Blog for and by students and staff in the English section of the University of Namur's Department of Germanic languages...
Friday, December 09, 2011
Cricket and the Lord’s
Cricket is the national sport of England. It is a bat and ball game opposing two teams of eleven players. It is played on an oval field with a flat strip in its centre, the pitch, at which ends stand wickets. The cricket match is split up in innings,after which there is a team switch.
All the members of the fielding team (defence) and two members of the batting team (offence), stand on the field. The two batsmen face each other on the pitch whereas the fielding team stays around it. The fielding team occupies strategic positions on the field. It includes the bowler who throws the ball towards the batter and tries to dismiss him by hitting the wickets. The wicket-keeper stays behind the wickets to catch the ball if the batsman does not manage to strike it.The rest of the team has to catch the ball after the batter has struck it, and then to hit the wickets with it in order to restrict the batter’s run. The aim of the batting team is to score as many runs as possible after the striker hit the ball. The two ways to score a run are the following: running between the wickets or hitting the ball so as to cut through the boundary line. There are numerous variations in terms of rules and different types of cricket games may be distinguished: First-class cricket, Limited overs cricket, Test cricket, Indoor cricket …
The term “cricket” may come from the Old English “cricc” or “cryce”, or from Dutch. However the game itself has definitely English origins.
Cricket in the 17th century
The first known reference to the sport (“creckett”) goes back to the 16th century. Nevertheless, traces point out that it existed as a children game during Saxon or Norman times.
From the 17th century onwards the game kept on spreading in older classes but also in nobility and fee-paying schools. The 18th century saw the venue of the first “county teams”, as well as the world-wide expansion of the game. An important innovation also took place at this period, namely the pitching of the ball. In the 19th century the modern county clubs appeared. It witnessed the Golden Age of Cricket, starting with the formation of the County Championship and ending with the outbreak of the First World War. Nowadays, cricket remains an important world sport with regards to participants, spectators and media coverage, but its core remains on the British soil. Cricket has had considerable repercussions on popular culture in Britain but also all around the world, and those are observable in the English lexicon and idioms (“That’s not cricket”, “Bradmanesque”), in the movie field and of course in the considerable number of by-products.
Lord’s Cricket Ground, the most important cricket venue, is located in London. It inherited the name of its founder Thomas Lord and is owned by the MCC. It is no longer on its original site and has already moved thrice. The present ground is located north-west of London. This site is noticeable by multiple features such as the Pavillon, the Media Centre, the Tavern Stand as well as a significant field slope. Nowadays, Lord’s hosts two Tests every summer among other matches. It will also be a venue for the 2012 Summer Olympics.