Revolution From Old To New Style Of Cricket

Revolution From Old To New Style Of Cricket

There is a consensus of expert opinion that cricket may have been invented during Saxon or Norman times by children living in the Weald, an area of dense woodlands and clearings in south-east England. The first reference to cricket being played as an adult sport was in 1611, and in the same year, a dictionary defined cricket as a boys’ game. There is also the thought that cricket may have derived from bowls, by the intervention of a batsman trying to stop the ball from reaching its target by hitting it away.

The years from 1726 to 1771 saw cricket establish itself as a leading sport in London and the south-eastern counties of England. In 1726, it was already a thriving sport in the south east and, though limited by the constraints of travel at the time, it was slowly gaining adherents in other parts of England, its growth accelerating with references being found in many counties to 1771. Having been essentially a rural pastime for well over a century, cricket became a focus for wealthy patrons and gamblers whose interests funded its growth throughout the 18th century.

Village cricket had developed by the middle of the 17th century and the first English “county teams” were formed in the second half of the century, as “local experts” from village cricket were employed as the earliest professionals. The first known game in which the teams use county names is in 1709. 

First Laws of Cricket 

In 1744, the first Laws of Cricket were written and subsequently amended in 1774, when innovations such as lbw, a 3rd stump, – the middle stump and a maximum bat width were added. The codes were drawn up by the “Star and Garter Club” whose members ultimately founded the famous Marylebone Cricket Club at Lord’s in 1787. MCC immediately became the custodian of the Laws and has made revisions ever since then to the current day.

Rolling the ball along the ground was superseded sometime after 1760 when bowlers began to pitch the ball and in response to that innovation the straight bat replaced the old “hockey-stick” style of bat. The Hambledon Club in Hampshire was the focal point of the game for about thirty years until the formation of MCC and the opening of Lord’s Cricket Ground in 1787.

Old Cricket Laws

In 1774, this said that the batsman is out if, with design, he prevents the ball hitting the wicket with his leg. In 1788, the “with design” clause was omitted and a new clause was introduced that the ball must have pitched straight. Also in 1788, protection of the pitch was first included in the Laws. In July and August 1727, two matches were organized by stakeholders Charles Lennox, 2nd Duke of Richmond and Alan Brodrick, 2nd Viscount Middleton. This is the first time that rules are known to have been formally agreed, their purpose being to resolve any problems between the patrons during their matches. The concept, however, was to attain greater importance in terms of defining rules of play as, eventually, these were codified as the Laws of Cricket.

Points that differ from the modern Laws (a) the wickets shall be pitched at twenty three yards distance from each other; (b) that twelve Gamesters shall play on each side; (c) the Batt Men for every one they count are to touch the Umpire’s Stick; (d) no Player shall be deemed out by any Wicket put down, unless with the Ball in Hand. In modern cricket: (a) the pitch is 22 yards long; (b) the teams are eleven-a-side; (c) runs were only completed if the batsman touched the umpire’s stick (which was probably a bat) and this practice was eventually replaced by the batsman having to touch the ground behind the popping crease; (d) run outs no longer require the ball to be in hand.

The earliest known code of Laws was enacted in 1744 but not actually printed, so far as it is known, until 1755. They were possibly an upgrade of an earlier code and the intention must have been to establish a universal codification.

Major Changes In Law

1744 code 

The earliest known code of Laws was enacted in 1744 but not actually printed, so far as it is known, until 1755. They were possibly an upgrade of an earlier code and the intention must have been to establish a universal codification. The Laws were drawn up by the “noblemen and gentlemen members of the London Cricket Club”, which was based at the Artillery Ground, although the printed version in 1755 states that “several cricket clubs” were involved, having met at the Star and Garter in Pall Mall.

1774 code

On Friday, 25 February 1774, the Laws were revised by a committee meeting at the Star and Garter. Chaired by Sir William Draper, the members included prominent cricket patrons the 3rd Duke of Dorset, the 4th Earl of Tankerville, Charles Powlett, Philip Dehany and Sir Horatio Mann. The clubs and counties represented were Kent, Hampshire, Surrey, Sussex, Middlesex and London.

