they recorded. The low point of this barren early period for the South African team was an English tour of 1895–96, where South Africa was humiliated 3–0 in 3 Tests by an English side for the first time remotely comparab
An all-rounder is a cricketer who performs well at both batting and bowling. Although all bowlers must bat and quite a few batsmen do bowl most players are skilled in only one of the two disciplines and are considered specialists; some wicket-keepers have the skills of a specialist batsman and have been referred to as all-rounders, but the term wicketkeeper-batsman is more applied to them if they are substitute wicketkeepers who bowl. There is no precise qualification for a player to be considered an all-rounder and use of the term tends to be subjective; the accepted criterion is that a "genuine all-rounder" is someone whose batting or bowling skills, considered alone, would be good enough to win him/her a place in the team. Another definition of a "genuine all-rounder" is a player who can through both batting and bowling "win matches for the team". By either definition, a genuine all-rounder is quite rare and valuable to a team operating as two players. Confusion sometimes arises. For example, West Indies pace bowler Malcolm Marshall achieved ten scores of 50 or above in 107 Test innings between 1978 and 1991, but had a batting average of less than 19.
He would be termed a "useful lower-order batsman", or indeed "a bowler who bats a bit". A specialist batsman/woman may be termed a "useful change bowler" and a good example of this is Australian Allan Border, who in a Test match against the West Indies in Sydney in January 1989 took 11 wickets for 96 runs as the conditions suited his used left-arm spin. One of the main constraints to becoming a recognised all-rounder is that batsmen/women and bowlers "peak" at different ages. Batsmen/women tend to reach their peak in their late twenties after their technique has matured through experience. Conversely, fast bowlers peak in their early to mid twenties at the height of their physical prowess. Other bowlers spinners but fast bowlers who can "swing" the ball, are most effective in their careers. In 2013, Ali Bacher used statistical analysis to argue that there had only been 42 genuine all-rounders in the history of Test cricket, he rated Garry Sobers as the best, followed by Jacques Kallis. One used statistical rule of thumb is that a player's batting average should be greater than his/her bowling average.
In Test cricket, only three players have batting averages that are 20 greater than their bowling average over their entire careers (with: Garfield Sobers, Jacques Kallis and Wally Hammond. However, some other players have achieved such a differential over significant parts of their careers, such as Imran Khan. Doug Walters achieved the 20-run average differential with a batting average of 48.26 and a bowling average of 29.08, however he was regarded as an occasional bowler who could break partnerships rather than a genuine all-rounder. In overall first-class cricket, there are several players with higher batting averages. Statistically, few can challenge Frank Woolley who had a batting average of 40.77 and a bowling average of 19.87. Woolley took over 2000 wickets in his career, scored more runs than anyone except Jack Hobbs and is the only non-wicketkeeper to have taken more than 1000 catches. Many all-rounders are better at bowling than vice versa. Few are good at both and hardly any have been outstanding at both.
Thus the terms "bowling all-rounder" and "batting all-rounder" have come into use. For example, Richard Hadlee had an excellent bowling average of 22.29 in Tests and a solid batting average of 27.16, leading him to be termed a "bowling all-rounder". Meanwhile, a player like Jacques Kallis is known as a "batting all-rounder". Batting all-rounders may not bowl much due to injury concerns, or their batting skills are far better than their bowling to begin with to the point they revert to being known as a batsman. V. E. Walker of Middlesex, playing for All-England versus Surrey at The Oval on 21, 22 & 23 July 1859, took all ten wickets in the Surrey first innings and followed this by scoring 108 in the England second innings, having been the not out batsman in the first, he took a further four wickets in Surrey's second innings. All-England won by 392 runs. On 15 August 1862, E. M. Grace carried his bat through the entire MCC innings, scoring 192 not out of a total of 344. Bowling underarm, he took all 10 wickets in the Kent first innings for 69 runs.
