Golf, hockey, baseball, badminton, squash, tennis and table tennis are all sports that fall under the bat-and-ball games category. Another similar sport with over 100 members is of course cricket. The earliest mention dates to the 1500s where it was most likely played as a children’s game in southeast England. This was also the time of the expansion of the British Empire that directly contributed to the introduction of the game to many nations around the world. There are several possibilities as to the origin of the name and given the strong medieval trade between southeast England and the County of Flanders, it appears there may be a Flemish origin. The connection is the Middle Dutch phrase for hockey, met de (krik ket)sen.
After nearly 200 years later, the game had become England’s national sport. The early version had a single wicket and bowling was more like skimming the ball to the batsman. Around 1760, bowling went through a major change directly leading to a redesign of the bat. Bowlers began to pitch the ball making it necessary to produce straighter bats. During the 1800s bowling went through a further change eventually becoming an overarm action. Through the spread of the British Empire, the sport was taken up by nations like Australia, India, South Africa, and regions like North America and the Caribbean. The first ever international took place between the USA and Canada in 1844, while the first test match took place at the Melbourne Cricket Ground when England toured between 1876-1877.
In 1909 representatives of Australia, England and South Africa established the Imperial Cricket Council (ICC) as a governing body for the sport. The early part of the 1900s is widely regarded as the ‘’Golden Age of cricket’’, briefly ended by the First World War. Don Bradman of Australia played between 1928-1948 and is statistically still the greatest batsman of all time. As the game expanded to nations like New Zealand, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, it entered a new era with the emergence of a limited overs variant. In 1965 the ICC became the International Cricket Conference and the current name of then the International Cricket Council in 1989. With the headquarters in Dubia, today the ICC manages a rapidly expanding sport played internationally by both men and women and in several new and exciting formats.