England

 

International Cricket

 

It’s hard to imagine a time in England when cricket wasn’t a thing. Today, it seems almost part and parcel of the British identity. There’s tea, there are scones, and then there’s cricket. But, believe it or not, cricket wasn’t always a thing. At least, not until 1611 (or thereabouts) – but we’ll get to that a little later. 

Although cricket is quintessentially British, the twenty-first century game has spread throughout every continent. Countries like India, Pakistan and Australia now field some of the best teams in the world. In fact, despite the game being created in England, it’s not always easy to put them above any of those countries listed.

Oof. Controversial, we know. But then, that’s why we have international cricket – to answer that age-old question: who really is the best? Every year there are a number of cricket formats played out to millions of fans, including test cricket, ODI cricket and T20 cricket. Within these formats, there is one pinnacle tournament. For test cricket, it is the World Test Championship, and for ODI and T20 it is the World Cup, which take place every four and two years respectively. 

This year, all of those formats are going to be played out once again, but before we get into that, let’s look first at how international cricket became such a cornerstone in sport. We’ll start with the basics:

The 101 of International Cricket

  • The professional game of test cricket started in 1877, when England toured Australia.
  • The first ODI was also started by both England and Australia, who introduced the game to Melbourne in 1971.
  • The first international T20 took place in 2004, this time between the England and New Zealand women’s teams. 
  • There is a lot of discussion over what is the best form of cricket. Many purists will unequivocally point to test cricket, but both ODI and T20 have picked up a large audience in recent years.
  • England’s 2021 test series against India pulled in 9 million viewers in 2021, whilst the T20 World Cup garnered around 167 million.
  • For over 150 years, cricket has gone from strength to strength, making it one of the top three most popular sports in the world today. 

A Long – But Brief – History Of International Cricket

As mentioned previously, cricket has technically been around since 1611. Back then, it was a sort of wacky older brother bowls, with a batsman standing in the way of the target and attempting to hit the ball away. 

From the 17th century, however, the sport was given rules and became its own entity. One hundred years later, in the first half of the 18th century, cricket had become the top sport in England, and it was even introduced to North America, West Indies, New Zealand and Australia by English colonies. This was the first step in introducing the concept of international cricket.

By 1877, Australia had their own XI, playing against England during a two-match tour. The interest in this was stronger than they had anticipated, and the success of the tour led to both teams agreeing on similar tours in the future. In 1882 – during an Australia tour of England – the tournament became known as the “Ashes”, with the trophy coming in the form of a small urn which supposedly contains the ashes of a burnt cricket ball. 

Over the twentieth century, cricket continued to grow in popularity, but the format of the game (played over five days, with two innings each) made it a little harder to engage new fans. This is what led the ICC to introduce a new, shortened version of the game in 1971. This was known as ODI cricket – or One-Day-International cricket. The game has the same rules, but limited overs played with one inning each. Later, in 2003, T20 was introduced to display an even shorter game. With twenty overs each, fans could watch a game played out over two hours, and this has since become the most popular form of cricket today. 

Pakistan VS England Cricket International Match

Topic Timeline

Cricket has been played in some form or other for the past 5 centuries. International cricket was an inevitable progression.

  • 1611: records of a new game involving bat and ball were documented.
  • 17th century: this game became known as cricket. It was given laws and village teams came together to compete in their own competitions.
  • 18th century: English colonists introduced the game to other countries. An action they would later rue when those countries started becoming a little better at it than them!
  • 19th century: the first international cricket test tour was carried out against Australia and England.
  • 20th century: another format of cricket was introduced. It was known as ODI cricket, and would involve fifty overs for each team.
  • 21st century: an even shorter format was created. T20 cricket, which allowed for twenty overs each. 

A Firework Year: International Cricket In 2023

So that leads us up to 2023, but what’s happening this year? Oh, not much really. Only the ODI Cricket World Cup and another Ashes tour, which has been hyped since Ben Stokes performed the Headingley miracle in 2019. That’s right; 2023 is pretty jam-packed with tournaments and excitement. 

We’ll start with the ODI World Cup. This is what many fans recognise as the “ultimate” world cup as far as cricket is concerned, and the last outing wasn’t short on drama. Who can forget the dramatic final, which had to go to a Super Over, only for England to win it on boundaries at the last second? New Zealand is certainly going to want revenge this year, and they might just get it. Since 2019, they have put even more into finding great coaches who have only improved the game they were playing. Players like Kane Williamson and Martin Guptill have a point to prove, and their skill at the bat and ball are making them a formidable force going into India this year.

In terms of the Ashes, Australia will also be wanting revenge. Of course, they did win the last Ashes tour, or at least retain the trophy, but they’ll be wanting more. England, on the other hand, is motivated by a new Test Captain, Ben Stokes, who has entirely reinvigorated the game in England. 

