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    The oldest cricket bat still in existence is dated to 1729. Note the shape of the bat, which is closer to that of a modern-day hockey stick than to that of a modern-day cricket bat.

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    An artwork depicting the history of the cricket bat.

    Origins
    Cricket's most likely birthplace is the Weald, an area of dense woodlands and clearings in south-east England that lies across Kent and Sussex. The game was probably devised by children of the Weald's farming and metalworking communities. There is evidence to suggest that it survived as a children's game for many centuries before it was increasingly taken up by adults around the beginning of the 17th century. The game's origin seems to have been in Norman or perhaps Saxon times (i.e., before 1066).

    Playing on sheep-grazed land or in clearings, the original implements may have been a matted lump of sheep?s wool as the ball; a crook or other farm tool as the bat; and a gate (i.e., a wicket gate) or a treestump as the wicket. It is possible that the game was derived from the older sport of bowls by the introduction of a "batsman" to stop the ball reaching its target by hitting it away. There seems little doubt that the game had a rustic upbringing and it is significant that the Wealden counties and neighbouring Surrey were the earliest centres of excellence. Eventually, it spread north to London and west to Hampshire, the two places that cemented its popularity in the 18th century.

    According to some other theories, cricket originated outside England and was brought there by the Normans after 1066. As early as the 8th century, bat and ball games were played in the Punjab region of southern Asia ? the ancestors of games such as gilli-danda and perhaps polo. Like the other great recreational import of the time, chess, these sports are believed to have migrated via Persia and through Constantinople into Europe. There are 8th and 9th century accounts of bat and ball games being played in the Mediterranean region, sometimes as church-sponsored events to promote community spirit. If the games reached France in this manner, it is reasonable to assume they would cross the Channel and be introduced in England. But all of this is speculation and there is general agreement among cricket historians that the sport did originate in south-east England.

    Early references are few, far between and sometimes spurious. Some manuscripts from the 12th and 13th centuries show diagrams which have been interpreted as early forms of cricket, but there is no definite evidence to support these conjectures. In c.1183, Joseph of Exeter wrote an account of a community activity played by both sexes which he called cricks, but there is nothing to prove that it was a form of cricket. The evidence is circumstantial only.

    The first clue we have which is reasonably convincing comes from the Royal Wardrobe accounts of King Edward I (aka Edward Longshanks) for 1299-1300. This records that ?6 was paid out for the 15-year old Prince Edward to play creag and other games at Newenden in Kent. Although there is no evidence that creag was a form of cricket, it does at least seem a likely suspect, especially given the location.

    There are no other references until 1597, not even to indicate commercial interest in the game by innkeepers or other entrepreneurs. Cricket, if it was played at all, did not have sufficient popularity to be subjected to any kind of specific sanction, unlike some other games. For example, a statute of King Edward IV in 1477?8 (17 Edw.IV c.3) made the playing of handyn and handoute illegal because it interfered with the compulsory practice of archery.

    In 1597 there was a dispute over a school's ownership of a plot of land in which a 59-year old coroner, John Derrick, testified that he and his school friends had played kreckett on the site fifty years earlier. This is generally considered to be the first definite mention of cricket in the English language - the school was the Royal Grammar School, Guildford, and Mr Derrick's account proves beyond reasonable doubt that the game was being played c.1550.

    In the following year John Florio, in his Italian-English dictionary defined the verb sgillare as to make a noise as a cricket, to play cricket-a-wicket, and be merry. However, some historians consider this to be a spurious reference.

    Until the 17th century, cricket may have developed primarily as a boy's game. The first reference to it being played as an adult sport was in 1611, when two men in Sussex were prosecuted for playing cricket instead of going to church. In the same year, another dictionary defines cricket as a boys' game and this suggests that adult participation was a recent development.

    There are other mentions of cricket prosecutions in the years that followed and even of two fatalities. In 1646 an organised game for a bet of a dozen candles gave rise to a lawsuit.

    After the English Civil War, which ended in 1648, the new Puritan government clamped down on unlawful assemblies, in particular the more raucous sports such as football. Their laws also demanded a stricter observance of the Sabbath than there had been previously. As the Sabbath was the only free time available to the lower classes, cricket's popularity may have waned during the Commonwealth. Having said that, it did flourish in public fee-paying schools such as Winchester and St Paul's. There is no actual evidence that Cromwell's government banned cricket specifically and there are references to it during the interregnum that suggest it was acceptable to the authorities providing it did not cause any "breach of the Sabbath".

    Cricket certainly thrived after the Restoration in 1660 and is believed to have attracted gamblers making large bets at this time. In 1664, the "Cavalier" Parliament passed a Gambling Act which limited stakes to ?100, although that was a fortune at the time. Cricket had certainly become a significant gambling sport by the end of the 17th century. We know of a "great match" played in Sussex in 1697 which was 11-a-side and played for high stakes of 50 guineas a side.

    See also: History of cricket to 1696; History of cricket 1697 - 1725

    During the 18th century, cricket thrived because of the money it attracted through patronage and gambling to become a major sport. In 1748, a London magistrate accepted that cricket is a "manly game" that was not bad in itself, but condemned its "ill use" by betting above the legal limit. All the law did, however, was to force the bets to be for "eleven pairs of gloves" or "eleven velvet caps". These sound innocuous enough, but in reality would be very valuable items. By this time, cricket had attracted the attention of aristocrats like the Duke of Richmond who were prepared to stage matches at great expense in the hope of significant returns.


