Monday, November 12, 2007

History of Test Cricket

The first Official Laws of Cricket were implemented in February 1774 when a group of gentlemen and nobles met at the Star and Garter in Pall Mall to formally lay down a set of Laws that would be followed by every cricketer, team and official in England. The first test match was played between England and Australia in 1877, with the creation of the famous "Ashes" trophy in 1882 after Australia easily beat the Marylebone Cricket Club team. The maximum individual test innings was completed on 13 April 2004, when Brian Lara of the West Indies scored 400 not out against England in Antigua, exceeding the previous record of 380 runs made by Matthew Hayden from Australia in a match against Zimbabwe in October 2003.

Cricket Test Matches

Cricket test matches are the longest form of the sport of cricket and are considered by players and serious cricket fans. Playing an ultimate test match as compared to the one day international cricket is much more challenging and difficult. Test matches are played between national representative teams selected from the best players within a particular nation.

Code of Conduct for Cricket Test Match

Cricket test match is played over a span of five days with three sessions of two hours interspersed with a 40-minute break for lunch and 20-minute break for afternoon tea everyday. The team who wins the toss of the coin selects whether to bat or bowl first, and bats either until each batter is dismissed or they choose to stop batting, called a "declaration". There is no limit to how long they can bat provided there remain at least two batsman who have not been dismissed. After this the teams change roles, and the other team does the batting. If the other team is dismissed with a score 200 runs or more behind the first team, then the first team has the choice whether to make the other team bat again for their "second innings" or bat itself to gain a bigger lead.

If the follow-on is enforced, then the first team bats until it is dismissed or declares. If this team’s total score from both its innings is less than the other team, then it wins the game. If this is not the case then the other team must bat in its second innings to attempt to score more than the first team. If it is dismissed before this occurs, then the first team wins the game. If time runs out before either of the above occurs, the game is called a draw. If the follow-on is not enforced or the other team’s score is sufficiently large so that the follow-on cannot be enforced, once this team is dismissed or declares, then the first team bats again until it is dismissed or declares, or time runs out. If the score of the first team is less for its two innings as compared to the other team score from its innings, then the other team is the winner. Otherwise the other team will bat again. If their total score gets to more than the first team’s total, they win the match. If they are dismissed before reaching first team’s total, then first team wins the match. If neither occurs before the scheduled end of the match, it is a draw. At the end if both teams end up being dismissed twice with the same combined totals, the game is a tie.

One Day Cricket Matches

One-day cricket matches is a form of cricket that is completed in a single day. It is different from Test and domestic first class cricket that often takes up to five days to complete or get the desired result. One-day cricket matches always ends with a result in a single days play.
In a one-day cricket match, each team bats only once and the innings are limited to a set number of overs, generally fifty. There can be some variations due to poor weather conditions. Other changes to the game include additional restrictions on where fielders may be placed and stricter rules on wide balls and short deliveries.In most matches, a white ball is used rather than the traditional red and as a result, the need to paint rather than stain the white ball gives it subtly different characteristics in flight as it wears. The white ball is generally restricted to matches played during the afternoon and into the evening, such matches are also known as day-night matches. The day and night matches necessitate the team batting second to begin their innings under stadium lights as a result of the lack of available natural sunlight.

The dress for one-day cricket matches is generally in bright colors clothing that adds to the spectators interest and also enhances the appeal for television viewers. One-day cricket originally began between English County teams in the 1960's. The first one-day international was played in Melbourne, Australia, in 1971. One day cricket matches are much more popular as compared to test matches as it encourages aggressive, risky and entertaining batting. One more reason for its popularity is that a spectator can go and see an entire match without the attendance of continuous five days.

2003 Cricket World Cup

Australia, the winners of 1999 Cricket World Cup, had now emerged tall over the other cowering teams. Its supremacy remained to be challenged. The 2003 Cricket World Cup in South Africa Zimbabwe and Kenya provided an ideal arena for a pitched battle. Most teams like India, England and Pakistan had young, confident teams, though many doubted if their prowess were enough to outdo the mighty Aussies.

There were 14 teams contesting in the 2003 Cricket World Cup in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya.

The teams were :

Australia · India · Pakistan · England · South Africa · Sri Lanka · West Indies · New Zealand · Kenya · Zimbabwe · Canada · Bangladesh · Namibia · Netherlands

The inclusion of teams like Netherlands and Canada was a part of the desperate strategies of the ICC to disseminate the popularity of cricket beyond the few test-playing nations. The format followed was super-six, same as the previous world cup in 1999. The teams were divided into two pools; Australia topped the Pool A while Sri Lanka dominated Pool B. The semi finals were held between Australia and Sri Lanka, and between India and Kenya. The 2003 Cricket World Cup in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya proved lucky for one of the host nations, Kenya. It became the only non-test playing nation to reach the finals of the Cricket World Cup.The final proved to be a big disappointment for the thousands of Indian fans who had cut across the oceans to support their team. India lost tamely against the 2nd time winner Australia. The only consolation for them came in the form of Player of the Tournament award for Sachin Tendulkar.

