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Cricket Fever - History and Gaining Popularity

When we hear or see the word cricket the thoughts that flash our minds are of a Bat and a Ball. Cricket is played on a hard soil surface called as the pitch which is as long as 22 Yards (67 Feets). Cricket was invented in the 16th century by children in the Woodlands in the South-East of England which lies across Kent and Sussex. Apparently one of the most successful teams in the English County Cricket. It actually was considered a game only for children until late 17th Century. But then tables turned for Cricket as the adults were also getting involved in it. It became so popular that in 18th Century it became the country’s National Sport. It is also popularly known as the Gentleman’s Game. It is the 2nd most watched sport in the world after Football(Soccer).

After inception Cricket started getting popularity in the countries where The British Ruled. It became popular in India, The Caribbean Islands, Australia, New Zealand, etc. In no time cricket came to the international level. [Fun Fact: The first international cricket match was not played between England and Australia, It was played between USA and Canada in 1844] In 1862 The English team toured Australia. It was the first overseas tour in the Cricketing Fraternity. Also it is not as easy as it looks; facing a delivery of 140 kph and reacting to it in fraction of seconds is not at all easy. This was about batsmen but its difficult for bowlers too because maintaining a good line and length with speed is very difficult…… One bad ball and you get hammered for a huge six.

International Cricket Council(ICC) is the main orgaanization of international cricket. It is played in 3 formats- The Test, ODI(One Day International), T20. However there are recently started formats like T10 and 3TC. The Test Cricket is the conventional form of cricket where the player is tested both mentally and physically as it is a 5 day match. When Sir Don Bradman played , only test cricket was played. Then came ODI after which a very serious competition started in Cricket which we call as the Cricket World Cup. There is a very interesting story about the invention of the ODI but let’s keep it for some other day. The World Cup started in 1975 in which was won by the mighty West Indies. In 2002 , The shortest form of international cricket T20 was started.

The T20s were completely different from the Book Cricket where players hit boundaries like anything. As the new generation likes fast happening things T20 gained more popularity than The Test. The IPL (Indian Premiere League) brought a sea change in Cricket. It was the first league in cricket like there is La-Liga in football. Suddenly there was plenty of money in cricket. But actually the roots of popularity of cricket in India are related to The famous 1983 World Cup victory under leadership of Kapil Dev. Interesting thing is India went in that tournament as 'The Underdogs'. No one thought that India could even win a single game but they ended up winning the tournament.

This victory changed everything in India. Children started to play it in every nook and corner of the country. International Cricketers were treated as Gods. Youth thought of taking cricket as their career not only on the field but off the field as well. Till now India has produced some Gems at the international level like Sachin Tendulkar , MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli on the field and the legend Cricket analyst Harsha Bhogale off the field.

To cut a long story short I feel that Cricket is a very interesting sport which inculcates a great value of team spirit and of course it increases our fitness and stamina. Let’s get into detail about Test Cricket the next time.

- Vedant Rajesh Kulkarni

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