However, this is not an official record. The first player to perform the double of 1000 runs and 100 wickets in an English season was W. G. Grace in 1873, he scored 2139 runs at 71.30 and took 106 wickets at 12.94. Grace completed eight doubles to 1886 and it was not until 1882 that another player accomplished the feat. In the 1906 English cricket season, George Herbert Hirst achieved the unique feat of scoring over 2000 runs and taking over 200 wickets, he scored 2385 runs including six centuries at 45.86 with a highest score of 169. He took 208 wickets at 16.50 with a best analysis of 7/18
England is a country, part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to Scotland to the north-northwest; the Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea lies to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south; the country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight. The area now called England was first inhabited by modern humans during the Upper Palaeolithic period, but takes its name from the Angles, a Germanic tribe deriving its name from the Anglia peninsula, who settled during the 5th and 6th centuries. England became a unified state in the 10th century, since the Age of Discovery, which began during the 15th century, has had a significant cultural and legal impact on the wider world; the English language, the Anglican Church, English law – the basis for the common law legal systems of many other countries around the world – developed in England, the country's parliamentary system of government has been adopted by other nations.
The Industrial Revolution began in 18th-century England, transforming its society into the world's first industrialised nation. England's terrain is chiefly low hills and plains in central and southern England. However, there is upland and mountainous terrain in the west; the capital is London, which has the largest metropolitan area in both the United Kingdom and the European Union. England's population of over 55 million comprises 84% of the population of the United Kingdom concentrated around London, the South East, conurbations in the Midlands, the North West, the North East, Yorkshire, which each developed as major industrial regions during the 19th century; the Kingdom of England – which after 1535 included Wales – ceased being a separate sovereign state on 1 May 1707, when the Acts of Union put into effect the terms agreed in the Treaty of Union the previous year, resulting in a political union with the Kingdom of Scotland to create the Kingdom of Great Britain. In 1801, Great Britain was united with the Kingdom of Ireland to become the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
In 1922 the Irish Free State seceded from the United Kingdom, leading to the latter being renamed the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The name "England" is derived from the Old English name Englaland, which means "land of the Angles"; the Angles were one of the Germanic tribes that settled in Great Britain during the Early Middle Ages. The Angles came from the Anglia peninsula in the Bay of Kiel area of the Baltic Sea; the earliest recorded use of the term, as "Engla londe", is in the late-ninth-century translation into Old English of Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People. The term was used in a different sense to the modern one, meaning "the land inhabited by the English", it included English people in what is now south-east Scotland but was part of the English kingdom of Northumbria; the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle recorded that the Domesday Book of 1086 covered the whole of England, meaning the English kingdom, but a few years the Chronicle stated that King Malcolm III went "out of Scotlande into Lothian in Englaland", thus using it in the more ancient sense.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, its modern spelling was first used in 1538. The earliest attested reference to the Angles occurs in the 1st-century work by Tacitus, Germania, in which the Latin word Anglii is used; the etymology of the tribal name itself is disputed by scholars. How and why a term derived from the name of a tribe, less significant than others, such as the Saxons, came to be used for the entire country and its people is not known, but it seems this is related to the custom of calling the Germanic people in Britain Angli Saxones or English Saxons to distinguish them from continental Saxons of Old Saxony between the Weser and Eider rivers in Northern Germany. In Scottish Gaelic, another language which developed on the island of Great Britain, the Saxon tribe gave their name to the word for England. An alternative name for England is Albion; the name Albion referred to the entire island of Great Britain. The nominally earliest record of the name appears in the Aristotelian Corpus the 4th-century BC De Mundo: "Beyond the Pillars of Hercules is the ocean that flows round the earth.
