Cricket is back, and it’s growing in popularity around the world! In fact, it has exploded in some places, with hundreds of active clubs across the country or even large professional leagues. Some countries have even considered creating their own national cricket team!
Many people credit the game’s recent resurgence to its wider appeal. It can be enjoyed by anyone at any skill level, there are many variations to play, and you don’t need expensive equipment to get started.
There are also several international competitions every year that draw huge crowds and create big events. This exposure gives the sport a boost and helps it grow more quickly.
This article will talk about the different forms of the game and how they work, what position each player usually plays, and why these roles exist. I’ll also tell you who some famous players are and some interesting facts about the game.
The rise of cricket in Asia
Since its introduction to Japan over one hundred years ago, cricket has seen steady growth across all levels. In fact, some would argue that it has become popular enough to be considered an international sport. It was not until recently though that it saw true mainstream success.
Cricket is played differently between nations due to rule variations and conditions, but there are several key rules that apply to almost every game. One such rule is what happens when the ball crosses the boundary line.
In baseball, this is called a home run, and it scores the team a goal through the field. For softball, however, this is different. When the ball goes beyond the boundaries, it is said to bounce out, and if it bounces back in then it is re-injected into play as a live ball. This means that instead of scoring a goal, players get a new throw at the ball.
This throws off the rhythm of the batsman, so it is designed to break up the flow of the match. More than just keeping people from getting too settled in, it also creates more action per minute, which makes for a better spectacle.
There are many theories about why cricket became less popular in Japan as it grew. Some say that it was because Japanese people do not understand the concept of limited overs games or that the pitches were too hard and slow for the game.
The rise of cricket in the UK
When most people think about cricket, they imagine an oval field with two teams that play each other for 60 minutes using a limited number of balls. What many do not know is that this type of cricket has been around for less than a century!
Traditionally, cricket was played as round-ball rugby. That is, it had no time limit, there were more types of shots (fielders could run between the wickets or even throw the ball), and it used a larger sized ball which took longer to bounce out.
It was only in the 19th century when 30 minute games became popular, and then over the past few decades, 15 minute matches have become the norm. These shorter versions are much easier to watch and access for non-cricket fans who want to give the game a try.
These short formats have made cricket very accessible to new audiences across the globe. There are now well documented cases of major cities like Tokyo and Kuala Lumpur hosting professional cricket leagues within their sports infrastructure.
Football is typically the top sport in any country, but in Japan and Malaysia, cricket has found a home among local crowds. This popularity is growing rapidly as more and more countries introduce official cricket beyond just test match days.
The rise of cricket in the US
When you say the word cricket to someone who is not familiar with it, their first thought likely will be something along the lines of, “But where are the balls?” or perhaps, even more commonly, “What kind of sick person plays a game using only sticks as projectiles!?”
In fact, while bats may contain a ball made of leather or wood, the term ball actually refers to what happens when the bat hits the wicket (the goal being to knock down several parts of the structure).
When a player misses the target by just a few inches, that player gets a small stick called a bollie awarded to them. If they hit the target directly, then they get a large bollo! These usually go into some sort of container for keeping track of how many there are.
This isn’t the case everywhere though; some countries don’t have this system.
The rise of cricket in Australia
When you think about it, most countries with a rich cricket heritage have fallen into one of two categories. Either they still play the game or their development team does.
Some small nations don’t seem to actively promote the sport beyond that. But there are also some countries like England and India who have been playing the game for quite some time but now find themselves struggling to compete against bigger teams in terms of funding and resources.
Australia is definitely in the second group. They might not be investing as much money in developing the game at all levels, but what they are doing seems to be working.
Their national side has won back-to-back ICC tournaments which is an incredible feat given how dominant other big nation sides can be. Their domestic competitions are also well supported which helps turn up attendance at international matches.
And while many people focus only on the success of the national squad, there is a whole network of clubs and leagues across the country where cricket is popular. This includes grassroots level teams right through to top division league competition!
Overall, this means even non–professional players get a chance to enjoy the game on a regular basis. All of these things contribute to the growth and popularity of the game in Australia.
The rise of cricket in South Africa
In August 2017, Cricket Australia (CA) announced that they would be investing $100 million to re-establish the game of cricket in India. They also revealed their plans for an international T20 tournament to take place there next year.
This is not new information, as many people have discussed this before. What is new, though, is the fact that CA has officially acknowledged it. This comes just over two years after Shane Warne made his famous statement about how cricket was “dead” in India.
Since then, however, cricket has seen a significant resurgence across Asia. A number of different countries have introduced or reintroduced cricket at all levels. Some even have professional leagues!
South Africa is one such country. Since the end of apartheid, white minority rule had prohibited any organized sports activity which were considered racially discriminatory.
However, since the dawn of democracy in 1994, black African nations have been able to exercise their freedom of association. Many have chosen to play cricket.
The rise of cricket in India
When most people think about cricket, they imagine white balls being bowled around a field with metal poles for bats and teams chasing down time to win. What many don’t realize is that this version of the game has been replaced by its own offshoot: test rugby-style cricket!
Test cricket was originally played once every two years at the Olympics. It wasn’t until 2000, however, when it became an official ICC event. Since then, it’s gone on to become one of the biggest spectator sports in the world.
There are three different formats of test cricket. Each format comes with its own set of rules and regulations. But what they all have in common is that each takes place over five days, there are no breaks for rest or food, and only forty minutes of play per day.
This can be very difficult to manage during longer tournaments like the World Cup, which we’ve seen happen twice already. This makes it very hard to keep up momentum as games go on for long periods of time and players need to eat and sleep.
In fact, some countries have even banned tests due to this reason! Teams will sometimes play fewer than twenty full innings (sessions) per match if conditions require it.
These things put pressure on both the player and the watching audience, making for some tense moments.
The rise of cricket in Pakistan
After years of neglect, cricket is making a comeback in Pakistan. Since announcing that they would be dropping football (soccer) as their top sport, television coverage has been airing more and longer games of cricket. What kind of cricket these people are watching is typically limited to either Test matches or Twenty-Twenty match tournaments.
These twenty-twenty matches last for just under an hour and occur once a week at most. But this doesn’t make them any less exciting to watch!
In fact, some say it’s even more thrilling than test matches because there isn’t quite as much time to wait before you find out who will win. This is due to how many runs each team scores in such a short amount of time. All twelve players on the field have to be equally important in order to determine the winner.
Another reason why twenty-twenty cricket is so popular is because it allows for fewer breaks in between play. There is only an hour long game which can sometimes feel like too little time if someone gets hit hard.
The rise of cricket in the Caribbean
When you think about it, cricket is kind of unique. It’s played by two teams of fifteen players on a field that barely fits ten thousand people. There are no goals or baskets to shoot with, just a net at one end of the pitch.
It was invented in England more than five hundred years ago and has since spread around the world. But until recently, it didn’t really take off elsewhere than maybe India and Australia.
Now though, as sports like football (soccer) and rugby have found their way into every continent, cricket seems to be doing the same.
And some small countries that don’t quite make the cut for the big boys are bringing in professional leagues and competitions.