    The oldest cricket bat still in existence is dated to 1729. Note the shape of the bat, which is closer to that of a modern-day hockey stick than to that of a modern-day cricket bat.Cricket must have had agreed rules, subject to local variations, for a long time but the earliest known Laws were ratified in 1744. The game continued to spread and, in 1751, Yorkshire is first mentioned as a venue. The original form of bowling (i.e., rolling the ball along the ground as in bowls) was superseded sometime after 1760 when bowlers began to pitch the ball and study variations in line, length and pace. Scorecards began to be kept on a regular basis from 1772 and since then we have an increasingly clear picture of the sport's development. The Laws of Cricket were updated in 1774 and it was at this time that current features like the third stump and lbw came into being.

    The famous Hambledon Club first achieved prominence in 1756 and was the focal point of the game for the next thirty years until the formation of MCC and the opening of Lord's in 1787. MCC quickly became the game's premier club and the custodian of the Laws.

    See also: History of cricket 1726 - 1815
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  2. #2
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    Derivation of the name of "cricket"
    A number of words are thought to be possible sources for the term cricket, which could refer to the bat or the wicket. In old French, the word criquet meant a kind of club which probably gave its name to croquet. Some believe that cricket and croquet have a common origin. In Flemish, krick(e) means a stick, and, in Old English, cricc or cryce means a crutch or staff (though the hard /k/ sound suggests the North or Northeast midlands, rather than the Southeast, where cricket seems to have begun).

    Alternatively, the French criquet apparently comes from the Flemish word krickstoel, which is a long low stool on which one kneels in church which may appear similar to the long low wicket with two stumps used in early cricket, or the early stool in stoolball. The word stool is old Sussex dialect for a tree stump, and stool ball is a sport similar to cricket played by the Dutch.
    Codification of rules
    The first recorded codification of the rules of cricket is the Code of 1744. This specified that:

    the pitch be 22 yards long,
    the distance between the bowling crease and popping crease be 46 inches,
    the wickets be 22 inches tall and 6 inches wide,
    and the ball weigh between 5 and 6 ounces.
    On September 23, 1771, Shock White of Reigate used a bat fully as wide as a wicket against the Hambledon Club. This prompted the Hambledon Club to record a minute to the effect that the maximum width of a cricket bat be set at four and a quarter inches. Other clubs quickly adopted this standard, using metal gauges to check the size of bats before allowing their use.

    The first printed version of the rules was published by W Read in 1775. Then in 1788, the Marylebone Cricket Club published a set of Laws of Cricket, which contained the first complete codification of the rules of the game and the dimensions of the pitch and equipment. Other cricket clubs across England quickly adopted the MCC's Laws and cricket became standardised for the first time. The MCC remains the custodian of the Laws of Cricket to the present day. The laws were recodified in 1947, 1980 and 2000.
    Development of rules

    An artwork depicting the history of the cricket bat. (Click on the image for larger view)In 1821, the distance between the bowling and popping creases was increased from 46 to 48 inches. On May 10, 1838, the size of a cricket ball was codified for the first time, being a circumference between 9 and 9 1/4 inches.

    By 1853, the cricket bat had been developed into roughly its modern form, being carved from a single piece of willow and attached to a cane handle.

    In 1864, overarm bowling was allowed for the first time. Prior to this, only underarm bowling had been legal.

    In 1865, creases were painted with whitewash for the first time. Prior to this, the creases were cut into the turf, forming small ditches an inch in width and depth.

    In 1889 a bowler may change ends as often as he likes in an innings (subject to not bowling two consecutive overs) (previously he could only change ends once or twice); a side could declare its innings closed for the first time.
    Balls per over
    The number of balls in each over has changed throughout cricket?s history. The earliest rules of cricket specified that four balls were bowled in each over.

    In 1889 four ball overs were replaced by five ball overs, and then this was changed to the current six balls an over in 1900. Since then, many countries have experimented with eight balls an over. In 1922 the number of balls per over was changed from six to eight in Australia only. In 1924 the eight ball over was extended to New Zealand and in 1937 to South Africa. The 1947 code allowed six or eight balls depending on the conditions of play.

    Since the 1979/80 Australian and New Zealand seasons, the six ball over has been used worldwide and the most recent, 2000, code only permits six ball overs.
    One-day cricket
    In the 1960s, English county teams began playing a version of cricket with modified rules. Instead of allowing each team two innings and requiring the team to be dismissed in each one, they set up games of only one innings each, and decreed that the innings would be completed when a maximum number of overs had been bowled if they hadn?t ended earlier.

    This change to the rules allowed a game to be completed within one day. This did not supplant the traditional long format of the game, which continued to be played. Indeed, many cricket fans considered the shorter form of the game to be a corruption of the sport. One-day cricket did however have the advantage of delivering a result to spectators within a single day, thus improving cricket's appeal to younger or busier people.
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    Nineteenth century

    The first ever cricket game played between teams representing their nations was between the USA and Canada in 1844. The match was played at Elysian Field in Hoboken, New Jersey.

    Meanwhile, in England, county cricket was growing in popularity. In the 1870s, the MCC decided that the next step was to establish international relations with the British colonies, where cricket was becoming more popular as well.

    In 1877 James Lillywhite put together a team and set off by ship for a tour of Australia. His team, representing England on foreign soil, played the first Test match against Australia on March 15, 1877, at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Australia won by 45 runs.

