Cricket began as a game in the 13th century in which boys bowled at a tree stump or at the hurdle gate into

a sheep pen. This gate of two uprights and a crossbar (called a bail) resting on the slotted tops was the wicket. The wicket acquired a third stump in the 1770s and by 1706 the pitch between the wickets, was 22 yards long. The ball, once a stone, since the 17th century, weighs between 140 and 170 grams. Its modern weight was laid down in 1774 and circumference standardized in 1838. The primitive bat, a shaped branch of a tree, changed to a straight bat to meet the cult of length bowling which had been evolved by the Hambledon cricketers. The bat was shortened in the handle and straightened and broadened in the blade, which led to forward play, driving, and cutting.

Cricket limited to the southern counties of England during the early 18th century, was transferred to London. Heavy betting and disorderly crowds were common at matches. A famous match was played between Kent and All-England in 1744. The Hambledon Club, in Hampshire was the predominant cricket force in the second half of the 18th century before the rise of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) Founded in London in1787 at Lord's Cricket Ground named after Thomas Lord. It is now the headquarters of world cricket.

In 1788, the MCC published a revised code of laws, of which it remains the controlling body for world cricket, although it has ceded authority in England. In 1836 the first Northcounties-versus-South-counties match was played, clear evidence of the spread of cricket. All England XI, founded by William Clarke In 1846, and the United All England XI 1852 The two teams monopolized the best cricket talent until the rise of county cricket and supplied the players for the first English touring team overseas in 1859.

English settlers introduced cricket in India in the 18th century, and the army helped to popularize it. The Parsis formed the first all-Indian, Orient Cricket Club, in 1848 and in 1877 defeated the Europeans in Bombay. They sent teams to England in 1886 and 1888. The first English side visited India in 1889-90. In 1892-93 the Parsis met the Europeans in the Presidency Matches, which developed into the Bombay Pentangular series with the additional participation of the Hindus, the Muslims, and a team called "The Rest" that was not ethnically connected to the above groups. In 1926-27 the MCC sent a strong side to India. A national championship was instituted in 1934-35 for the Ranji Trophy, and the zonal Duleep Trophy was introduced in 1961-62.

The Ashes - Symbol of victory in the usually biennial cricket Test match series between England and Australia, first staged in 1877. An epitaph published in 1882 after the Australian team had won its first victory over England in England lamented that English cricket was dead and that its body would be cremated and the ashes sent to Australia. The following year an urn containing the ashes of a wicket bail was presented to the captain of the touring English team in Australia. The urn is now kept at Lord's Cricket Ground. Imperial Cricket Conference was founded in 1909 by England, Australia, and South Africa. and they were joined as full members by India, New Zealand, and the West Indies in 1926 and Pakistan in 1952. International Cricket Conference was formed in 1965 and brought in as associate members the United States, Sri Lanka, and Fiji, followed by Bermuda, The Netherlands, Denmark, East Africa, Malaysia, Canada, Gibraltar, Hong Kong, Papua New Guinea, Argentina, Israel, Singapore, West Africa, Bangladesh, Kenya, and Zimbabwe. In 1981 Sri Lanka , in 1992 Zimbabwe. From 1984 Italy, Switzerland, The Bahamas, France, and Nepal entered in a subsidiary class of affiliate membership. In 1989 the ICC changed its name again to the International Cricket Council.

Dr. W.G. Grace

"I puts the ball where I likes, but he puts it where he likes." - famous bowler J.C. Shaw

William Gilbert Grace: b. July 18, 1848.d. Oct. 23, 1915. A national figure as the greatest cricketer in Victorian England with a dominating physical presence, gusto, and inexhaustible energy. He evolved the modern principles of batting and achieved many notable performances on rough and unpredictable wickets, such as are unknown to modern players. In his career in first-class cricket (1865-1908), Grace scored 54,896 runs, registered 126 centuries, and, as a bowler, took 2,876 wickets. In 84 matches for Gentlemen versus Players he amassed 6,000 runs and took 271 wickets. In August 1876 he scored, in consecutive innings, 344 out of 546 for Marylebone Cricket Club versus Kent; 177 out of 262 for the Gloucestershire county team versus Nottinghamshire; and 318, not out, for Gloucestershire versus Yorkshire. In 1880 he was on the English team that played the first Test match against Australia in England. In his last match, on July 25, 1914, when he was 66, his score was 69, not out, for Eltham.

"Black Prince of Cricketers".
Ranji is widely regarded as one of the greatest batsmen of all time, Neville Cardus described him as "the Midsummer night's dream of cricket". He is remembered chiefly for bringing a new style to batting: previously, batsmen generally played forward; Ranji played elegant strokes off the back foot and his popularisation or invention of the leg glance is famous. The most important first-class cricket tournament in India, the Ranji Trophy, was named in his honour In 1907 Ranji became Maharaja Jam Sahib of Nawanagar, and played an important role in improving the living conditions for the people of his home state.

