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50 Interesting Facts About Cricket

Cricket is a sport played by millions and watched by billions on TV. Here with these 50 interesting facts about Cricket, let us know more about the game’s history, players, rules, and much more.

By Sriram NadarajanPublished about a year ago 14 min read

1. Cricket is a popular sport – so popular that it is considered the second most-loved sport in the world. It is enjoyed by more than 2.5 billion fans in 180 countries. This sport is most popular in England, Australia, and subcontinental Asia (especially India and Pakistan).

2. Cricket was originally a children’s game played in England during the 16th century, specifically in the southeastern counties. When the British expanded overseas, they brought the game with them.

3. The man considered as the father of cricket is William Gilbert (W.G.) Grace. He played amateur cricket in England and is credited for helping develop the sport into the modern obsession that it has become.

4. The first Test cricket captains for the English team were James Lillywhite and David Gregory. Of the two, Lillywhite was the first to play. He died in 1929, becoming the last player of the very first Test match to pass away.

5. Cricket is played in several formats but the three major forms are: Twenty20, One-Day Internationals (ODI), and Test matches. Of these, the Test match is the traditional form, having been used since 1877. It is also considered the highest level.

6. Although there are 31 countries that play cricket in the international stage, only 12 have qualified for Test status. The first countries to acquire this status are England and Australia (1877) and the latest is Afghanistan (2018).

7. The biggest event in cricket is the World Cup, which is organized by the International Cricket Council (ICC). It was founded in 1909 as the Imperial Cricket Conference. The three founding countries include England, South Africa, and Australia.

India v South Africa at the MCG in 2015. Shikhar Dhawan smashed 137 runs with Ravi Ashwin claiming three wickets to propel India to a 130 runs victory. Image credit – Tourism Victoria

8. The oldest cricket world championship is the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup. The first tournament, which was hosted by England, was held in 1973. The English team was champion of the first edition.

9. The first cricket World Cup was held in 1975, participated in by the men’s teams. The title was won by the West Indies, with Australia placing second.

10. The country with the most losses in International Cricket is England, having played 691 unsuccessful matches. They have also played the most games (1,885).

11. The cricket pitch is 20.12 meters (22 yards) in length and 3.05 meters (3.33 yards) in width. The length of 22 yards is considered a chain, which was used as a standard of measurement for land during the 18th century. The chain is 1/10th of a unit of measurement called furlong, which is the average length of land that a team of workers could plough in one day.

12. The surface of the cricket pitch may be covered by very short grass and must be flat. In some venues, the playing surface may be made of artificial material or even dry soil. The pitch is never altered or repaired during a game as long as the wear is considered normal. Only during special circumstances is the pitch repaired.

13. The condition of the cricket pitch may change the strategy of a team. If the ground is dry, the best bowl would be the spin, which means the team’s top spin bowlers should be chosen for the job because their skill will give their team a significant advantage.

14. The cricket ball weighs 163 grams. Its core is made of cork which is wrapped with several layers of yarn. The outer casing is made of leather, which is then coated with lacquer.

Cricket ball hits the stumps. Image credit – Graham Dean

15. The small gates through which cricket balls must pass through are called “wickets”. The term is used due to the similarity of the stumps to wicket gates, which are small pedestrian gates or doors.

16. The original cricket wickets used only two stumps over which a bail is attached. This design was changed in 1775 after an English cricketer, Lumpy Stevens, was able to bowl three consecutive balls that shot clear between the stumps. This is why modern wickets have three stumps instead of just two.

Cricket stumps. Image credit – Luke Hayfield

17. Bails, the horizontal pegs that sit on top of the stumps, are not attached to the top surface. Instead, they rest on shallow grooves on the free ends of the stumps. Bails are critical for determining if the wicket has been put down or broken. This in turn will help identify the status of the batsman, if he has been run out, out bowled, or stumped.

18. In case of windy conditions during a match, the umpires may decide to have the bails removed to avoid having them blown off. They may also be replaced by heavier bails to keep them secure on the stumps. Although the bails may not be present, they are assumed to still be on the stump. It will then be up to the umpires to decide if the wicket had been broken or not.