    On a tour of England in 1882, Australia narrowly beat England by 7 runs in a tense and exciting match, which prompted the Sporting Times to run an obituary lamenting "The Death of English Cricket", with the footnote "N.B. The body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia". The following Australian summer, England played a series in Australia which the media played up as a quest to "regain the ashes". A small trophy was created, containing some ashes, and presented to the English captain. Except in times of war, regular series of Test matches between these two countries have continued until this day, playing for the right to hold the Ashes.

    On March 12, 1888, England played South Africa for the first time in a Test match. The match occurred at St. George's Park, Port Elizabeth, South Africa and established South Africa as the third Test nation.

    In 1900, cricket made its first and only appearance in the Olympics. Two teams competed, France and Britain. The French team consisted of mostly players from the British Embassy. The British team won. However, the players were not aware of the game's Olympic status until some time later: the Olympic organisers decided to expand the appeal of the Games by declaring that all the sports played in Paris that year were part of the 1900 Summer Olympics and awarding medals to the winners.
    Pre-first world war era
    On June 15, 1909 representatives from England, Australia and South Africa met at Lord's Cricket Ground in London, England and founded the Imperial Cricket Conference. Membership was confined to teams within the British Commonwealth who played Test cricket.

    In 1912, a "Triangular Tournament" was organised in England, involving South Africa, Australia, and the host nation. It was the first Test series in which more than two countries took part. Though not helped by the weather, the enterprise was an utter disaster and was not repeated.

    International cricket was suspended for the duration of World War I, although domestic first-class cricket was still played.
    Between the wars
    Between the World Wars, three new teams acquired Test status. On June 23, 1928, the West Indies played England at Lord's Cricket Ground in London. Then, England played against New Zealand in Lancaster Park, Christchurch, New Zealand on January 10, 1930. Finally, England matched up against one of its own colonies, India, on June 23, 1932, at Lord's.

    One of the most controversial and antagonistic episodes in cricket history occurred during the 1932?33 tour of Australia by England. The so-called Bodyline tour saw England adopt the deliberate tactic of bowling fast, short-pitched balls at the bodies of the Australian batsmen, with the goal of intimidating them into losing their wickets. England won the Test series, but at the expense of a lot of ill feeling between the two countries. After this tour, the Laws of Cricket were changed to prevent any recurrence of such tactics.

    The best-known and also most controversial of these changes was an amendment of the lbw rule, which was later to be blamed by eminent players like Bob Wyatt and Jack Fingleton for encouraging negative tactics based on a packed leg-side field during the 1950s.

    With the outbreak of World War II, international cricket was again suspended until after the war.
    Post-war era
    After India and Pakistan gained independence in 1947, the new Pakistani cricket team played their first Test against their Indian counterparts at Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi, India, on October 16, 1952. This was the first inaugural Test in which England did not play. No new Test teams were to be seen until the 1980s. At that time Pakistan included current day Bangladesh, which did not become independent until 1971.
    Suspension of South Africa (1970-1991)
    Main article: International cricket in South Africa (1971 to 1981)

    In 1961 South Africa left the Commonwealth and so had to leave the ICC. Throughout the 1960s the world was becoming increasingly concerned about the policy of racial segregation, or ?apartheid?, adopted by the South African government.

    This started to come to a head in 1968 with the D?Oliveira affair. Basil D?Oliveira was a Cape Coloured cricketer. He had moved to England to further his career and taken British citizenship. He was widely tipped to be selected for the English team to tour South Africa in the winter of 1968/69, especially after scoring 158 in the final Test against Australia. But he was first omitted from the team, apparently because his race would upset the South Africans. This caused an outcry in the English media, and when a selected player had to pull out through injury, D?Oliveira was selected to take his place. When John Vorster, the South African prime minister, refused D?Oliveira a visa to enter South Africa, England called off the tour.

    In 1970, the member nations of the International Cricket Conference, as the ICC was then known, voted to suspend South Africa indefinitely from international cricket competition. South Africa had played its last Test against Australia on March 5 to March 10, 1970, at Port Elizabeth, and they were regarded by many as the strongest team in the world. South Africa had been due to tour England over the English summer. So that the English did not miss out on international cricket, the ICC hastily arranged a five match England v Rest of World series. This series was later stripped of Test match status as it was not between two separate countries.

    South Africa?s suspension resulted in the Test careers of several fine players being cut short, most notably Barry Richards and Graeme Pollock. South Africa continued playing domestic cricket within the country, and its players remained strong. In 1974, the South African Cricket Board of Control applied for re-admission to international cricket, and was refused by the ICC.

    Starved of top-level competition for its best players, the board began funding so-called rebel tours, offering large sums of money for international players to form teams and tour South Africa. The ICC's response was to blacklist any rebel players who agreed to tour South Africa, banning them from officially sanctioned international cricket. As players were remunerated poorly during the 1970s, several accepted the offer to tour South Africa, particularly players towards the end of their careers, where a blacklisting would have little effect.

    The rebel tours were widely condemned by the cricket establishment as offering support and succour to South Africa's apartheid regime, and some members of the press supported this view. Others claimed that the old maxim that "sport and politics do not mix" applied and saw no harm in having a sporting contest with citizens of an oppressive government.

    Rebel tours continued into the 1980s, including a high profile English teams led by Graham Gooch and Mike Gatting and West Indian and Australian sides.
    One-day matches and the World Cup
    The first one-day international match took place in Melbourne in 1971, as a time-filler after a Test match had been abandoned because of heavy rain on the opening days. It was tried simply as an experiment and to give the players some exercise, but turned out to be immensely popular. One-day internationals have since grown to become a popular form of the game, especially for those who are busier and want to be able to go to a match and see a result within one day.

