Many films about England, which occur in the 1700's and 1800's, often, have a scene which involves the game of Cricket. Although it looks a lot like American baseball, it is different, seeing as cricket is baseball's predecessor by at least 300 years. The game seems to be played by all people in all social status circles, and is enjoyed by all people from the royal family to the lowliest commoner. It was also played by all who knew the rules and had the equipment to play the game. It was recently featured in the movie The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and it was because the ball hit and broke a window that the children hid in the wardrobe and ended up in Narnia with a great adventure on their hands.
The history of Cricket is long and complex. In 1598, the first written record of the game of Cricket was recorded as being played. It became solely an adult game in 1611 and was featured in a Shakespeare play, because it was so popular with the masses. After nearly two centuries of being nearly outlawed by the country's puritanical zealots because the game caused people to bet on the games, riot for teams, get arrested for horrible behavior, or skip church on Sundays to play, the London magistrate declared the game was 'respectable' and could be played without fear of reprisal or jail time. Marylebone Cricket Club wrote the 'Laws of Cricket' in 1788, which gave some guidelines to the play of the game and penalties for breaking the laws. The laws were explicit on how long the pitch was meant to be from the pitcher to the hitter. They also detailed how far the pitching crease was to be from the bowling crease. The bowling crease was where the hitter was to stand and wait for the pitch. It addressed the exact size of the wicket, along with the ball and how much it should weigh. The way that the ball was pitched was always underhand until 1864, when and over arm bowling was allowed to be used. This was the pitch that broke the window in the Narnia movie.
The history of Cricket game play began before the Civil War and was helpful in keeping the country's mind off of the troubles brewing within the nation itself. The first international game of Cricket was played in 1844. The teams who played were the United States and Canada.
As far as an Olympic standing went, Cricket's only time in the Games was in 1900. This featured France and Britain in a game which lasted 5 days of play. This was the normal time period for a game until the 1960's when the game was abbreviated to one day of game play. Unfortunately, in 1981, the pitching by underarm bowling was not allowed after a game between Australia and New Zealand. The incident involved the Australian captain ordering the pitcher of his team to utilize the underarm technique in an effort to stop the New Zealand team from scoring any more runs.
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