1999 Cricket World Cup

1999 World Cup in England brought with it the old world charms of the game, chiefly because it was being held in the place where cricket first took birth. The much anticipated final at the historical Lords was a reason enough to cause considerable excitement. 1999 World Cup provided a complete counterpoint to the1996 World Cup. Held in the subcontinent, 1996 World Cup encountered colorfully dressed spectators who danced and screamed and hurled both shouts and bottles at the players. The spectators in England know that the game they are watching is intrinsically linked to their tradition, consequently, apart from few sporadic scatterings of youth who have fun anywhere, the spectators in England bear a subdued appearance.

There were 12 teams competing for the coveted cup. Apart from the minnows Zimbabwe, Kenya, Bangladesh and Scotland, every one knew that each of the other 8 teams stood a fair chance in lifting the cup.

The twelve teams participating in 1999 Cricket World Cup were:

The preceding Cricket World Cups had seen many new formats being introduced and cast out with equal alacrity: in 1999 World Cup too, a new format called super six was introduced. The tournament progressed smoothly producing some brilliant contests like the semi final between Australia and South Africa. Though the scores were tied, Australia was declared the winner for having beaten South Africa before in the Super-Six round. For the first time since its inception, England failed to make it to the World Cup finals- a shameful debacle in front of the cheering home team. The final of the 1999 Cricket World Cup in England was held between Australia and Pakistan. The former trounced the 1992 winner in a one-sided match, winning by 8 wickets.

1996 Cricket World Cup

The 1996 Cricket World Cup in India Pakistan and Sri Lanka was entwined in controversy and saw a lot of action-both on and off field. Sri Lanka won the tournament by emphatically beating Australia in the finals. The 1996 Cricket World Cup in India Pakistan and Sri Lanka had 12 participating nations. Netherlands, Kenya and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), were participating for the first time in a Cricket World Cup. Sri Lanka, West Indies, India and Australia qualified for the semifinals and the final was played between Sri Lanka and Australia in Lahore, Pakistan on March 17, 1996.

The participating nations were:

Sri Lanka · Australia · India · West Indies · Zimbabwe · Kenya · South Africa · Pakistan · New Zealand · England · UAE · Netherlands

There was a lot of action happening off the field as well. The very gala opening ceremony at the Eden Gardens stadium in Calcutta was one. That apart, the bombings in Sri Lanka in January that year made Australia and West Indies withhold their teams from going to Sri Lanka to play league matches, thereby awarding Sri Lanka points with which they automatically qualified for the quarter finals. The riots at Calcutta after India's semifinal loss to Sri Lanka was another shameful incident that blackened the 1996 Cricket World Cup. However, the game was played with equal zest and vigor and Sri Lanka, having defeated Australia by 7 wickets in the final, emerged as World Champions for the first time. The format was changed quite a lot to accommodate more teams. Colored uniforms were spotted and the white ball was used throughout the tournament which had many Day and night matches. Arjuna Ranatunga proudly lifted the Wills Cup. Aravinda de Silva was the man of the match and Sanath Jayasurya, who was unstoppable with the bat all through the tournament, was declared man of the series. Though molded in a lot of controversy and criticized as being badly planned, the 1996 Cricket World Cup in India Pakistan and Sri Lanka was a success with fans and spectators from all over the world crowding the stadiums to watch the action live. It was a glamorous event indeed.

1992 Cricket World Cup

The 1992 Cricket World Cup in Australia and New Zealand was held from February 22 to March 25, 1992. The 1992 Cricket World Cup, also known as the Benson and Hedges Cup was the first World Cup that saw the participation of South Africa. As a result of South Africa's inclusion, certain changes in format were seen in this World Cup from the previous four. Every team played against each other in the league stage. Thus, the number of matches played in total were a lot more than before. The top four teams qualified for the semis. This World Cup saw many changes and the introduction of new rules as well. For the first time, the players wore colored jerseys and white balls were used. Also, Day and Night matches were held and rules were introduced for rain-affected games. The 1992 Cricket World Cup in Australia and New Zealand saw the participation of nine nations. All were test-playing nations and so the competition was intense. England, Pakistan, New Zealand and South Africa qualified for the semifinals. The final was played between England and Pakistan, with Pakistan emerging as the new World Champions.