    One-day internationals proved so popular so quickly that the International Cricket Council organised the first Cricket World Cup in 1975, pitting all the Test nations against one another in a series of one-day games, hosted in England. The West Indies beat Australia in a thrilling final that cemented the popularity of the short form of cricket and led to World Cups being held every four years.
    World Series Cricket
    Main article World Series Cricket

    The cricket world underwent a major upheaval in the years 1977?1979, precipitated by a single man, Kerry Packer. The conditions of poor player working conditions and remuneration were ripe for Packer to sign some of the best players in the world to a privately run cricket league, outside the structure of international cricket.

    World Series Cricket hired some of the banned South African players and allowed them to show off their skills in an international forum, against other world-class players. Both rebel Test matches (known as ?Supertests?) and one-day international matches were played. Barry Richards performed particularly impressively, and cricket fans began to realise just what they were missing out on with South Africa banned from officially sanctioned cricket.

    By 1979, the schism in world cricket had been removed and the "rebel" players were allowed back into the establishment of international cricket, though the Supertests and one-day matches have never been granted official status. The fallout of World Series Cricket included the introduction of significantly higher player salaries, as well as bringing the innovations of coloured uniforms and night games into the mainstream.
    The 1970s and 1980s
    See also: International cricket in South Africa (1971 to 1981) and South African rebel tours

    In the late 1970s and 1980s the West Indies were universally feared and respected thanks to a fine combination of terrifying fast bowlers (such as Michael Holding, Curtly Ambrose, Courtney Walsh and Malcolm Marshall) and powerful batsmen (such as Viv Richards, Clive Lloyd and Gordon Greenidge). Although there was no official Test championship at the time, they were widely regarded as being ?world champions? and famously ?blackwashed? England by beating them 5-0 in two five match series.
    New Test nations
    On February 17, 1982, Sri Lanka played England in its first Test at P. Saravanamuttu Stadium, Colombo, in Sri Lanka. On October 18, 1992, Zimbabwe played its first Test match against India at the Harare Sports Club, Harare, Zimbabwe. Bangladesh played India in its first Test on 10 November 2000.
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  4. #4
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    Twenty-first century
    In June 2001 the ICC introduced a ?Test championship table?, and in October 2002 a ?one-day international championship table?. Australia has topped both these tables since they were published, apart from January to May 2003 when it was topped by South Africa, but this was only because South Africa had gained maximum points from playing the weakest two nations, whereas Australia had not played them.

    Cricket remains a major world sport and is the most popular spectator sport in the Indian subcontinent, which gives the Asian cricketing nations a lot of political clout in the ICC. The ICC has expanded its Development Program with the goal of producing more national teams capable of competing at Test level. Development efforts are focused on African and Asian nations, and the United States. In 2004, the ICC Intercontinental Cup brought first class cricket to 12 nations, mostly for the first time.

    The future
    The U.S. has long been seen as a promising market for cricket, but it has been difficult to make any impression on a public largely ignorant of the sport. The establishment of the Pro Cricket professional league in the U.S. in 2004 may be the beginning of broaching this last frontier. China may also be a source of future cricket development, with the Chinese government announcing plans in 2004 to develop the sport?almost unknown in China?with the goal of qualifying for the World Cup by 2019.

    Secondly, the ICC is conducting ongoing reviews of the interpretation of Law 24.3 of the Laws of Cricket: Definition of fair delivery ? the arm, in the wake of biomechanical findings that Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan violates the guidelines for arm extension when bowling his doosra. The reporting of Muralitharan for a suspect arm action by match referee Chris Broad and the subsequent study has precipitated a crisis by finding that the current interpretive guidelines may be inadequate and ultimately unenforceable. What this means for the Laws of Cricket remains to be seen.

    As of December 2005, the strongest Test team in the world according to the official rankings is Australia, with India in second place.
    The India vs. Pakistan rivalry
    India and Pakistan have been long-time rivals. The bloodshed and hatred created during partition of India has not abated yet. It also most likely caused by the nations' dispute over Kashmir, a region or state located between Pakistan and India. This feud affected both the diplomatic and political relations and their gaming rivalries.

    In the past, India and Pakistan played have played each other in non-Test playing nations such as Canada or the U.A.E., where it would be unlikely that they receive a large audience. They have also been noted to threaten boycotting matches against each other during their World Cup Draws.

    In this context, cricket assumes a much larger significance. A loss at the hands of the other is considered nothing less than national failure. Instances when the players homes have been pelted after a match is lost are not uncommon. It is even more uncommon, for cricket-enthusiasts to burn the effigees of the losing teams players or even players that have simply performed badly. A successful team and successful players receive a hero's welcome for months after the victory. Thus both the teams are under tremendous pressure to perform and win. With both teams trying their level best, the matches often turn out be nail-biting cliff-hangers.

    After the 1999 Kargil Conflict, however, much of the hate has changed into a peaceful rivalry between teams. The two teams played each other in Australia in the 99/00 Triangular Series. Furthermore, in the 2003 World Cup, the two teams met each other in the Super Six section, in which India achieved a memorable victory and later went on to the Finals. Furthermore, in the 03/04 season, India finally completed a tour of Pakistan, in which there were rare scenes of Indian and Pakistani supporters in unison, followed in early 2005 by a reciprocal tour by Pakistan in India to complete 3 Tests and 6 ODIs. Indian and Pakistani fans joined together in what was described as "cricket diplomacy", many now refer to an Indo-Pakistani series as a "Friendship Series".
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    Controversies

    Betting controversies

    Cricket has always been a popular betting game. With betting games come betting scandals, with players being approached by bookmakers and bribed to throw matches, aspects of matches (e.g. the toss) or provide other information.

