Cricket

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Posted by bender 03/12/2009 @ 21:13

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England 368-3 v West Indies - BBC Sport
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LAHORE, Pakistan (AFP) — Pakistan's cricket chief left Friday on a South Asian tour to try to win support in his battle against the ICC's decision to strip the country of its World Cup matches, an official said. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has...
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MELBOURNE: Speedster Shaun Tait lashed out at Cricket Australia (CA) after losing his central contract, saying it has come as a 'bit of a kick in the teeth'. Tait, who was left out of the new CA contract on Thursday, said he will now turn to English...
Top bowlers use cricket's IPL as comeback platform - AFP
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Live Current Weaseling out of Cricket Deals - Domain Name Wire
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Cricket can be played on village green after injunction thrown out ... - Telegraph.co.uk
A cricket club is free to continue playing on its village green after a judge threw out a case from a neighbour concerned that balls were hitting on to his roof or into his garden. Mike Burgess applied for an injunction to prevent Shamley Green Cricket...
Andrew Flintoff touch and go for World Twenty20 - guardian.co.uk
However, there is a limit to the amount of cricket available to him as suitable preparation for the rigours of a high-profile five-match series. Lancashire have just three championship matches next month, starting on 6, 11 and 17 June and he must...
EDITORIAL: Junior cricket programme needs overhaul - ThisDay
THE national U-19 cricket team's spell in international competitions hit a new low a couple of weeks ago after the squad fared dismally in the ICC U-19 World Cup qualifiers, Africa Zone, in Lusaka, Zambia. The squad won one out of seven matches to cap...
Does Andrew Strauss see Chris Gayle in his sleep? - guardian.co.uk
Chris Gayle's comments about not really caring if Test cricket went away and we just did Twenty20 were alarming. But by now we have got quite good at just blotting out that sort of talk. This time was different though: Gayle also had a message for...
For Els, it could've been cricket - Indian Express
“I always loved playing cricket. To be honest, Dad had a real battle getting me away from cricket to concentrate on golf. But I still catch up with the game. I try to go watch some matches whenever my schedule allows and I'm good friends with a lot of...

Cricket

A typical cricket field.

Cricket is a bat-and-ball team sport that originated in southern England. The earliest definite reference is dated 1598, and it is now played in more than 100 countries. There are several forms of cricket; at its highest level is Test cricket. Test cricket is followed in rank by One Day International cricket, the format of the Cricket World Cup. The last World Cup was televised in over 200 countries to a viewing audience estimated at more than two billion viewers.

A cricket match is contested by two teams, usually of eleven players each and is played on a grass field in the centre of which is a flat strip of ground 22 yards (20 m) long called a pitch. A wicket, usually made of wood, is placed at each end of the pitch and used as a target.

The bowler, a player from the fielding team, bowls a hard leather, fist-sized, 5.5-ounce (160 g) cricket ball from the vicinity of one wicket towards the other, which is guarded by the batsman, a player from the opposing team. The ball usually bounces once before reaching the batsman. In defence of his wicket, the batsman plays the ball with a wooden cricket bat. Meanwhile, the other members of the bowler's team stand in various positions around the field as fielders, players who retrieve the ball in an effort to stop the batsman scoring runs, and if possible to get him or her out. The batsman—if he or she does not get out—may run between the wickets, exchanging ends with a second batsman (the "non-striker"), who has been stationed at the other end of the pitch. Each completed exchange of ends scores one run. Runs are also scored if the batsman hits the ball to the boundary of the playing area. The number of runs scored and the number of players out are the main factors that determine the eventual match result.

There are several variations as to how long a game of cricket can last. In professional cricket this can be anything from a match limited to 20 overs per side to a game played over 5 days. Depending on the length of the game being played, there are different rules that govern how a game is won, lost, drawn or tied.

Cricket is essentially an outdoor sport, certainly at major level, and some games are played under floodlights. For example, it is played during the summer in Australia, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and South Africa, while in India, the West Indies, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh it is played mostly during the winter after the monsoon season.

Governance rests primarily with the International Cricket Council (ICC), based in Dubai, which organises the sport worldwide via the domestic controlling bodies of the member countries. The ICC administers both men's and women's cricket, both versions being played at international level. Although men cannot play women's cricket, the rules do not disqualify women from playing in a men's team.

The rules are in the form of a code known as The Laws of Cricket and these are maintained by the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), based in London, in consultation with the ICC and the domestic boards of control.

A cricket match is played between two teams (or sides) of eleven players each on a field of variable size and shape. The ground is grassy and is prepared by groundsmen whose jobs include fertilising, mowing, rolling and levelling the surface. Field diameters of 140–160 yards (130–150 m) are usual. The perimeter of the field is known as the boundary and this is sometimes painted and sometimes marked by a rope that encircles the outer edge of the field. The field may be round, square or oval – one of cricket's most famous venues is called The Oval.

The objective of each team is to score more "runs" than the other team and to completely "dismiss" the other team. In one form of cricket, winning the game is achieved by scoring the most runs, even if the opposition has not been completely dismissed. In another form, it is necessary to score the most runs and dismiss the opposition in order to win the match, which would otherwise be drawn.