Two years ago, Australia would have been looking at this tournament comfortably, perhaps even with a champagne bottle already ready to pop. But, since Stokes has taken over, England is looking stronger than ever before. The Ashes is anyone’s to play for, and it might even be the most watched tournament since the Flintoff age of 2005.

International Cricket: Famous Players

Speaking of Ben Stokes, he is potentially one of the best players to ever brace the English game. It was 2019 when he truly proved himself. He led England to the ODI World Cup almost single handedly, and his heroics in Headingley are still talked about amongst cricket fans to this day. England were 286-9 with another 71 runs to win the game. Ben Stokes single handedly scored 70 of those runs, ensuring that his partner Jack Leach spent as little time in the crease as possible. It was a masterclass of tactics and bravery, and now that he is England captain, he has installed those same values into the team. 

There are many other greats, however. Sir Donald Bradman, for instance, played for Australia between 1927 and 1949. He is potentially one of the most iconic Australian sportsmen – hence the fact he is still talked about to this day – and his skills with the bat are still unparalleled almost one hundred years later.

Sir Donald Bradman Australian International Cricket Squad

And who can forget Sachin Tendulkar? In many ways, he is still one of the best batsmen to ever grace Indian soil. With 15,921 test runs and a batting average of 53.78 – as well as a bowling average of 54.17 – he was an all rounder who could consistently get India out of tricky situations.  

In terms of ODI and T20, there have been a number of notable alumni over the years. These include Joe Root, the former England captain, who consistently forms a rock at number 3. And we can’t finish without mentioning Viv Richards, either. He was a West Indies cricketer who scored an incredible 8,540 runs in 121 matches – which is an average of 50.23 –  making him the most successful player to come out of the West Indies.

International Cricket: DAZN Bet’s Pop Quiz

We’re aware that was a lot to take in. International cricket has been going on for a long time, with three multiple formats to learn about and understand. This is why we’re going to include a short pop quiz to help you get your head around it all. Don’t worry, we’ll start off easy and get harder as we go along! 

What Is The Difference Between Test, ODI And T20 Cricket?

The differences between all three games are simple. Test Cricket comprises two innings of unlimited overs for each team, played out over the course of five days (or however long it takes to get those two innings finished, although the game cannot go over five days). ODI cricket allows fifty overs for each team, meaning it takes around one day to finish, whilst T20 is just twenty overs for each team.

Who Won The First Ever Test Match?

Australia. That’s right. England brought their game to Australia and lost in the very first match they ever played. Talk about being humbled, hey?

Who Won The First Ever ODI Match?

This was also played against Australia and England. The winner was Australia again. Yeesh.

Who Won The First Ever T20 Match?

The first T20 match was against the England and New Zealand women’s teams, with New Zealand winning by only nine runs.

Who Is The Top Scoring Batsman Of All Time?

The legend known as Sachin Tendulkar has the best record when it comes to runs, having scored 15,921 runs over 200 matches. Not far behind him is Ricky Ponting, who scored a total of 13,378 overall.

Sachin Tendulkar Indian International Cricket

Who Is The Most Successful Bowler Of All Time?

The most successful bowler is Muttiah Muralitharan, who played for Sri Lanka. He took a staggering total of 800 wickets over his test career. Australia’s Shane Warne and James Anderson come in at second and third, with 708 and 675 wickets respectively.

Which Countries Have Won The ODI World Cup?

The ODI Cricket World Cup has been going since 1975, so there have been twelve winners overall. These are West Indies – who have won it twice – India – who have also won twice – Australia – who have won it five times – and Sri Lanka, Pakistan and England, who have all won it once between them. 

Which Countries Have Won The T20 World Cup?

The T20 World Cup is played every two years. Beginning in 2007, it has so far been won once by India, Pakistan, Australia and Sri Lanka, with England and West Indies both winning it twice.

Who Is The Youngest Player Ever To Score Their First Hundred?

Scoring a century in cricket is no easy feat. In test cricket, it demands patience and nerve. In ODI cricket, it demands patience and precision, whilst in T20 cricket, it demands bravery. This is why scoring a century at a young age is so impressive. The youngest cricketer who did this is Mohammad Ashraful of Bangladesh, who scored his debut hundred against Sri Lanka, at the tender age of 17 years old. Just a wee nipper, reaching for the skies.

What Is Considered The Greatest International Cricket Match Of All Time?

Now that’s a question. There is no true answer to this, seeing as every player and fan will have a differing opinion – depending on whether or not their country features! In our opinion, the Ben Stokes Headingley show in 2019 is certainly up there, simply for pure entertainment alone. Others might point to Australia vs India in 2001, or Australia vs the West Indies in 1999. But for us, the best match of all time – even above Headingley – has to go to England vs New Zealand in the ODI 2019 World Cup Final. Drawing after 50 overs and then drawing the Super Over is simply an unheard of affair in cricket. There was nothing between these teams, and seven weeks of the tournament all came down to one ball. The barest of margins. Heartbreak for New Zealand. Absolute ecstasy for England. We will likely never see the likes of this match again.