    Before the late 1990s and 2000s, betting scandals were not taken too seriously. In 1981 the Australian fast bowler Dennis Lillee bet on England to beat Australia at Headingley at odds of 500-1 (England were well behind with seven wickets down following-on, still behind, and had checked out of their hotel that morning not believing they would make it to the final day when he placed the bet). England went on to win the match, and Lillee's bet, but no action was ever taken against him.

    Lack of sanction for earlier betting scandals, the cricketers low pay compared to the amounts being received by the national cricket boards, and the size of bets placed on cricket in the subcontinent all combined to tempt many players to get involved with betting rings.

    Probably the greatest cricketing crook was Salim Malik, the former Pakistan captain. He should have been remembered as one of the greatest Pakistani batsmen of all time, but is instead remembered as a man who accepted thousands of dollars of bribes, threw many games and whose captaincy was entirely corrupt. He, along with Mohammed Azharuddin, the former Indian captain, are now banned from cricket for life.

    The other main country to be rocked by betting scandals was South Africa. Their then captain Hansie Cronje broke down after admitting accepting bribes, though he always denied actually throwing the games he accepted bribes to throw.

    Criminal enquiries took place in all three countries. Players from other teams have also been implicated, though usually without there being any significant evidence that would stand up in a court of law. However, Shane Warne did receive a fine from the Australian Cricket Board for offering information about the weather to bookmakers.

    The ICC was slow to react, but did eventually in 2000 set up an Anti-Corruption and Security Unit headed by Sir Paul Condon, former head of the London Metropolitan Police. It claims to have reduced corruption in cricket to a 'reducible minimum'.
    Zimbabwe
    Many people allege that administration of the game in Zimbabwe is corrupted by the influence of Robert Mugabe's government, who are accused of following racist, in particular anti-white, policies.

    This matter first came to prominence before the 2003 World Cup, when both the British prime minister Tony Blair and the Australian prime minister John Howard said they would prefer it if their teams did not travel to Zimbabwe, but did not ban them from doing so. In the event, only England refused to travel to Harare to play Zimbabwe as they considered it morally wrong to do so, thereby forfeiting the match. In Zimbabwe's first match, two players, one white, one black (Andy Flower and Henry Olonga) wore black armbands in protest against "the death of democracy in Zimbabwe". Both players subsequently retired and emigrated from Zimbabwe, under intense political pressure, with the black Olonga being denounced as not really Zimbabwean as he was born in Zambia.

    In 2004, the Zimbabwe Cricket Union sacked their white captain, Heath Streak, replacing him with the young, untested Tatenda Taibu. Fifteen senior players were involved in a stand-off over this and other selection issues, resulting in their dismissal from Zimbabwean cricket. Following poor performances by a second-string (and almost all black) Zimbabwe team against Sri Lanka, the ZCU and ICC agreed that Zimbabwe would play no Test cricket in 2004, and this self-imposed suspension remained in force from June 10, 2004, to 6 January 2005. It remains to be seen if the time away from Test cricket has allowed the side to settle and improve: in the first match after the suspension, Bangladesh (generally considered the worst side in Test cricket by a distance) beat Zimbabwe to record their first ever Test victory.
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    Controversies

    Betting controversies

    Cricket has always been a popular betting game. With betting games come betting scandals, with players being approached by bookmakers and bribed to throw matches, aspects of matches (e.g. the toss) or provide other information.

    Before the late 1990s and 2000s, betting scandals were not taken too seriously. In 1981 the Australian fast bowler Dennis Lillee bet on England to beat Australia at Headingley at odds of 500-1 (England were well behind with seven wickets down following-on, still behind, and had checked out of their hotel that morning not believing they would make it to the final day when he placed the bet). England went on to win the match, and Lillee's bet, but no action was ever taken against him.

    Lack of sanction for earlier betting scandals, the cricketers low pay compared to the amounts being received by the national cricket boards, and the size of bets placed on cricket in the subcontinent all combined to tempt many players to get involved with betting rings.

    Probably the greatest cricketing crook was Salim Malik, the former Pakistan captain. He should have been remembered as one of the greatest Pakistani batsmen of all time, but is instead remembered as a man who accepted thousands of dollars of bribes, threw many games and whose captaincy was entirely corrupt. He, along with Mohammed Azharuddin, the former Indian captain, are now banned from cricket for life.

    The other main country to be rocked by betting scandals was South Africa. Their then captain Hansie Cronje broke down after admitting accepting bribes, though he always denied actually throwing the games he accepted bribes to throw.

    Criminal enquiries took place in all three countries. Players from other teams have also been implicated, though usually without there being any significant evidence that would stand up in a court of law. However, Shane Warne did receive a fine from the Australian Cricket Board for offering information about the weather to bookmakers.

    The ICC was slow to react, but did eventually in 2000 set up an Anti-Corruption and Security Unit headed by Sir Paul Condon, former head of the London Metropolitan Police. It claims to have reduced corruption in cricket to a 'reducible minimum'.
    Zimbabwe
    Many people allege that administration of the game in Zimbabwe is corrupted by the influence of Robert Mugabe's government, who are accused of following racist, in particular anti-white, policies.