The participating countries were:

Australia · England · India · New Zealand · Pakistan · South Africa · Sri Lanka · West Indies · Zimbabwe

The final was played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground under lights and in front of a packed stadium. Pakistan defeated England by 22 runs to register their first ever World Cup victory. It was a double relief for the Pakistani fans and cricket lovers around the world as Pakistan had started as a weak link, with some mediocre performances in the initial stages of the tournament. Imran Khan was the victorious captain who lifted the Benson and Hedges Cup. Wasim Akram was adjourned man of the match and Martin Crowe of New Zealand was declared the man of the series. Like all the other Cricket World Cups, the 1992 Cricket World Cup in Australia and New Zealand saw the game of cricket emerge victorious. This fact was further consolidated by the inclusion of South Africa in the tournament.

1987 Cricket World Cup

The 1987 Cricket World Cup in India and Pakistan was the first World Cup to be held outside England since its inception in 1975. Australia beat archrivals England by seven runs in the finals to lift the 1987 Cricket World Cup, also called the Reliance Cup.

In this edition of the World Cup, the overs were reduced from 60 to 50. The other features remained intact and the players came out in white uniforms and played with red balls. This time too eight counties tried their luck in lifting the trophy, but the nation that succeeded was Australia.

The participating countries were:

West Indies · England · India · Pakistan · Australia · New Zealand · Sri Lanka · Zimbabwe

India and Pakistan were the other two semifinalists, but failed to qualify for the finals, there by dashing the hopes of many of seeing an India-Pakistan World Cup final. The final was an extremely closely fought contest between Australia and England at the Eden Gardens stadium in Calcutta. Australia won by just 7 runs in a match that could have gone either way. Alan Border, the captain of Australia lifted the cup and David Boon was declared man of the match. The cricket fever of the Indian subcontinent gripped the whole world and fans from all over thronged to India and Pakistan from October 9 to November 8, 1987. Staduims were packed and the hysteria was unbeliavble! With Australia lifting the cup, the curtains fell on yet another successful ICC Cricket World Cup and the world began to wait for the next Cricket World Cup.

1983 Cricket World Cup

The 1983 Cricket World Cup in England was indeed dramatic as it saw the underdogs India beat the world champions West Indies in a fiercely fought final at the Lords on June 26, 1983. Maintaining the format of 60 overs, the 1983 Cricket World Cup in England was also played in white uniforms and with red balls. Eight countries participated. The teams were divided in groups of eight and the top two teams from each group qualified to play the semifinals.

The participating countries were:

Australia · England · India · New Zealand · Pakistan · Sri Lanka · West Indies · Zimbabwe

The biggest surprise of the World Cup was the performance of Zimbabwe and India, who, based on their previous records, weren't even expected to win too many matches! But Zimbabwe defeated Australia and India got the better of West Indies to establish themselves as threats in the tournament. Zimbabwe couldn't continue with their good show right till the end, but India did and snatched the title of World Champions from the mighty West Indies who were on their way to a third consecutive victory. India, led by Kapil Dev stopped them, thereby becoming the winners on the 1983 Cricket World Cup in England. Mohinder Amarnath was adjourned the man of the match. Fans and enthusiasts from the world over watched the tournament. For those who didn't get to watch the matches in the stadiums, the tournament was widely covered by the media and televised around the world. Prudential was the sponsor of the 1983 Cricket World Cup and so the tournament is also referred to as the Prudential Cup.

1979 Cricket World Cup

After the success of the 1975 Cricket World Cup, the ICC organized the 1979 Cricket World Cup in England. It was the second edition of the Cricket World Cup and was as much of a success as its predecessor. Played in an unchanged format from the 1975 World Cup, the 1979 Cricket World Cup in England too saw participation from 8 countries. Unfortunately South Africa was left out and to fill the spot, a tournament was held among the junior countries and Canada and Sri Lanka qualified from there.

The participating nations were:

England · Australia · New Zealand · West Indies · India · Pakistan · Sri Lanka · Canada

West Indies emerged winners yet again, and this time beat England by 92 runs in the final held at the famous Lords cricket ground. Vivian Richards was declared man of the match. With this victory, the men from the Caribbean consolidated their position as World Champions. New Zealand and Pakistan were the two other semi finalists. The tournament attracted fans from all over the world and the matches were played in packed stadiums. The usual design of 60 overs, white uniforms and red balls was maintained. Prudential was the sponsor of the 1979 Cricket World Cup and so the tournament is also referred to as the Prudential Cup.