In it are two large islands called Britannia. But modern scholarly consensus ascribes De Mundo not to Aristotle but to Pseudo-Aristotle, i.e. it was written in the Graeco-Roman period or afterwards. The word Albion or insula Albionum has two possible origins, it either derives from a cognate of the Latin albus meaning white, a reference to the white cliffs of Dover or from the phrase the "island of the Albiones" in the now lost Massaliote Periplus, attested through Avienus' Ora Maritima to which the former served as a source. Albion is now applied to England in a more poetic capacity. Another romantic name for England is Loegria, related to the Welsh word for England and made popular by its use in Arthurian legend; the earliest known evidence of human presence in the area now known as England was that of Homo antecessor, dating to approximate
Test cricket is the form of the sport of cricket with the longest duration, is considered the game's highest standard. Test matches are played between national representative teams with "Test status", as determined and conferred by the International Cricket Council; the term Test stems from the fact of the form's long, gruelling matches being both mentally and physically testing. Two teams of 11 players each play a four-innings match, it is considered the most complete examination of a team's endurance and ability. The first recognised Test match took place between 15 and 19 March 1877 and was played between England and Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, where Australia won by 45 runs. A Test match to celebrate 100 years of Test cricket was held in Melbourne between 12 and 17 March 1977, in which Australia beat England by 45 runs—the same margin as that first Test. In October 2012, the ICC recast the playing conditions for Test matches, permitting day/night Test matches; the first day/night game took place between Australia and New Zealand at the Adelaide Oval, Adelaide, on 27 November – 1 December 2015.
Women's Test cricket is played over four days, with slight differences in format from men's Tests. Test matches are the highest level of cricket, statistically, their data form part of first-class cricket. Matches are played between national representative teams with "Test status", as determined by the International Cricket Council; as of June 2017, twelve national teams have Test status, the most promoted being Afghanistan and Ireland on 22 June 2017. Zimbabwe's Test status was voluntarily suspended, because of poor performances between 2006 and 2011. In January 2014, during an ICC meeting in Dubai, the pathway for new potential Test nations was laid out with the winners of the next round of the ICC Intercontinental Cup playing a 5-day match against the bottom ranked Test nation. If the Associate team defeats the Test nation they could be added as the new Test country and granted full membership. A list of matches, defined as "Tests", was first drawn up by Australian Clarence Moody in the mid-1890s.
Representative matches played by simultaneous England touring sides of 1891–92 and 1929–30 are deemed to have "Test status". In 1970, a series of five "Test matches" was played in England between England and a Rest of the World XI; these matches scheduled between England and South Africa, were amended after South Africa was suspended from international cricket because of their government's policy of apartheid. Although given Test status, this was withdrawn and a principle was established that official Test matches can only be between nations. Despite this, in 2005, the ICC ruled that the six-day Super Series match that took place in October 2005, between Australia and a World XI, was an official Test match; some cricket writers and statisticians, including Bill Frindall, ignored the ICC's ruling and excluded the 2005 match from their records. The series of "Test matches" played in Australia between Australia and a World XI in 1971–72 do not have Test status; the commercial "Supertests" organised by Kerry Packer as part of his World Series Cricket enterprise and played between "WSC Australia", "WSC World XI" and "WSC West Indies" from 1977 to 1979 have never been regarded as official Test matches.
There are twelve Test-playing men's teams. The teams all represent individual, independent nations, except for England, the West Indies and Ireland. Test status is conferred upon a group of countries by the International Cricket Council. Teams that do not have Test status can play in the ICC Intercontinental Cup designed to allow non-Test teams to play under conditions similar to Tests; the teams are listed below with the date of each team's Test debut: England Australia South Africa West Indies New Zealand India Pakistan Sri Lanka Zimbabwe Bangladesh Ireland Afghanistan In the mid 2010s, the ICC evaluated proposals for dividing Test cricket into two tiers, with promotion and relegation between Tier-1 and Tier-2. These proposals were opposed by others; these proposals were not implemented. A standard day of Test cricket consists of three sessions of two hours each, the breaks between sessions being 40 minutes for lunch and 20 minutes for tea; however the times of sessions and intervals may be altered in certain circumstances: if bad weather or a change of innings occurs close to a scheduled break, the break may be taken immediately.
