No one knows when or where cricket began but there
is a body of evidence, much of it circumstantial, that strongly suggests
the game was devised during Saxon or Norman times by children living in
the Weald, an area of dense woodlands and clearings in south-east
England that lies across Kent and Sussex. In medieval times, the Weald
was populated by small farming and metal-working communities. It is
generally believed that cricket survived as a children's game for many
centuries before it was increasingly taken up by adults around the
beginning of the 17th century.
Derivation of the name of "cricket":
A number of words are thought to be possible
sources for the term "cricket". In the earliest known reference to the
sport in 1597 (see below), it is called creckett. The name may have been
derived from the Middle Dutch krick(-e), meaning a stick; or the Old
English cricc or cryce meaning a crutch or staff . Another possible
source is the Middle Dutch word krickstoel, meaning a long low stool
used for kneeling in church and which resembled the long low wicket with
two stumps used in early cricket.
First definite reference:
John Derrick played cricket at The Royal Grammar
School in Guildford
Despite many prior suggested references, the first
definite reference to the game is found in a 1597 court case concerning
dispute over a school's ownership of a plot of land. A 59-year old
coroner, John Derrick, testified that he and his school friends had
played cricket on the site fifty years earlier. The school was the
Royal Grammar School, Guildford, and Mr. Derrick's account proves beyond
reasonable doubt that the game was being played in Surrey.
Early seventeenth century:
A number of references occur up to the English
Civil War and these indicate that cricket had become an adult game
contested by parish teams, but there is no evidence of county strength
teams at this time. Equally, there is little evidence of the rampant
gambling that characterized the game throughout the 18th century. It is
generally believed, therefore, that village cricket had developed by the
middle of the 17th century but that county cricket had not and that
investment in the game had not begun.
Cricket moves out of England:
Cricket was introduced to North America via the
English colonies in the 17th century , probably before it had even
reached the north of England. In the 18th century it arrived in other
parts of the globe. It was introduced to the West Indies by colonists
 and to India by British East India Company mariners in the first
half of the century . It arrived in Australia almost as soon as
colonization began in 1788 . New Zealand and South Africa followed in
the early years of the 19th century.
International cricket begins:
The first Australian touring team (1878) pictured
at Niagara Falls
The first ever international cricket game was
between the USA and Canada in 1844. The match was played at the grounds
of the St George's Cricket Club in New York.
In 1859, a team of leading English professionals
set off to North America on the first-ever overseas tour and, in 1862,
the first English team toured Australia.
Between May and October 1868, a team of Australian
Aborigines toured England in what was the first Australian cricket team
to travel overseas.
In 1877, an England touring team in Australia
played two matches against full Australian XIs that are now regarded as
the inaugural Test matches. The following year, the Australians toured
England for the first time and were a spectacular success. No Tests were
played on that tour but more soon followed and, at The Oval in 1882,
arguably the most famous match of all time gave rise to The Ashes. South
Africa became the third Test nation in 1889.
21st century cricket:
Cricket remains a major world sport in terms of
participants, spectators and media interest.
The ICC has expanded its Development Program with
the goal of producing more national teams capable of competing at Test
level. Development efforts are focused on African and Asian nations; and
on the United States. In 2004, the ICC Intercontinental Cup brought
first-class cricket to 12 nations, mostly for the first time.
In June 2001, the ICC introduced a "Test
Championship Table" and, in October 2002 a "One-day International
Championship Table". Australia has consistently topped both these tables
in the 2000s.
Cricket's newest innovation is Twenty20,
essentially an evening entertainment. It has so far enjoyed enormous
popularity and has attracted large attendances at matches as well as
good TV audience ratings. The inaugural ICC Twenty20 World Cup
tournament was held in 2007. The formation of Twenty20 leagues in India
- the unofficial Indian Cricket League, which started in 2007, and the
official Indian Premier League, starting in 2008 - raised much
speculation in the cricketing press about their effect on the future of