England is a storied place for the sport, also known as the birthplace of cricket. Cricket has a long history in England, where it was first formally and officially established in the 18th century. The team also, known as the Three Lions has seen some historic victories and successes, but can you believe that they were once a team that had a downfall so bad that they did not even make it out of the group stages of the ICC ODI World Cup in 2015. And in the very next tournament, they’ll transform themselves as one of the biggest nations in the sport, winning the ODI World Cup as the favourites. This is the story of the place where the sport originated, England Cricket Team and The England and Wales Cricket Board.
In this article by ZAP, let’s discuss how one of the worst teams in the 2015 World Cup became the best in the world.
History of Cricket in England:
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Cricket is one of the most popular sports in England, and has been played since the 16th century. It was a popular game played by shepherds and farmers, who used a ball and a stick to hit it. According to the most widely accepted explanation, the sport originated in the early Middle Ages to the south and south-east of London, in the regions known as the North Downs, South Downs, and Weald. As time passed, the sport started gaining popularity among the English nobility. The game evolved, and rules were standardized. The contemporary game and regulations were created by Marylebone Cricket Club, which is situated at Lord's and now is the highest rule keeper of the game.
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Cricket and English Society:
As time passed, the sport grew and started attracting sizable crowds with fans from all backgrounds supporting their local teams. The sport which was just a hobby for people started becoming popular and more competitive. A game that was earlier only considered a sport for the upper class, became increasingly accessible to people from all social classes. The 19th century saw the establishment of County Cricket, which was essential to the growth of the game locally.
The establishment of County Cricket:
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The County championship the domestic first class tournament in England and Wales organised by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB). It is one of the oldest sporting competitions in the world. But what is a county? So, a county in Britain are geographic regions, urban centres and towns divided for easier governance and there are a total of 48 in total. The earliest known inter-county match was played in 1709 and until 1889, the matches played between counties were always unofficial, but it became an official title in 1890. There are eighteen clubs participating in the competition, seventeen from England and one from Wales, all of which are named after and represent historical counties.
The Birth of Test Cricket:
The First Test:
The sport spread throughout the world by the English colonists that colonized areas like America, Canada and Australia. While the sport in Canada and America couldn’t pick up pace and didn’t become as popular, Cricket in Australia became a cultural phenomenon. The first Test matches were games played in Australia in 1877 between an England touring squad and complete Australian XIs.
Credit: Sporting News
This affair between England and Australia continued and were initially dominated by the former nation. But in 1882, when Australia visited the European nation and defeated them at home, gave birth to the biggest rivalry in the sport - The Ashes. A publication described this defeat by saying that Australia will take back the ashes of English cricket, and that’s where we get this name from.
The Growth of Domestic Cricket:
The County Championship:
The County Championship is the major first-class tournament held in England and Wales. The competition features up to 18 county clubs. With 32 titles under their belt, Yorkshire has been the most successful club.
One Day Cricket - Royal London Cup:
The introduction of one-day format in the 1960s brought a new dimension to the game. The first ODI was played on 5 January 1971 between Australia and England at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. The National League was launched in 1999 with the 18 first-class counties split into two divisions. Three teams get promoted and relegated from every season. The matches were played for 45 overs on each side. England and Wales Board also organises a 50-over round robin competition called Royal London One-Day Cup. Royal London One-Day Cup started in 2014 as a replacement for the ECB 40, the predecessor of the tournament.
T20 Blast and The Hundred:
The ECB hosts the T20 Blast, a professional T20 tournament, in England. All the first class counties participate in this competition. The T20 Blast is the domestic tournament that receives the most attention in England. The Hundred, a newly launched format of the sport with only 100 balls for each side and altered rules has taken the world by storm.
The Iconic Cricket Grounds in England:
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Some of the world’s most iconic stadiums are in England. The Lord’s – Officially dubbed as the home of Cricket is one of the oldest stadiums in the world. The ground is a carrier of all the history of the game from part to present. The Old Trafford Ground in Manchester is another ground known for its history. Headingley Ground in Leeds is known for its vibrant atmosphere and historic matches. The Rose Bowl Stadium in Southampton is once of the most beautifully designed venues in the country.
Legends from the England Cricket Team:
This European nation has excelled at producing talent of the highest calibre. Players like Alistair Cook, Ian Botham, Joe Root, Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad have just dominated the test format with their batting and bowling. Ben Stokes is one of the greatest all rounders ever to play the sport and is match winner in all three formats. Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Jason Roy, Liam Livingstone are the backbone of their t20 side. Eoin Morgan was the captain of the World Cup Winning team and was one of England’s ultimate middle order batsmen. The team is a goldmine of talent. That’s the reason English players fetch unimaginable amounts at the IPL Auctions. Sam Curran was sold for 18.5 Crore Rupees to Punjab Kings, making him the most expensive player in the history of the IPL.
England Women's National Cricket Team:
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The development of the sport in England goes beyond just the men's game. Over the years, women's cricket has flourished and the England Women’s National Team is one of the strongest in the world. Led by Captain Heather Knight, they defeated the Indian Women’s Team at the 2017 ICC Women’s ODI World Cup Final at Lord’s to win the tournament for the 4th time. In the 2022 edition, they faced off against Australians in which they saw defeat. But nonetheless, they still remain as one of the strongest in the world. Their accomplishments demonstrate cricket's capacity to unify and empower players and spectators regardless of gender and serve as a tribute to the sport's enduring history.
Cricket in England encapsulates both tradition and innovation as the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) safeguards this sport. The rich history of the men’s and the women’s team has inspired a new wave of talent that are ready to take the success of the country to the next level. The iconic and the historic stadiums also add to the growing heritage of the nation in the team. As we look ahead, the future of the the sport looks promising both at the domestic stage, with tournaments like The Hundred and upcoming stars like Harry Brook and Josh Tongue.
Now that you've read this article, here are some that await you: