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The origins of cricket are quite obscure, ...

... and there are different theories on how it came up.

One of the theories says that shephers used to play such a game. One of the players stood in front of the sheeps' wicket gate and another player threw a stone of something the like towards his direction. The first player had to hit the stone with his crooked stick. The shepherd's stick was called "cricce". This could be the origin of today's word cricket.

Another theory is based on the assumption that the word cricket originates from "cricquet". A cricquet was a knee stool used in churches to kneel down. The form of this stool was similar to root sticks formerly used in batting games.

Another theory derives cricket from an old game called club ball.

Originally, cricket was played primarily by youngsters and farmers. It was not before the late 17th century that society started getting interested in the game. At the same time, however, some say that already back in 1300 a cricket game was played between Prince Edward and his friend Piers Gaveston.

The first known photographs were taken 1857. It was Roger Fenton who took them on the Artiellery Ground where the royal artillery played against Hounsdonbury.

On June 29, 1709, the first cricket game was played between two counties, namely Surrey against Kent. The game took place in Dartford Brent.

Around the same time, cricket started being played abroad. Henry Teonge, a marine priest, mentioned in his diary that Englishmen played cricket in Aleppo and the Levantine.

The first known cricket centres emerged in England, first Hambledon and later Lord's - which is famous till today. The Hambledon club was founded in 1763 in a small village in Hampshire, south England. It attracted mainly rich gentlemen and for 25 years was the club with the best players.

In 1787, Thomas Lord opened his first stadium in Dorset Fields (today's Dorset Square) in London. Here, in the so-called Lord's Ground, the Earl of Winchelsea and the Duke of Richmond founded the Marylebone CRicket Club (MCC). The MCC arranged its first big game in Dorset Fields in May 1787, when Middlesex beated Essex. In 1810, the turf was replaced to St. Johns Wood and later, in 1814, to its present location, where it was surrounded by high fences and where an inn and a pavilion were built.

In the early 19th century, the MCC was known as the leading cricket club and the only real cricket authority. Changes made by the MCC in the game's rules were adopted by all cricket players.

Like the shepherd's crook, the first bats were sticks and clubs. They later made place to longer and thinner bats which resembled straightened hockey bats. The ball was bowled from the armpit and the batsman swung the bat like a stick.

By the 18th century the bat changed to the longer and heavier version still used today. That time, it was carved out of a single piece of wood.

Today's bat was introduced in 1853. Nowadays, the lower part of the bat, the blade is made from willow and the handle is a cane coated with rubber in order to allow for a better grip. The joint between batting piece and handle is a v-shaped prolongation of the handle.

The old "balls" were stones or other projectiles. Indeed, they were rather dangerous. Therefore, it is not astonishing that sometime somebody came up with an alternative. Today's balls are made of cork and coated with handsewn red dyed leather.

The wicket today consists of three stumps driven into the ground one beside the other. Originally, there were only two stumps. There was a time, they used four stumps. The overall size of the wicket also changed with the time. In the 17th century, the stumps were up to 2 metres apart from each other.

 

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