    This matter first came to prominence before the 2003 World Cup, when both the British prime minister Tony Blair and the Australian prime minister John Howard said they would prefer it if their teams did not travel to Zimbabwe, but did not ban them from doing so. In the event, only England refused to travel to Harare to play Zimbabwe as they considered it morally wrong to do so, thereby forfeiting the match. In Zimbabwe's first match, two players, one white, one black (Andy Flower and Henry Olonga) wore black armbands in protest against "the death of democracy in Zimbabwe". Both players subsequently retired and emigrated from Zimbabwe, under intense political pressure, with the black Olonga being denounced as not really Zimbabwean as he was born in Zambia.

    In 2004, the Zimbabwe Cricket Union sacked their white captain, Heath Streak, replacing him with the young, untested Tatenda Taibu. Fifteen senior players were involved in a stand-off over this and other selection issues, resulting in their dismissal from Zimbabwean cricket. Following poor performances by a second-string (and almost all black) Zimbabwe team against Sri Lanka, the ZCU and ICC agreed that Zimbabwe would play no Test cricket in 2004, and this self-imposed suspension remained in force from June 10, 2004, to 6 January 2005. It remains to be seen if the time away from Test cricket has allowed the side to settle and improve: in the first match after the suspension, Bangladesh (generally considered the worst side in Test cricket by a distance) beat Zimbabwe to record their first ever Test victory.

    Issues of racism and selection in Zimbabwe cricket remain unresolved
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    Headingley cricket ground adjoins the rugby stadium via a shared main stand. It has seen Test cricket since 1899 and can hold a capacity of 14000. Headingley spectators have been lucky enough to witness some of the greatest moments in cricket. Spinner Hedley Verity took 10 wickets for 10 runs in 1932 for Yorkshire v Nottinghamshire. A world record that still lasts today. The most memorable innings probably being Geoff Boycott's hundredth hundred, made against Australia in 1977. Headingley also provided the stage for the most dramatic comeback in Test cricket in 1981, when England beat Australia by 18 runs. The bookies had England at 500-1 after being 227 runs behind and they were 135-7 in their second innings. Ian Botham with the bat and Bob Willis with the ball worked miracles and claimed victory for England.
    In December 2005 Yorkshire County Cricket Club obtained a loan of ?9 million from Leeds City Council towards the cost of purchasing the cricket ground for ?12 million. [1]. Shortly afterwards 98.37% of members who participated in a vote backed the deal. [2] The following month the club announced plans to rebuild the stand next to the rugby ground with 3,000 extra seats, taking capacity to 20,000. [3]
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    A grandstand at the Brisbane Cricket Ground ("The Gabba") in 1907
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    Alexander Chalmers Bannerman (March 21, 1854 in Sydney, New South Wales - September 19, 1924 in Sydney) was an Australian cricketer who played in 28 Tests between 1879 and 1893.
    He was a key member of the early Australian touring sides, travelling to England six times, in 1878, 1880, 1882, 1884, 1888 and 1893. He was known as a stonewalling batsman.
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    Arthur Shrewsbury (11 April 1856-19 May 1903) was an English cricketer who was widely rated as competing with WG Grace for the accolade of being the best batsman of the 1880s; Grace himself, when asked who he would most like in his side, replied simply, "Give me Arthur".
    He played his cricket for Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club and played 23 Test matches for England, captaining them in 7 games, with a record of won 5, lost 2. He was a Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1890.
    Shrewsbury retired from cricket in 1902, and shot himself whilst staying at his sister's the next year following a bout of depression when he incorrectly believed himself to be suffering from an incurable disease.
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    On the September 23, 1853, occupancy of the present site, which was part of a "Police Paddock", was given to the Melbourne Cricket Club by Lieutenant Governor Charles La Trobe. This followed the forced resumption of land from the then-15-year-old Club to build Australia's first steam train railway.[1] The First Members' Pavilion was erected the following year, and the first cricket match was played on September 30, 1854.
    The first intercolonial cricket match to be played at the MCG was between New South Wales and Victoria on March 26 and 27, 1856[2]. That match was also notable for a dispute which arose after the umpires had tossed and which Victoria had won. The New South Wales players insisted that, as the visiting team, they had the choice of batting or bowling. Victoria eventually relented and were sent in. New South Wales won the match by three wickets.
    The first football match was played on the MCG on July 12, 1859, between Melbourne Football Club and South Yarra.
    A visiting Surrey XI, captained by HH Stephenson, played a World XI there in 1862, beginning on New Year's Day.
    On Boxing Day 1866 an Indigenous Australian team played at the MCG with 11,000 spectators against an MCC team. That team went on to tour England in 1868 and played at the ground three more times before 1869.
    The MCG was one of the venues for the first bicycle race in Victoria, in July 1869.
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    History of Indian international cricket

    Early history
    Some of the earliest heroes of Indian cricket were CK Nayudu and Lala Amarnath. India made its Test debut in England in 1932 led by CK Nayudu, and its first series as an independent country was in 1948 against Australia at Brisbane. Australia were led by Sir Don Bradman while India was led by Lala Amarnath. The test performance was optimistic, with Nissar getting 5-93 and 1-42 in the match against England which India lost by 158 runs.
    India's first ever Test victory came against England at Madras in 1952. India's first series victory was against Pakistan the same year.

