Cricket is one of the most popular games in India. The young and old alike are affected by this game. It is not a native game of India. The British who ruled our country introduced this game and now it has struck deep roots in our country. This game is mostly played in the commonwealth countries which were British colonies.
The cricketing countries are England, Australia, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Zimbabwe, New Zealand, West Indies and Bangladesh. Netherlands, Ireland and the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) have also joined the band of cricketing countries.
The cricket matches were usually played for five days with a day’s break. This day was called the ‘Rest-Day’. These were the ‘traditional’ test matches. Eleven players represent each side. A test match is divided into two innings known as the first innings and second innings. The victory or defeat is decided by the total runs scored by each team in the two innings. The team that scores the maximum runs is declared the winner. The five day test matches held sway for a long time. In recent times, one day cricket matches have become popular. In the test matches, the Rest-Day is withdrawn.
The teams are expected to show their ‘mettle’ in one day matches. Normally each team is given fifty over’s and the participants display their skill in these ‘Limited Over’ matches. These matches are played during the day as well as night. The ‘One-day’ matches are more exciting and they have cast a spell on the spectators. These are ‘result-oriented’ matches and the spectators look forward to ‘nail-biting’ finishes. You must have seen some of these matches on your television.
India has produced some great cricketers, who attained ‘International Celebrity’ status. C.K. Naidu, Nawab of Pataudi, Vijay Hazare, Lala Amarnath, Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev, Viswanath, Chandrasekhar, Krishnamachari Srikanth, Azharuddin, Sourav Ganguly, Anil Kumble and Sachin Tendulkar are some of the bright stars who brotght laurels to India in international cricket.
In India, besides test matches and one day matches at the national level, we have cricket matches at different levels. There are inter state matches and zonal matches. There are a number of trophies associated with Indian cricket. These are (1) Duleep Trophy, (2) Moinuddowla Gold Cup, (3) Vizzy Trophy, (4) Ranji Trophy and (5) Rohintan Baria Trophy (Inter-University Trophy).
In the international field we have the Ashes. This is the symbolic trophy won by the winning team after a series of cricket matches between England and Australia. You must be aware of the world cup also. This is awarded to the best cricket team of the world. The Australians had the distinction of winning this cup thrice consecutively.
Cricket, although limited to commonwealth countries and England is one of most popular games in the world of sports. Although advanced countries like the U.S.A. Russia and a sport loving country like China do not play this game, millions of people watch the cricket matches on television all over the world.