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Story Of Cricket
 
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WG Grace & Graham Gooch

From Hambledon to Manchester Stadium via Lord's

 

Cricket was popular and widely documented in England during the 1700s.

The world's first cricket club was formed in Hambledon in the 1760s and the world-famous Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) was founded in 1787.

Until the International Cricket Council emerged as the world controling body in 1967, the MCC had been the sole authority which had final say on every issue and dispute.

The MCC still has jurisdiction over the rules of the game.

Early stages
• First reference in 1598
• Hambledon formed in 1760s
• MCC founded in 1787
• First Test match played in 1877
WG Grace played the biggest role in popularising the game; He was reckoned to be the third most recognisable Victorian, behind the Queen and Prime Minister, Gladstone.

The touring English side played the first ever Test match against Australia in Melbourne at MCG. The series now known as "Ashes" was born.

Ashes dominated the international cricket during the nineteeenth century.

It was the only series played for another couple of decades although South Africa, India and the West Indies soon joined the club of Test playing nations.

The MCC now controls Lord’s Cricket ground, which is considered to be the home of cricket by all cricket loving nations.

It does not have the best of pitches, it does not have the best of playing fields but it has got an atmosphere you can feel
Don Bradman on Lord's grounds
 
With the British Empire growing fast, many expatriates took the game with them, introducing it to such far-flung places as Australia, Africa, the Caribbean and India.

In cities like Mumbai and Chennai the locals picked up cricket by imitation, watching British soldiers and copying their moves and methods.

In its journey through centuries although England’s attempt to get hold of the world’s title has been unsuccessful, it is still cricket’s spiritual home.

The BBC's cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew presents the English episode of the Story of Cricket on the BBC World Service.

Story of Cricket - England
 
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