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A Look at the History of Cricket in England

Cricket is slowly becoming a popular sport among the Brits. However, the history of cricket in England proves it wasn’t always recognized as a formal sport. 

Cricket in England: How Far has it Come?   

Cricket was almost non-existent among the brits until it gained recognition a few decades ago. This was due in part to the elite taking up a sport that was historically considered primitive. Britons perceived the sport as a poor attempt at making a game out of a primitive, less-exciting, baseball-like sport. With sports like football, rugby, tennis, and even horse racing taking the lead among popular sports in England, cricket experienced a slow rise to recognition. There have plenty of drawbacks along the way. With time, the sport has become a household name, and cricket betting is set to take off to levels equivalent to rugby and football associations.

So what’s the history of cricket in England? 

Late 20th Century England Cricket Team.

Cricket in England – How it all Began.  

Historically, the game was played among children, not in the least entertained among adults. The ball was delivered along the ground, which is probably why it was perceived as a primitive sport. That, and the fact that the balls were created out of discarded clothing material, made it a sport to be played away from the elders.

This is why most cricket players were sent to engage in this activity in outfields. These would be grazing areas for sheep, and incidentally, the majority of players at the time were in fact shepherds. Enter the 1600s and working men began to embrace the sport. It is these men who shed light on the sport, making it a profitable one too as punters took to cricket betting for the first time. 

Fast forward to the 20th century when England took part in its first ODI or One Day International. They faced off against Australia and a few decades after that, elite British schools were embracing the sport too. Elite learning institutions like Eton motivated their students to take on the sport, which had historically been viewed as a non-starter for civilized individuals.

 England vs Australia during an ODI Match. 

Professional Cricket:  

Not surprisingly, professional cricket is currently played in several countries across the world. Of these counties, England is a major competitor. The brits participate in test matches, One Day International games, and of course, the renowned Twenty20 Games. Of the test matches, England is involved in seven of them annually, with a couple of One-Day events scheduled as well. From a primitive sport to an internationally recognized game, cricket has gained numerous fans worldwide. 

England’s greatest competitor is Australia, as far as cricket is concerned. With time, the game has experienced a downward spiral, due in part to lack of support and of course, the advent of Covid-19. These events, however, haven’t stopped sponsors and supports from lobbying for more support. 

How does it Rank?

For a game that never stood a chance against football, rugby, and the like, it seems to have found its footing in England. This placing has it ranked number 2, next to Australia. These numbers combine men’s and women’s cricket, not forgetting the Twenty20 games. 

Accessibility and Popularity.  

We’ve ascertained that the game has shot up the popularity rankings within the United Kingdom. Exposure of the game to local fans changed too. Back in the day, free-to-air television would show the games to the delight of many. Nowadays, however, it’s more of a money-line for businessmen and punters everywhere.

The game’s popularity hasn’t reached the status of football or rugby. Talented players in the cricket league get a chance at fame profoundly more when their images appear on charities and other campaigns. 

Funnily enough, this game is officially England’s major summer sport. A far cry from its days of rag-balls and sticks for bats, the game has international recognition. Part of the recognition is support from the England and Wales Cricket Board, as well as the ICC, or International Cricket Council. 

 ICC Championship Trophy 

Conclusion.  

Not all games see the rise to stardom that cricket has experienced in the last couple of centuries. Ranking in at number two against countries like India, West Indies, and even Pakistan, the game seems set to attract even more players, but more importantly, more financing. The support a game receives, be it moral support or financial aid, goes a long way in establishing it as a profession. It remains to be seen if the year 2020 will affect cricket like it did other sports. It’s more likely that the stage is now set for cricket to receive the accolades, and support it deserves. Batter up.

This article was brought to you by The Cricket Paper, the UK's best-selling cricket publication, on-sale every Sunday.
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