DateLine: 19th September 2012
It all started in 16th century when children were looking to play a new sort of game using sheepís wool as a ball and a stick or a farm tool for a bat. It may surprise cricket lovers to know that a game that has been delved into by so many adults was actually devised by children and progressively adults started playing it as a full-fledged sport in the 17th century.
From heavy wooden sticks to timber bats, cricket has evolved over a long period of time. Cricket tries to adapt to changing needs of people and thatís why the sport has seen so much change with regards to rules, regulations, mode of playing and other issues.
In its early days, cricket was a short game that used to last a day then moved towards 5 or 6-day 'Test' cricket as those long hours of cricket were satisfying for people of the era who had developed great attraction towards classical cricket. This mode is still a charismatic play for grandfathers who speak passionately about the game and how in those days players used to play the game more naturally than show off like today. But gradually the acceptance of Test Cricket slumped as people become busier in their lives with the world changing at a faster rate. Though Test Cricket is still considered the real form of the game and is played among qualified nations, the shorter limited overs game that emerged in the mid 20th century snatched-away its charm.
Cricket then shifted its form into matches that again lasted only one-day. The first 'One-Day International, ODI. was played between Australia and England accidentally when rain interrupted the three days of a Test match and the officials decided to cut it short and limited the game to 40 overs per side to decide the winner. And this heralded the start of ODI era. The customary white attire was transformed into coloured clothing and soon followed 'day and night' floodlit matches to further facilitate the fans.
Many different strategies of the game were brought into force, rules change, and new trends came in regarding bowling, batting, wickets, fielding and etiquette on the field. Not to mention the glamour of television, modern technology, and graphics brought to cricket. More precise decisions could be made by officials based on the adaption of new technology and the game just kept on becoming more sophisticated!
And now originated another even shorter version of a game that used to be played for upto 5 days - Twenty20! This is the form of cricket that can suddenly and excitingly produce an outlandish six when the team requires 3 runs off one remaining ball. With the advent of this modern trend, new things were introduced like free hits, sudden death bowl-outs (stump hitting and super overs in case of ties. Power plays and other measures have come about to make this game more exciting and elating.
In our part of the world Ė Pakistan, Cricket is the most common sport that has a huge fan following in every segment of society irrespective of residing in a metropolis, a town or a village. The game is even popular among people of all age group, gender, cast and creed.
If itís not too much of a hyperbole, the phenomenal growth of cricket has tightened its grip on the sub-continent's Indo-Pak psyche and is likened to religion in Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka. Specially so, if Pakistan and India face-off when the masses, nay, the entire Nations' unite to pray for a win forgetting differences, politics or other animosities.
Although Hockey is the official National Game of Pakistan, it is cricket that enjoys supremacy in terms of fan following. From a school going kid to a senior citizen, the charisma of cricket has enchanted almost every Pakistani. People plan their activities, leaves and travel plans only after checking out the schedule of the Pakistan Cricket team. Cricket is also the fastest way of befriending another person because cricket is the best remover of inhibitions and differences.
Travel around and no matter which part of Pakistan you visit, there will be bunch of kids playing cricket with unbound enthusiasm.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
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