Looking back at the game of cricket, it is well established in well over 30 countries in the world. However, only 11 countries playing all three formats – Test, ODI, and T20I – at the highest level. Let us deep dive into the evolution of this gentlemen’s game, from its roots to the modern day.
The game of cricket has its existence in history way back in 1725. It has been noted that the game was played mostly in Great Britain but they were successful in establishing the games in Commonwealth countries in or about the 19th century. However, the focus of this article is more on its international format than its roots.
In a modern day, this format of cricket is being played for 5 days running, with both the teams getting a chance to bat and ball twice in the match. Each of this chance is known as an inning. Hence, test matches are of four innings.
However, this was a six-day affair in the past with one day of rest between the third and fourth day, finally making it a five-day game. However, times changed and so does the fitness levels, which allowed the decision to pan out the rest day and game being played for five continuous days.
As per history, the game at its international level was first played between the United States and Canada in the mid of 19th century, in its longest format called a test match. However, they are not the ones dominating the game in the modern day. Instead, its Commonwealth countries like India, Australia, Pakistan, New Zealand, England, etc.
Limited overs cricket
Over a period of time, the audience started feeling bored and felt that the game should play in a limited time to induce a result, to add excitement to the game, unlike test matches. The result of this desire is limited overs cricket, which evolved from strength to strength – from 50 overs to 20 overs – to rule the world.
In order to understand limited over cricket better, let us first understand the concept of over.
An over is a collection of six deliveries being bowled to a batsman one after the other by the same person (known as a bowler).
One Day International – popularly known by its shorter name ODI – is limited over format, where each team gets a chance to bowl and bat once. Hence, this is a two innings game. Each inning consists of 50 overs, thus allowing to bowl 300 legal (bearing wide balls and no balls) balls per inning. This game is played in a single day for about three and half hour per inning, with the break of 45 minutes between the inning, thus making it an affair of approx. 8 hours.
In contemporary cricket, this is the format being used to decide a world champion of the game, once every four years, like other popular sports.
Twenty-20 cricket or popularly known as T20 is the shortest recognized format of the game being played at international level. The format is quite similar to ODI, with the exception that each inning consists 20 overs instead of 50, thus making it an affair of merely 3 hours 30 minutes.
Evolution of this format has also brought in the glamor to the game since the format is attracting audiences more for and entertainment than game’s core values. However, this is the popular format amongst the masses and have helped spread the game around the world, due to its shorter time and entertainment values.
The important thing to note here is that the test format still remains its best format bringing out the core values of the game like technique, physical endurance, mental toughness, concentration, and team ethics.