1788 code

MCC was founded in 1787 and immediately assumed responsibility for the Laws, issuing a new version on 30 May 1788 which was called “The LAWS of the NOBLE GAME of CRICKET as revised by the Club at St. Mary-le-bone”. The third Law stated: “The stumps must be twenty-two inches out of the ground, the bail six inches in length”. These were the overall dimensions and the requirement for a third stump was unspecified, indicating that its use was still not universal. The 1788 code is much more detailed and descriptive than the 1774 code but, fundamentally, they are largely the same. 


The Laws today

Starting on 1 October 2017, the current version of the Laws are the “Laws of Cricket 2017 Code” which replaced the 6th Edition of the “2000 Code of Laws”. Custodianship of the Laws remains one of MCC’s most important roles. The ICC still relies on MCC to write and interpret the Laws, which are the responsibility of MCC’s Laws sub-committee. The process in MCC is that the sub-committee prepares a draft which is passed by the main committee. Certain levels of cricket, however, are subject to playing conditions which can differ from the Laws. At international level, playing conditions are implemented by the ICC; at domestic level by each country’s board of control.

Difference between old and new cricket ball

A new cricket ball is harder than a worn one and is preferred by fast bowlers because of the speed and bounce of the ball off the pitch.


The game of cricket revolves around both bat and ball. Bowlers try to dismiss the batsmen with the ball, while batters strike the ball with his bat by defending, attacking or simply leaving it. A ball roughly weighs in between 155.9 and 163 grams, while its circumference ranges between 22.4 and 22.9 centimetres. In earlier days, the red-ball was used in both Test cricket and ODI cricket. With the era of coloured clothing coming into practice, white balls are now used during limited-overs fixtures. To promote Day-Night game, now Pink balls have also come into the reckoning. The attributes of a pink ball are still under research.

Old and New Cricket BAT

Modern day bats are actually lighter than those used in the 1960s but have bigger edges and greater depth. The material at all times remained wood after Mike Brearley complained of Dennis Lillee’s aluminium bat in 1979.

The earliest cricket bat used was believed to be in 1620 when a batsman hit the fielder with a bat to prevent him from catching the ball. The shape of the bat was thought to be similar to modern hockey sticks since rolling the arm over wasn’t yet practised at the time. It started taking a rectangular form in the late 1700s and early 1800s. The laws had by then changed and bowlers were allowed to roll their arms over like they do in modern cricket. There were no restrictions on the size or the shape of the bat at that point of time. The width of the bat was set at four and a quarter inch by the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), the copyright holder of the Laws of Cricket in early

century. This came on the back of an Englishman, representing Ryegate, walking in to bat against Hambledon in 1771 with a bat as wide as the stumps.

The process changed by the late 1800s when bat manufacturer CC Bussey, from England used the sapwood trees. This made bats lighter and hence easier to wield. The manufacturing process changed from then on as more and more manufacturers preferred the sapwood, called the ‘white willow’ at the time.

Modern Cricket Format

There are three formats of cricket played at the international level – Test matches, One-Day Internationals and Twenty20 Internationals. These matches are played under the rules and regulations approved by the International Cricket Council, which also provides match officials for them.

Test cricket is the traditional form of the game, which has been played since 1877 and now settled in a five-day format which comprises two innings each. It is considered the pinnacle form because it tests teams over a longer period of time. Teams need to exhibit endurance, technique and temperament in different conditions to do well in this format.

One Day Internationals, also known as ODIs, are a pacier format which started in 1971 but gained in popularity from the 1980s. These are one-innings matches of 50 overs per side, in which teams with a blend of technique, speed and skill are expected to do well. The ICC’s pinnacle event, the ICC Cricket World Cup, is contested every four years in this format.

Twenty20 Internationals are the newest, shortest and fastest form of the game. This format of 20 overs per side has brought in new audiences since its advent in 2005 and also triggered new skill sets and innovations. A Twenty20 International match is usually competed in three hours and with huge hitting, skillful bowling and amazing fielding it has been hugely popular with fans right around the world. 

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