Cricket is one of the world’s most popular games, and is enjoyed socially and competitively in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. The game started in the Test Match format, before evolving to include One Day Cricket, and, more recently T20. The game has a huge following in countries like Australia, India, England, and Pakistan.
But, cricket also has a great deal of cultural significance, and, as such, is one of the most important sports in the modern world. To understand why it’s so important, and to look at the cultural impact and significance of the sporty, we need to know more about it and examine a bit about the history of the game.
History of the game
Cricket began, in its earliest form, as far back as the 16th Century, when a rudimentary form of the game started. It would evolve and expand from there, developing deeper rules and a greater following. And, by the 18th Century, it had become the national sport in England. From here it would begin to branch out across the globe, with test matches being played from around 1844 onwards.
The expansion of the British Empire took cricket to the far reaches of the globe. Africa and Asia embraced the game wholeheartedly, as did other commonwealth nations, such as Australia. The Brits who went over there introduced local people to the game of cricket, and they fell in love with it. No place in the world has been as successful in cricketing terms as the sub-continent.
The great thing about cricket is how well it has united the nations who have embraced the game. India is one of the countries where cricket has helped to unite all areas of the country. This is particularly prevalent when looking at some of the poster boys for Indian cricket – Sachin Tendulkar, and Virat Kohli. The game itself is also considered pivotal in India gaining its own eventual independence.
In June 1932, there was a Test match at Lord’s against England. There were almost 25,000 people in attendance, including the King of England, who was also the Emperor of India. The match was said to have instilled the belief of nationhood in the Indian people and would be instrumental in helping them claim independence.
England was, of course, the dominant force in world cricket, at least to begin with. India recorded their first test victory in 1952. At this time Pakistan also received Test status, which would begin a rivalry between the two nations. This blending of cultures proved important in helping to build bonds between the two sides.
There were, of course, also developments further afield, with nations like South Africa and Australia developing intense cricketing cultures. They would develop teams over a number of years, and enjoy great success. Australia, in particular, enjoyed an intense, but often good-natured, rivalry with England.
In more recent times English cricket has enjoyed something of a mercurial journey. But, one thing is for sure, that blend of cultures still remains. In fact, over the past decade or so, many people of other nations have represented England. For example, Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Strauss were South African born, Anthony Stokes is from New Zealand, and Graeme Hick was born in Zimbabwe. As the Australians once sang during an Ashes Test at Lord’s, “You’ve got the whole world in your team!”