19. The term “wicket” is used multiple times in cricket. Getting a wicket is dismissing a batsman. Losing a wicket is getting dismissed. A bowler who dismisses a batsman is said to take a wicket. Sometimes, a cricket pitch is called a wicket, although this is considered incorrect by the Laws of Cricket. Regardless, it is still being used, especially by commentators.

20. Women had been playing cricket as far back as the 1700s. Villages in Surrey, Sussex, and Hampshire held their own local and inter-village tournaments. Prizes for the games included lace gloves and barrels of ale.

21. In spite of having invented the sport, England has never won a World Cup title. They were the hosts of the first three cups and has appeared in the World Cup 15 times.

22. The roundarm action used for throwing the ball was used prior to the overarm throw used today. Prior to its conception, the underarm throw was used. The roundarm throw was conceived by English cricketer Tom Walker during the 1790s. Some insiders credit a woman, Christiana Willes to have devised the roundarm style. Wearing the bulky dresses of her time, Willes found the underarm throw difficult and inaccurate and decided to change it.

23. The fastest cricket pitch ever recorded was thrown by Shoaib Akhtar during the 2003 Cricket World Cup. He clocked in at 100.23 mph (161.3 km/h) during a match with England. Akhtar’s feat made him the first cricket bowler to reach 100 mph and he did this twice during his storied career. He earned the nickname “The Rawalpindi Express” for his impressive pitches.

Former Pakistani fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar during a function in Doha. Image credit – Doha Stadium Plus Qatar

24. India and Pakistan are considered the biggest rivals in cricket. This sports feud is supposed to have begun in 1947 after Pakistan became independent from India. The rivalry is good for viewership, however. It is estimated that around 300 million people from different countries would tune in to watch the two nation’s intense matches.

25. Although cricket is a non-contact sport, players still experience injuries during a game, some of which are career-ending or even fatal. The first known player to have a deadly accident while playing cricket is Jasper Vinall of England. He was hit by a bat on the forehead and died two weeks later.

26. A freak accident ended the life of a promising young batsman from India in 2015. Ankit Keshri was captain of the Bengal U-19 team. Keshri collided at full-force with teammate Sourav Mondal when they both ran to catch the ball. Although he was hospitalized after the incident, he later died of a heart attack during treatment.

27. Alec Stewart, OBE had a batting average of 39.54. This is the lowest for a player who has scored at least 8000 runs. Stewart holds a score of 8,463 Test runs. This figure is significant because Stewart was born on April 8, 1963 (8/4/63). He is also the cricketer with the highest Test runs who does not have a career double history.

28. The cricket bat has been a source of controversy in cricket. In 1771, one player attempted to breach the rules. Thomas White, an English cricketer, took his turn with a bat that was as wide as the wickets in the field. This ensured better defense and gave Thomas an unfair advantage. A protest by the opposing team ensued which later led to a change in cricket laws in 1774, setting the bat width to no more than 4.25 inches.

29. Muttiah Muralitharan holds the record for the most wickets in ODI cricket (534) and the most number of Test wickets (800). Murali is the only cricketer to capture over 100 Test wickets at three events. He has also been awarded the most number of Man of the Series in Test cricket.

30. The oldest cricketer to play the game is England’s Wilfred Rhodes while the oldest living Test cricketer is South Africa’s John Watkins. Rhodes was 52 years old while Watkins (born 1923) is in his late 90s. Rhodes also holds a distinction in first class cricket, taking down over 4,000 wickets.

31. The Man of the Match title is awarded to the player who has contributed the most to make the best impact in a match or series. This title was first used in cricket and can be awarded to any player, whether his team has won or not. The only cricketer to have won the title four consecutive times is Sourav Chandidas Ganguly. The left-handed Dada played for the national team of India.

The President Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam presenting Padma Shri Award to Shri Saurav Ganguly. Image credit – Public.Resource.Org

32. A score of 100 runs by a batsman is called a “century”. It is one of the most sought-after levels of achievements in the sport. The first century ever scored was made by Australia’s Charlie Bannerman.

33. The Nelson is a term used to refer to a score of 111 by an individual player or a team. This is also used for multiples of 111, such as 222 (double Nelson), 333 (triple Nelson), and so on. The Nelson is considered unlucky because the number 111 is similar in appearance to a bail-less wicket. Players and fans believe that something bad or unlucky would occur when a player or team reaches that score.

