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. It is generally believed that cricket survived as a children's game. Adult participation is unknown before the early 17th century. Possibly cricket was derived from bowls
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 1598 (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.
Early 17th century
Gambling and press coverage
Cricket certainly thrived after the Restoration in 1660 and is believed to have first attracted gamblers making large bets at this time. In 1664, the "Cavalier" Parliament passed the Gaming Act 1664 which limited stakes to £100.With freedom of the press having been granted in 1696, cricket for the first time could be reported in the newspapers. During the first half of the 18th century, press reports tended to focus on the betting rather than on the play
Patronage and players
Gambling introduced the first patrons because some of the gamblers decided to strengthen their bets by forming their own teams and it is believed the first "county teams" were formed in the aftermath of the Restoration in 1660, especially as members of the nobility were employing "local experts" from village cricket as the earliest professionals.
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.
Development of the Laws
In 1744, the Laws of Cricket were codified for the first time and then amended in 1774, when innovations such as lbw, middle stump and maximum bat width were added. These laws stated that the principals shall choose from amongst the gentlemen present two umpires who shall absolutely decide all disputes.
Cricket and crisis
Cricket faced its first real crisis during the 18th century when major matches virtually ceased during the Seven Years War. This was largely due to shortage of players and lack of investment. But the game survived.Cricket faced another major crisis at the beginning of the 19th century when a cessation of major matches occurred during the culminating period of the Napoleonic Wars. Again, the causes were shortage of players and lack of investment. But, as in the 1760s, the game survived and a slow recovery began in 1815. In the 1820s, cricket faced a major crisis of its own making as the campaign to allow roundarm bowling gathered pace.
International cricket begins
The first ever international cricket game was between the USA and Canada in 1844. In 1859, a team of leading English professionals set off to North America on the first-ever overseas tourIn 1877, an England touring team in Australia played two matches against full Australian XIs that are now regarded as the inaugural Test matches. South Africa became the third Test nation in 1889
When the Imperial Cricket Conference (as it was originally called) was founded in 1909, only England, Australia and...