    1983 World Cup in England
    India upset the West Indies in 1983 to claim the Prudential Cricket World Cup for the first time, the captain was all-rounder Kapil Dev. India and the West Indies had cruised through the preliminary rounds in Group B while England and Pakistan emerged the victors from Group A. In the group stages, most considered India the underdogs, and their win against West Indies was categorized as similar to Zimbabwe's win over Australia. They were, in fact, quoted as having odds of 66 to 1 before the beginning of the match [3].
    Both England and Pakistan, however, lost to their respective opponents (India beat England and the West Indies beat Pakistan).
    The final was considered somewhat of an anticlimax, most expecting a clear West Indies win although India had beaten them in the preliminary rounds. The West Indies tumbled India out for 183 and were cruising on their way to a memorable victory at 2-57 before suffering a minor collapse. They were annihilated by the Indian bowlers and reached 6-76 before providing some sort of resistance. They were all out for 140, India won by 43 runs. The heroes of the day were Mohinder Amarnath (3/12 and 26) and Kris Srikkanth (top scorer with 38).
    The team that won the World Cup comprised of:
    1. SM Gavaskar
    2. K Srikkanth
    3. M Amarnath
    4. Yashpal Sharma
    5. SM Patil
    6. N Kapil Dev (captain)
    7. KBJ Azad
    8. RMH Binny
    9. S Madan Lal
    10. SMH Kirmani (wicket-keeper)
    11. BS Sandhu

    Notable Indian Cricketers
    Some of India's star cricketers of the 1950s and 1960s were Vinoo Mankad, Hemu Adhikari, Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, Vijay Hazare, Vijay Merchant, Mushtaq Ali, Chandu Borde and Subhash Gupte. India's first overseas series victory came against New Zealand in 1968.
    Most of the 1970s was dominated by India's spin quartet of Bishen Singh Bedi, Erapalli Prasanna, BS Chandrasekhar and Srinivas Venkataraghavan. This period also saw the emergence of two of India's best ever batsmen, Sunil Gavaskar and Gundappa Viswanath. This bunch of players was responsible for the back-to-back series wins in West Indies and England in 1971 under the captaincy of Ajit Wadekar. Than came the emergence of Mohinder Amarnath and "Mr. Dependable" Dilip Vengsarkar who was the undisputed No. 1 batsman in 1986-87. Kapil Dev emerged as a quality all-rounder in this decade.
    During the 1980s, other players like Mohammed Azharuddin, Ravi Shastri, Laxman Sivaramakrishnan, Sanjay Manjrekar, Krish Srikkanth and Maninder Singh emerged. India won the Cricket World Cup in 1983 defeating West Indies in an exciting final. In 1985, India won the World Championship of Cricket in Australia. The Test series victory in 1986 in England remained, for nearly 19 years, the last Test series win outside subcontinent. Sunil Gavaskar became the first batsman to cross 10,000 runs in Test cricket and went on to register a record 34 centuries, surpassed recently by Sachin Tendulkar. Kapil Dev became the highest wicket taker in Test cricket, surpassing Richard Hadlee to take a total of 434 wickets- a record which has since been broken by the likes of Shane Warne and Muttiah Muralitharan.
    The emergence of Sachin Tendulkar and Anil Kumble in 1989 and 1990 gave further proof of Indian cricket's depth and the Indian side went from strength to strength during the 1990s, though mostly at home.
    In 1999, Anil Kumble became the second bowler to take all ten wickets in a Test match innings when he took 10 for 74 against Pakistan at New Delhi. Sachin Tendulkar continued to set new records while Rahul Dravid, Saurav Ganguly, Javagal Srinath made their mark in international cricket during this decade.
    India's strength has always been its batting lineup, it is considered by many to have one of the most extensive batting lineups in the world. With Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag all being selected to play for the ICC World XI.

    Tournament History
    [edit]
    World Cup
    ? 1975: First round
    ? 1979: First round
    ? 1983: Won
    ? 1987: Semi Finals
    ? 1992: 7th place
    ? 1996: Semi Finals
    ? 1999: 6th place
    ? 2003: Runners up

    ICC Champions Trophy
    ? 2002: Joint winners with Sri Lanka
    ? 2004: First round

    ICC Knockout
    ? 1998: Semi Finals
    ? 2000: Runners up

    Commonwealth Games
    ? 1998: First round

    Asian Test Championship
    ? 1998: 3rd place
    ? 2001/02: Did not participate

    Asia Cup
    ? 1984: Won
    ? 1986: Did not participate
    ? 1988: Won
    ? 1990/91: Won
    ? 1995: Won
    ? 1997: Runners up
    ? 2000: 3rd place
    ? 2004: Runners up

    Austral-Asia Cup
    ? 1986: Runners up
    ? 1990: First round
    ? 1994: Runners up

    National Records

    Records - Tests

    Team records
    ? Highest team total: 705-7 decl v Australia at Sydney (2003/04)
    ? Lowest team total: 42 v England at Lord's (1974)

    Individual records
    ? Most matches: 132 by Sachin Tendulkar followed by 131 by Kapil Dev

    Batting
    ? Most runs: 10469 by Sachin Tendulkar
    ? Best average: 58.59 by Rahul Dravid
    ? Highest individual score: 309 by Virender Sehwag v Pakistan at Multan (2003/04)
    ? Record partnership: 413 P Roy and MH Mankad v New Zealand at Chennai 1955/56 (1st wicket)
    ? Most centuries: 35 by Sachin Tendulkar

    Bowling
    ? Most wickets: 510 by Anil Kumble
    ? Best average: 28.71 by Bishan Singh Bedi
    ? Best innings bowling: 10-74 by Anil Kumble Vs. Pakistan at Delhi (1998/99)
    ? Best match bowling: 16-136 by Narendra Hirwani v West Indies at Chennai (1987/88)
    ? Best career strike rate: 53.8 by Irfan Pathan
    ? Best economy rate: 1.67 by Bapu Nadkarni

    Fielding
    ? Most dismissals: 198 (160 catches, 38 stumpings) by Syed Kirmani
    ? Most dismissals in an innings: 6 (5 catches, 1 stummping) by Syed Kirmani v New Zealand at Christchurch (1975/76).