34. Although the Nelson is feared by some players, there is no solid evidence that it is actually inauspicious. Regardless, some people choose to take precautions. Umpire and former cricketer David Shepherd would lift one leg up when it is a bowler’s turn to run in to bowl and the score is at 111. Fans would cheer him on when he did this.

35. At no other time was the unluckiness of the Nelson so dreaded as during a match between Australia and South Africa. The time was 11:11 and South Africa needed 111 runs to beat Australia. The date was November 11, 2011. The umpire and most of the crowd performed the David Shepherd leg raise for a minute as the scoreboard read: 11:11, 11/11/11. South Africa bested Australia by 8 wickets.

36. Among Australian players and fans, the score considered unlucky is 87. They call it the Devil’s number because 87 deducted from 100 is 13.

37. Still on the subject of cricket superstitions, the player with the most rituals performed during a match is arguably Neil McKenzie of South Africa. Before a game, for example, he would attach his cricket bat to the ceiling with tape. When it’s time for him to bat, he would check all the changing room lights to make sure they were shut off and that the toilet seats were down.

38. England is the first country to play 1,000 Test matches. They reached this milestone at Edgbaston in Birmingham in August 2018 against India. England won the series 4-1.

39. The highest-paid cricketer is India’s Virat Kohli. The New Delhi native is currently captain of the national team. Chikoo earns $4 million a year but rakes in an estimated $24 million in endorsements. He receives sponsorship deals from Audi, Google, Flipkart, and Puma. He is also the sole cricketer to land on Forbes’ list of highest-paid athletes in 2020.

40. Some of the sports’ most loyal fans consider cricket their religion – and they have a god. His name is Sachin Tendulkar. Although there are cricketers with excellent numbers, Tendulkar’s fans may have a point. Over his 24-year long career, he has notched 34,357 runs, averaged 51.74 half-centuries in 664 international matches, and has achieved 100 centuries. This, along with his charisma, earned him the nickname, God of Cricket.

Sachin Tendulkar defends the ball on Day 2 of the Second Test of the Border Gavaskar Trophy 2010 – 11. Image credit – Pulkit Sinha

41. The most common physical injuries among cricketers is a hamstring strain. This occurs among players in this sport due to sudden bursts of movement required in the game. Cricketers often stand still for long periods before they run or bowl. A hamstring strain also occurs due to overuse of muscles and joints.

42. Australia’s Donald Bradman (The Don) is considered the greatest batsman of all time. He has an unmatched 99.94 Test batting average – the best performance among all other players in all sports. Many fans believe there will never be another player like him.

43. The winningest cricket captain is Australia’s Ricky Ponting (served 2002-2012). During his time with the Australian team, he was instrumental in clinching 220 wins. His win rate is an impressive 67.90.

44. Cricket became an Olympic sport in 1896. However, no matches were held because there was an insufficient number of teams who attended. Had the sport been played that year, cricket would have earned the distinction of being the only team sport to be played at the time. The first Olympic match in the next Olympics (1900) was participated in by the men’s teams. Great Britain (represented by the Devon and Somerset Wanderers) won gold.

45. France placed second in the 1900 cricket Olympic games. They were represented by the Union of French Athletic Sports Societies. However, not all the players were French. Most of the players were Britons who were living in Paris during the period.

46. 1900 was the one and only time that cricket was played at the Paris Olympics. The game was participated in by only two teams – one from England and one from France. According to fans, the length of a match and the limited number of countries that participate in the sport may be to blame. There is some talk that cricket may return to the Games in 2028.

47. The dubious honor of being called the worst Test batsman belongs to New Zealand’s Chris Martin. He has a poor batting average and only ever achieved double figures once. He was so bad that he even starred in an ad for Pulp Sport spoofing his (lack of) batting skills.

48. When it was first mentioned in 1624, the cricket bat was not a bat but merely a stick, similar to the one used in hockey. In the 1770s after changes in the game’s laws, a swell was designed at the bottom. It was, however, very heavy. The oldest preserved cricket bat was made in 1729 and is kept in Oval’s Sandham Room in London.

