Related links: ProgrammesArchiveStory of Cricket  
Story Of Cricket
Story of Cricket
Graced & disgraced

The birth and the journey through centuries


The first published references to cricket were in the late 1600s, when fines were handed out for those missing church to play.

One theory suggests origins of the game being among shepherds hitting a stone with their crooks and, at the same time, defending the wicket gate into the sheep fold.

The other theory traces the word criquet to the Flemish krickstoel, a piece of furniture on which one kneels in church.

In its infancy, cricket was very much an English sport but with the British Empire growing fast, many expatriates took the game with them to such far-flung places as Australia, Africa, the Caribbean and India.
Birth of Cricket
• First reference in Guildford in 1598
• First published reference in 1600s

The former colonies still take great pleasure in beating England at their own game.

When Australia defeated England in 1882, despite having the legendary W G Grace in its ranks, a mock obituary ran in the Sporting Times “in affectionate remembrance of English cricket, which died at the Oval on 29th August, 1882.”

Sir Don Bradman is regarded as the greatest ever player the game has produced - his test average of 99.94 will never be beaten.

The twentieth century has seen controversies emerging in the game, too: for example, England's attempt to stop "non-stoppable" Don Bradman with " Bodyline bowling" in 1932 almost resulted in Australia's resignation from the British Empire.

During the late 1970s a breakaway tournament, called the World Series, split the game in two.

South Asia dominates the international arena with four Test playing nations. Three of those countries managed to get hold of the cricketing world’s biggest prize - the world cup.

The relatively small Caribbean population has produced many of the cricketing legends so far.
Cricket is the glue which keeps us together. For over 75 years, we've done extremely well for just five million people
Clive Lloyd

Despite South Africa’s dominance of the game, cricket has spread like wildfire through the whole of Africa over the last ten years and minnows like Kenya managed to reach the semi-finals of the world cup.

The West Indies were the only team to win two world cup titles until Australia equalled the record in 1999.

Despite various controversies cricket is gradually becoming one of the most dominant games in the world.

Sports International of the BBC world Service presents "Story of Cricket".

Listen to the full series
^^ Back to top Back to Index >>