Ten Things You Probably Don’t Know About Cricket

From: Ian Canaway

If you’re reading this article I’m guessing you’re probably a big cricket fan. But do you know all there is to know about the sport? Even if you live, breathe and play or coach the sport, you probably don’t know everything…Read on to learn some interesting facts about cricket’s history that will enlighten even the game’s most ardent fan.

Origins of ‘cricket’…

Despite being familiar with a plethora of cricketing terminology, we rarely stop to question the origins of these words. Interestingly, ‘cricket’ did not begin its life as so, and is termed ‘creckett’ in its first record.

Other terms have more straightforward derivations; ‘wicket’ originated from the word meaning small gate and ‘googly’ is so named due to its effect on the batsman’s eyes.

Cricket – ‘civilising‘ the world…


Cricket has been a runaway success in India (Image via Wikipedia)

After becoming estabilished in England, cricket gained in popularity throughout the colonies as a British export; it was thought to exert a ‘civilising effect’ on native peoples during the time of the Empire. The first game of cricket played in India was one between locals and British Army soldiers. The growth of the sport in the country proceeded to exceed all expectations and Indian cricket has fielded legends such as Sachin Tendulkar who as of 2011 has scored more runs than any other player.

Certainly, India’s cricketing success seems indicative of a strong legacy of the sport in the country. It is often forgotten that early participation was restricted to European settlers and the first Indian cricket clubs maintained a strong ethos of European exclusivity.

A comparable divide characterised English cricket until 1963, when the distinction between professional (gentlemen) players and amateurs was nullified. Prior to this, exclusivity had restricted participation in the sport and prevented universal access to some of the most well established clubs.

Two stumps not three?


Profile of the Modern Wickets & Bail (Image via Wikipedia)

It is a little known fact that the batsman defended not three stumps but two until 1775. Upon this date, it was decided that the modification was necessary in order to do justice to the bowler, and the change embedded itself successfully into the game. cricket stumps

Likewise, players and fans of cricket are largely unaware that the modern method of touching or grounding the bat over the popping crease represents another development in the sport. Originally, a batsman would have been required to insert his bat into a hole that lay between the stumps; a practice abandoned in the 18th century in order to combat the high prevalence of wrist injuries amongst batsmen.

Today, cricket would be unthinkable without its displays of aggressive bowling, yet this has not always been the case. Much controversy surrounded the so called shift from bowling to ‘throwing’ the ball as it was thought to discourage skilful batting. See the Young Cricketer’s Tutor for the full story and more on the interesting history of early cricket.


1935 Women’s Test Match (Image via Wikipedia)

Women’s cricket…

Although much is known about men’s cricket, information on the women’s game is less well publicised. Women started out as tea ladies serving at the cricket grounds and from this position began to play the game themselves.

It may then surprise you to learn that the Women’s World Cup was established before the men’s version of the competition.

Further reading:
  • Ten Little Known Cricketing Facts
  • The Young Cricketer’s Tutor
  • The History of Cricket in 60 Seconds

All the best,

Ian Canaway

P.S. Now go play some cricket!

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