Today, Test matches are scheduled to be played across five consecutive days
One Day International
A One Day International is a form of limited overs cricket, played between two teams with international status, in which each team faces a fixed number of overs 50. The Cricket World Cup is played in this format, held every four years. One Day International matches are called Limited Overs Internationals, although this generic term may refer to Twenty20 International matches, they are major considered the highest standard of List A, limited overs competition. The international one-day game is a late-twentieth-century development; the first ODI was played on 5 January 1971 between Australia and England at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. When the first three days of the third Test were washed out officials decided to abandon the match and, play a one-off one-day game consisting of 40 eight-ball overs per side. Australia won the game by 5 wickets. ODIs were played in white kits with a red ball. In the late 1970s, Kerry Packer established the rival World Series Cricket competition, it introduced many of the features of One Day International cricket that are now commonplace, including coloured uniforms, matches played at night under floodlights with a white ball and dark sight screens, for television broadcasts, multiple camera angles, effects microphones to capture sounds from the players on the pitch, on-screen graphics.
The first of the matches with coloured uniforms was the WSC Australians in wattle gold versus WSC West Indians in coral pink, played at VFL Park in Melbourne on 17 January 1979. This led not only to Packer's Channel 9 getting the TV rights to cricket in Australia but led to players worldwide being paid to play, becoming international professionals, no longer needing jobs outside cricket. Matches played with coloured kits and a white ball became more commonplace over time, the use of white flannels and a red ball in ODIs ended in 2001. In the main the Laws of cricket apply. However, in ODIs, each team bats for a fixed number of overs. In the early days of ODI cricket, the number of overs was 60 overs per side, matches were played with 40, 45 or 55 overs per side, but now it has been uniformly fixed at 50 overs. Stated, the game works as follows: An ODI is contested by two teams of 11 players each; the Captain of the side winning the toss bowl first. The team batting first sets the target score in a single innings.
The innings lasts until the batting side is "all out" or all of the first side's allotted overs are completed. Each bowler is restricted to bowling a maximum of 10 overs. Therefore, each team must comprise at least five competent bowlers; the team batting second tries to score more. The side bowling second tries to bowl out the second team or make them exhaust their overs before they reach the target score in order to win. If the number of runs scored by both teams is equal when the second team loses all its wickets or exhausts all its overs the game is declared a tie. Where a number of overs are lost, for example, due to inclement weather conditions the total number of overs may be reduced. In the early days of ODI cricket, the team with the better run rate won, but this favoured the second team. For the 1992 World Cup, an alternative method was used of omitting the first team's worst overs, but that favoured the first team. Since the late 1990s, the target or result is determined by the Duckworth-Lewis method, a method with statistical approach.
It takes into consideration the fact that the wickets in hand plays a crucial role in pacing the run-rate. In other words, a team with more wickets in hand can play way more aggressively than the team with fewer wickets in hand; when insufficient overs are played to apply the Duckworth-Lewis method, a match is declared no result. Important one-day matches in the latter stages of major tournaments, may have two days set aside, such that a result can be achieved on the "reserve day" if the first day is washed out—either by playing a new game, or by resuming the match, rain-interrupted; the original DL-method however had a few inherent flaws. For example, Tony Lewis, one of the formulators of this method recognized after the match between India and Kenya during the 1999 World Cup held in Bristol, that the original method gave an unfair advantage to the team chasing scores above 350 runs in a 50 overs match. Hence, the method was revised and a new version was released in 2004. There was one more such change made, first implemented on 2009.
Off late, the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method is used, a modification of the DL-Method suggested by Prof. Steven Stern, it was first implemented during the 2015 World Cup. One of the major changes made to DLS from DL method was based on a historic analysis by Prof. Stern that a team with higher run rate in their initial stages has a greater chance to get to a high score than a team with slow initial run rate, but more wickets in hand; because the game uses a white ball instead of the red one used in first-class cricket, the ball can become discoloured and hard to see as the innings progresses, so the ICC has used various rules to help keep the ball playable. Most ICC has made the use of two new balls, the same strategy, used in the 1992 and 1996 World Cu
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.