WG Grace leads England off during his final Test, accompanied by Ranji, England v Australia, 1st Test, Nottingham, 1899

Ranji returns after one of the great Ashes innings. The match started three days later because of bad weather, allowing Ranji, who had been laid low with a throat infection, to play. Batting at No. 7 he made 175 as England passed 500 for the first time in a Test. They won the match but went on to lose the series 4-1 , Australia v England, SCG, 1st Test, December 14, 1897

Away from cricket Chappell has become a best-selling author with his books on healthy living and his vegan lifestyle. He is also a respected media commentator in his homeland He acts as patron for a Leukaemia research charity.

Greg Chappell is clearly a legend having retired in January 1984 after amassing a whopping total of 7110 runs to become Australia's highest run scorer beating the previous best of 6996 set by Sir Donald Bradman. A tall right handed batsman he was graceful with an excellent ability to judge what sort of shot he was going to play with the ball still in mid-flight. He started his Test career with a century. In his last Test he made 182 to end his career in the same manner in which he started 13 years earlier. In addition he took three catches to bring his total to 122 - also a new Australian record. He played 87 Test matches, captaining his country on 48 occasions. He won 21. His cricketing achievements saw him honoured by the Queen in 1979 when he was given an MBE.

Viv Richards Hailed as the unofficial King of Antigua, Richards was born with cricket in his blood. His father, Malcolm, was the island's leading fast bowler while both his brothers also played. The attitude he brought with him was an allencompassing irresistible force of nature. He found the boundary as though there weren't any fielders at all. Most memorably he scored 1,710 runs in just eight months in 1976. It started with the New Year's Test against Australia and continued through the series with India at home before he destroyed the English attack that summer. He hit 38 fours in an innings of incredible power and timing that will be remembered as his finest. He broke the record for the highest score by a West Indian in England as he reached a massive 291, sharing century partnerships with Roy Fredericks, Lawrence Rowe and Clive Lloyd.

Introduced to first-class in 1972,he continued to dominate the run charts throughout the 1980s and retired in 1991 He has since become a commentator, after spells as the West Indies coach and selector and was knighted in 1999 for his services to Caribbean cricket.

Sunil Gavaskar: 5ft 4in Sunny delights India. One of the greatest opening batsmen of all time. His cricket technique was near-perfect textbook stuff, based on immense concentration and fierce determination. The complete batsman, able to play virtually every stroke He possessed an excellent judgement of length, sublime balance and quick footwork, and was equally comfortable on his back or front foot. He was the first player to make over 10,000 Test runs, and has a jointly-held record of hitting more Test centuries than any other Test batsman. He scored an astonishing 774 runs at a stunning average of 154.80 in his debut Test series against the West Indies in 1971, and batted like a man possessed against England at the Oval in 1979, after India were chasing a fourth-innings total of 438 for victory. He belted 221 out of India's total of 429-9 to draw the match, including 179 runs on the final day, the highest amount of runs scored by an Indian in a single day of Test cricket.

He was an outstanding performer in the slips, pouching 108 catches, as well as opening the bowling early in his career. Since retiring Gavaskar has put his immense cricketing acumen to use as a popular, sometimes controversial, commentator both on television and in print.

The Little Master

Polly Umrigar - a heroic figure from the late forties to the early sixties One of the all time greats of Indian cricket, Polly Umrigar an allround cricketer, was a stylish batsman and a useful bowler of medium pace. was He is only one of two Indian cricketers (Vinoo Mankad being the other) to score a century and take five wickets in an innings - a feat he achieved against West Indies at Port of Spain in 1962. Umrigar was the first Indian to hit a Test double century - 223 against New Zealand in 1955 From 1962 to 1978 - most Tests, most runs, most centuries. His records were broken by Sunil Gavaskar. His 130 not out in Madras in 1951/52 which helped India to their first Test win against England.

For 30 years he held the record of getting the highest score by an Indian on tour - 252 not out against Cambridge University in 1959.

The Nawab of Pataudi - later Mansur Ali Khan - remains, unarguably, India's greatest ever. As the Indian team captain at the age of 21, barely months after being involved in a car accident that would impair the sight in his right eye forever, he led India in 40 of 46 Tests he played in, and won 12 of them. Under him, India achieved their first overseas Test victory against New Zealand in 1967. This he achieved by playing, three spinners. A bold adventurous batsman, unorthodox for his times he was unafraid to loft the ball over the infield.

Polly Umrigar opening the batting with the Nawab of Pataudi, West Indies, 1962

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