49. The name for the sport is believed to have originated from “criquet”, the Old French term for stick, goal, or post. It may also have come from “kricke”, a Middle Dutch term for stick or staff.

50. The longest cricket match occurred in 1939 between South Africa and England. The game lasted for 14 days and ended in a draw.

Some interesting facts about famous cricketers

1. Virat Kohli

He is the fastest batsman to reach the milestone of 10,000 ODI runs, and to achieve this feat, he out mastered Sachin Tendulkar, another famous Indian cricketer. He is also the first Indian batsman to score a century on World Cup debut.

2. Brian Lara

Did you know that Brian Lara set the same world record twice against the same opposition at the same venue? He scored the highest individual test score in a test innings – the 375 vs England at St. Johns in 1994 and 400 runs not out against England again in 2004. His previous record of 375 was shattered by Matthew Hayden of Australia. However, Lara after 10 years, showed his remarkable talent once again and captured the record.

3. Virender Sehwag

He holds the world record for scoring the fastest triple hundred in test cricket in 278 balls. He achieved this amazing feat against South Africa in the Future Cup in Chennai, India, in 2008. He is also the only skipper to score a double hundred in ODIs.

4. M S Dhoni

His 183 not out against Sri Lanka in 2005 is the highest score by a wicket-keeper. This charismatic player also holds the record for most career runs in ODI history when batting at number six position.

5. Yuvraj Singh

He is one of the only three batsman to have scored the fastest fifty in Twenty20 cricket. Yuvraj singh is the only bowler to take two hat-tricks in the same IPL. He proved his might as a bowler in 2009 IPL season when he took the first hat-trick in the semi-final against RCB and the second in the final against Deccan Chargers.

6. Rahul Dravid

Moving on to another great cricket player from India. Rahul Dravid is the only batsman in the history of the game to have scored centuries in four consecutive test match innings. His famous nicknames include “The Wall” or “Mr. Dependable.”

7. Ricky Ponting

He holds the records for the most world cups won under his captainship. Australia became world champions twice when he was the captain – 2003 and 2007. Clive Llyod also achieved similar results for West Indies but in 1975 and 1979. Ricky Ponting is also the most successful cricket captain with the highest number of wins. Australia won 165 ODI matches out of the 230 played under his captainship, putting his win percentage to a staggering 76.14%.

8. Muttiah Muralitharan

Muttiah Muralitharan holds the World record of highest number of wickets in test cricket. He has taken 800 wickets in the 133 test matches that he played. And he has also taken the most number of caught and bowl wickets in test cricket – 31 times.

9. Don Bradman

Also known as Sir Don Bradman holds the records for the highest individual test batting average – 99.94.

10. Wasim Akram

The Pakistani player is known for securing four international hat-tricks (two apiece in tests and ODIs)

11. Chris Gayle

Did you know that Chris Gayle holds the records for the fastest century reached in any format of cricket? He scored 100 runs in 30 balls and also has the highest individual score in a T20 match besides hitting the most sixes in a single innings in the IPL. Now, that’s a lot of runs, isn’t it!

12. Shane Warne

When Shane Warne played his first cricket test match, he weighed 97 kilos. This match was against India at Sydney. He has different colored eyes due to a condition Heterochromia Iridium. One of his eyes is light blue and the other is green.

13. Glenn McGrath

Did you know that the Australian pacer dismissed 104 batsmen on a duck in Tests, the most by any fast bowler? McGrath ended his career with last ball wickets in all 3 formats of cricket – a feat that no other bowler has yet achieved.

14. Adam Gilchrist

Behind KC Sangakkara, Adam Gilchrist is the second most successful wicket-keeper in the world. He dismissed 472 players in 287 ODIs.

15. Imran khan

Imran khan, the 22nd Prime Minister of Pakistan, is one of the only six Pakistani politicians who were students at the Oxford University. Imran Khan’s full name is Imran Ahmad Khan Niazi. And according to some sources, he was once looted in Pakistan at gun point. His mobile phone, camera and credit card were all snatched by the looters while he was travelling in his car.

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    Sriram NadarajanWritten by Sriram Nadarajan

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