Cricket is thought to have started as a game in which village lads bowled at a tree stump or at the hurdle gate into a sheep corral as early as the 13th century. This gate was made up of two uprights, a crossbar that rested on the slotted tops, and the gate as a whole, which was known as a wicket. This was preferred to the stump, which was eventually used to refer to the hurdle uprights, since the bail could be moved when the wicket was struck. The size of the wicket, which got a third stump in the 1770s, varies in early manuscripts, but by 1706, the pitch—the space between the wickets—was 22 yards long.
Since the 17th century, not much has changed with the ball, which was probably initially a stone. In 1774, the weight was fixed at between 5.5 and 5.75 ounces (156 and 163 grams).
Undoubtedly a shaped branch of a tree, the ancient bat was similar to a current hockey stick but much longer and heavier. To defend against length bowling, which had developed with players in Hambledon, a tiny community in southern England, the straight bat was changed. Forward play, driving, and cutting were made possible by the bat’s shorter grip and wider, straighter blade. Through the 18th century, batting predominated bowling due to the lack of improved bowling technique at the time.
The initial years
A 50 guinea wager was made in Sussex for an 11-a-side game that was first mentioned in 1697. It is likely that a system of laws (rules) regulating the conduct of the game existed about this time, but the earliest publication of such regulations is dated 1744. Kent and Surrey played each other in the first documented intercounty match in 1709 at Dartford. Early in the 18th century, according to some sources, cricket was only popular in the southern counties of England. However, as time went on, it gained popularity and eventually made its way to London, particularly to the Artillery Ground in Finsbury, where a famous match between Kent and All-England took place in 1744. Intense betting and unruly audiences were frequent at games.
Before the growth of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) in London, the aforementioned Hambledon Club, playing in Hampshire on Broadhalfpenny Down, was the predominate cricket power in the second half of the 18th century. Originally a cricket team that competed in White Conduit Fields, the team changed its name to the MCC in 1787 and moved to the Lord’s Cricket Ground in the St. Marylebone Borough ( cricket match today ). The following year, the MCC released its first updated set of laws. In its history, Lord’s, which was named for its founder, Thomas Lord, has been in three different cities. In 1814, Lord’s relocated to its current location in St. John’s Wood and became the center of international cricket.
The first cricket match between North and South counties was played in 1836, which amply demonstrated how popular the sport had become. From 1852, when some of the top professionals—including John Wisden, who would later compile the first of the renowned Wisden almanacs on cricketing—separated to form the United All-England XI, these two teams monopolized the best cricket talent until the rise of county cricket. The All-England XI was founded by William Clarke of Nottingham and started touring the country in 1846. In 1859, they provided the players for the first English squad that traveled abroad.