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The Story of Cricket
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'The Story of Cricket' is an excerpt from Chapter 7 of India and the Contemporary World – I by Ramachandra Guha. Here in this tutorial, we will know about the history of cricket. We will learn about cricket in the context of the growth of the cricket team of our country.
What is the Significance of the story?
'The Story of Cricket' is about the details of cricket in the colonial and postcolonial eras. We get knowledge about the rules of cricket. The author let us know about the struggles and growth of the Indian cricket team. The story is significant because the whole text talks about the background of cricket.
Cricket was born in England out of a stick-and-ball game. It is assumed to happen around 500 years ago. The shape of cricket bats looked more like hockey sticks. The style of playing cricket was different as bowling was from underarm, providing the best chance for the batsman to hit it. Test matches could extend up to five days but also can end in a draw. The pitch of the cricket should be 22 yards. The shape of the ground can be oval or circular, or anything—for example, Adelaide Oval in Australia or Chepauk in Chennai.
In 1744 the first 'Laws of Cricket' was created in written form. There were some rules for maintaining the protocol of the sports. The bails should be six inches that stay across the 22-inch long stumps. The ball used in cricket must be five and six ounces. The distance between two stump sets is 22 yards. The first cricket cup was established in the 1760s in Hambledon. The history of cricket changed when the bowlers changed their bowling style. The concept of swing and spin arrived. The shape of the cricket bat changed to a straight one for the batsman's better adjustment to the bowler's hit. The bat's width must be four inches, and the ball's weight should be between 5½ to 5¾ ounces. The law of LBW (leg before wicket) was established in 1774, and the inclusion of the third stump was also decided then. Three days were fixed as the duration of any big match by 1780, along with an introduction to the six-seam cricket ball.
The primary materials of the cricket bat are leather, cork and twine. In the past, it used to be a single piece of wood, whereas two pieces are used now for making a bat. The blade part is made of willow, and the handle of the bat is made out of cane. All the available materials for cricket were plentifully available in rural England. The ball and bat are always handmade till now and produced without industrial assistance. The availability of cricket tools became abundant after the European colonialists and various trading facilities took the initiative to establish in Asia. Using environment-friendly cricket tools changed when the usage of vulcanised rubber and metal helmets started. The lightweight materials for pads and gloves were better alternatives.
The history of Indian cricket started in Bombay (modern Mumbai) and was initiated by a community of Zoroastrians, the Parsis, who established the Oriental Cricket Club in 1848. There were conflicts between Bombay Gymkhana and Parsi cricketers. Colonial authorities never favoured the Parsi cricketers or the clubs, but they won a match against them in 1889.
Test and one-day matches between national teams are the main game structure of modern cricket. C.K. Nayudu was a famous Indian batsman and will be remembered forever. He was also India's first captain of test matches. Indian cricketers experienced the first test match in 1932. The West Indies team was formed with small countries of the Caribbean. This was also part of the British colonies even after the Second World War.
The history of cricket changed with the onset of the television broadcast. The media helped to expand the cricket audience, and the sport's popularity increased. The children got inspired by the famous players. Satellite television helped people to watch matches all over the world, sitting at any place. Multi-national television companies took the initiative to prioritise cricket for establishing a worldwide market for cricket. India had major cricket viewers, and for this reason, South Asia became a centre for cricket. The ICC headquarters was transferred to tax-free Dubai from London.
The high-profile cricket team of India later compensated for the struggle for space that the Parsi cricket team experienced. The Indian cricketers are among the most famous and highly-paid players in the world now. India's cricket team is no longer struggling as it used to. The roles of technology and global commerce are undeniable in elevating the position of the Indian cricket team.
The text 'The Story of Cricket' is about the history of cricket in the context of both colonial and postcolonial India. The birth of cricket was in England, and the form of the sport changed with time. But some basic things did not change. For example, the materials of cricket bats and balls are conventionally produced till now. We see the struggle of the Parsi cricket clubs that established cricket during the British Raj. Their small struggles became a greater success when we compare today's cricket team of India. The Parsi cricket clubs did not get any support.
Later the global changes in technology and trade brought television and media. It accelerated the success of cricket as the audience expanded worldwide.
The text written by Ramachandra Guha shows the fundamental laws and history of cricket. The struggle of establishing cricket as a sport against the British was not easy for Indians in the colonial period. But the Parsi cricket clubs showed perseverance and succeeded later on. Technology and global commerce changed the perspectives of sports. Now the Indian cricket team have the most famous well-paid players. The scenario has changed with time.
Q1. How was the shape of the first cricket bat?
Ans. The first cricket bat had a resemblance to a hockey stick.
Q2. Who was India's first test captain?
Ans. India's first test captain was C.K. Nayudu.
Q3. How did cricket become a popular sport worldwide?
Ans. The revolutionary improvement in technology and trade made the cricket match accessible to people worldwide. Thus it became popular.
Q4. When 'Laws of Cricket' was written?
Ans. 'Laws of Cricket' was written in 1744.
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