    Records - ODIs

    Team records
    ? Highest team total: 376-2 in 50 overs v New Zealand at Hyderabad (1999/00)
    ? Lowest team total: 54-10 in 26.3 overs v Sri Lanka at Sharjah (2000/01)

    Individual records
    ? Most matches: Sachin Tendulkar 362

    Batting
    ? Most runs: 14146 Sachin Tendulkar
    ? Best average: 53.95 Mahendra Dhoni
    ? Highest individual score: 186* Sachin Tendulkar vs. New Zealand at Hyderabad (1999/00)
    ? Record partnership: 331 Rahul Dravid & Sachin Tendulkar for the 2nd wicket vs. New Zealand at Hyderabad (1999/00)
    ? Most centuries: 39 Sachin Tendulkar

    Bowling
    ? Most wickets: 329 Anil Kumble
    ? Best average: 25.22 Irfan Pathan
    ? Best innings bowling: 6/12 Anil Kumble v West Indies at Kolkata (1993/94)
    ? Best career strike rate: 30.5 Irfan Pathan
    ? Best career economy rate: 3.71 Kapil Dev

    Fielding
    ? Most dismissals: 181 Rahul Dravid

    Recent Performances
    In their history, the Indians have had trouble performing well overseas. But since about 2000, the Indian team seems to have undergone a resurrection under the guidance of former coach John Wright and former captain Saurav Ganguly. As a sample of their newly acquired confidence, they drew a Test series with Australia in Australia, which is usually considered a very tough tour. It was followed by a historic Test and ODI series win against arch rivals Pakistan on the tour.
    India has had a very good record against Australia and, before the 2004/05 tour, had never let Australia beat them in a Test Series in India since 1969. This was the reason for Australian Captain Steve Waugh labelling India as the Final Frontier. The famous 2001 Australian Tour of India started a good run for the team, as India beat Australia 2-1. India also came runners up to Australia in the 2003 World Cup Finals.
    However, in the past couple of years India has not been doing as well in ODIs (One Day Internationals). They improved their ratings to #5 on the ICC rankings on the back of recent performances while they are at #3 in Test cricket. The players who took India to great heights over the past 10 years such as Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and Anil Kumble are growing older and not consistently maintaining form and fitness. Under the new coach Greg Chappell, who took over from John Wright in 2005, India faces a challenge to build a winning team before the 2007 Cricket World Cup in the West Indies.
    The series with Sri Lanka in 2005 is probably the best ODI series for India for quite a long time now. They had taken hold of the series by winning 6 out of the 7 one day internationals. The best part about this series has been the discovery of the young talent of the team, including Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Gautam Gambhir and Irfan Pathan. The series has also seen the return of Sachin Tendulkar to form after losing 6 months to a tennis elbow injury. The team also beat the Sri Lankans in the test series 2-0 to get to the 2nd spot in the test rankings from England which they eventually lost by losing the high profile series to Pakistan. Despite the loss, the Indian team has continued it's good form in the one day internationals, beating Pakistan 4-1 in their country. They have now successfully chased 13 consecutive matches on the trot. Forthcoming events for Team India includes England's tour of India and followed by India's tour of West Indies. The ICC ranking currently puts them as the best Asian team in both forms of the game.

    Current Team
    Some of its current members are Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Virender Sehwag, V. V. S. Laxman, Yuvraj Singh, Piyush Chawla, Harbhajan Singh, Anil Kumble, Mohammad Kaif, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, R P Singh, Gautam Gambhir, Irfan Pathan, Zaheer Khan, Ajit Agarkar, S. Sreesanth, Ramesh Powar, Munaf Patel and Suresh Raina.
    [CENTER][FONT=Arial][SIZE=2][B][COLOR=Red]THE WORLD IS ALL ABOUT MIND AND MATTER; I DON'T MIND AND YOU DON'T MATTER

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    nice info

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    He he flemish main croquet is something that we can eat .
    [I][B]I M The MATRIX..I Have RELOADED it Here[/B][/I]

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    ...wow bhai...just saving this to read sometime later....looks a treasure for a crick lover like me..
    [CENTER]**[/CENTER]
    [CENTER]Hidden Content [SIZE=3][COLOR=#000080][B]~[/B][/COLOR][/SIZE][/CENTER]
    [CENTER]**[/CENTER]
    [CENTER]:excited:[/CENTER]
    [CENTER][SIZE=3][I][B]I talk to myself because I like dealing with a better class of people[/B][/I][/SIZE][/CENTER]
    [CENTER][B][I][SIZE=3]:p[/SIZE][/I][/B][/CENTER]
    [CENTER][B]Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else[/B][/CENTER]

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    bigb da big share........
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    [CENTER][SIZE=2][COLOR=Red][FONT=Comic Sans MS]"The fragrance of flowers spreads only in the direction of the wind. [/FONT][/COLOR][/SIZE][SIZE=2]
    [/SIZE][SIZE=2][COLOR=Red][FONT=Comic Sans MS]But the goodness of a person spreads in all direction."[/FONT][/COLOR][/SIZE][/CENTER]

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    As always, this post is a "collectors' Item" ... thanks a lot BigB for sharing this wonderful info
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    [FONT='Times New Roman'][B][I]"I don't regret the things I have done or the things I have chosen not to do because what ever I've done, I must have done something 'right' because I ended up with[/I] YOU[I]."[/I][/B][/FONT]

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