Before play commences, the two team captains toss a coin to decide which team shall bat or bowl first. The captain who wins the toss makes his decision on the basis of tactical considerations which may include the current and expected pitch and weather conditions.

The key action takes place in a specially prepared area of the field (generally in the centre) that is called the "pitch". At either end of the pitch, 22 yards (20 m) apart, are placed the "wickets". These serve as a target for the "bowling" aka "fielding" side and are defended by the "batting" side which seeks to accumulate runs. Basically, a run is scored when the "batsman" has literally run the length of the pitch after hitting the ball with his bat, although as explained below there are many ways of scoring runs. If the batsmen are not attempting to score any more runs, the ball is "dead" and is returned to the bowler to be bowled again.

The bowling side seeks to dismiss the batsmen by various means until the batting side is "all out", whereupon the side that was bowling takes its turn to bat and the side that was batting must "take the field".

In professional matches, there are 15 people on the field while a match is in play. Two of these are the "umpires" who regulate all on-field activity. Two are the batsmen, one of whom is the "striker" as he is facing the bowling; the other is called the "non-striker". The roles of the batsmen are interchangeable as runs are scored and "overs" are completed. The fielding side has all 11 players on the field together. One of them is the "bowler", another is the "wicketkeeper" and the other nine are called "fielders". The wicketkeeper (or keeper) is nearly always a specialist but any of the fielders can be called upon to bowl.

The pitch is 22 yards (20 m) long between the wickets and is 10 feet (3.0 m) wide. It is a flat surface and has very short grass that tends to be worn away as the game progresses. The "condition" of the pitch has a significant bearing on the match and team tactics are always determined with the state of the pitch, both current and anticipated, as a deciding factor.

Each wicket consists of three wooden stumps placed in a straight line and surmounted by two wooden crosspieces called bails; the total height of the wicket including bails is 28.5 inches (720 mm) and the combined width of the three stumps is 9 inches (230 mm).

Four lines, known as creases, are painted onto the pitch around the wicket areas to define the batsman's "safe territory" and to determine the limit of the bowler's approach. These are called the "popping" (or batting) crease, the bowling crease and two "return" creases.

The stumps are placed in line on the bowling creases and so these must be 22 yards (20 m) apart. A bowling crease is 8 feet 8 inches (2.6 m) long with the middle stump placed dead centre. The popping crease has the same length, is parallel to the bowling crease and is 4 feet (1.2 m) in front of the wicket. The return creases are perpendicular to the other two; they are adjoined to the ends of the popping crease and are drawn through the ends of the bowling crease to a length of at least 8 feet (2.4 m).

When bowling the ball, the bowler's back foot in his "delivery stride" must land within the two return creases while his front foot must land on or behind the popping crease. If the bowler breaks this rule, the umpire calls "No ball".

The importance of the popping crease to the batsman is that it marks the limit of his safe territory for he can be stumped or run out (see Dismissals below) if the wicket is broken while he is "out of his ground".

Pitches vary in consistency, and thus in the amount of bounce, spin, and seam movement available to the bowler. Hard pitches are usually good to bat on because of high but even bounce. Dry pitches tend to deteriorate for batting as cracks often appear, and when this happens spinners can play a major role. Damp pitches, or pitches covered in grass (termed "green" pitches), allow good fast bowlers to extract extra bounce. Such pitches tend to offer help to fast bowlers throughout the match, but become better for batting as the game goes on.

The essence of the sport is that a bowler delivers the ball from his end of the pitch towards the batsman who, armed with a bat is "on strike" at the other end.

The bat is made of wood and has the shape of a blade topped by a cylindrical handle. The blade must not be more than 4.25 inches (108 mm) wide and the total length of the bat not more than 38 inches (970 mm).

The ball is a hard leather-seamed spheroid with a circumference of 9 inches (230 mm). The hardness of the ball, which can be delivered at speeds of more than 90 miles per hour (140 km/h), is a matter for concern and batsmen wear protective clothing including "pads" (designed to protect the knees and shins), "batting gloves" for the hands, a helmet for the head and a "box" inside the trousers (to protect the crotch area). Some batsmen wear additional padding inside their shirts and trousers such as thigh pads, arm pads, rib protectors and shoulder pads.

The game on the field is regulated by two umpires, one of whom stands behind the wicket at the bowler's end, the other in a position called "square leg" which is several yards behind the batsman on strike. When the bowler delivers the ball, the umpire at the wicket is between the bowler and the non-striker. The umpires confer if there is doubt about playing conditions and can postpone the match by taking the players off the field if necessary, for example rain or deterioration of the light.

Off the field and in televised matches, there is often a third umpire who can make decisions on certain incidents with the aid of video evidence. The third umpire is mandatory under the playing conditions for Test matches and limited overs internationals played between two ICC full members. These matches also have a match referee whose job is to ensure that play is within the Laws of cricket and the spirit of the game.

Off the field, the match details including runs and dismissals are recorded by two official scorers, one representing each team. The scorers are directed by the hand signals of an umpire. For example, the umpire raises a forefinger to signal that the batsman is out (has been dismissed); he raises both arms above his head if the batsman has hit the ball for six runs. The scorers are required by the Laws of cricket to record all runs scored, wickets taken and overs bowled. In practice, they accumulate much additional data such as bowling analyses and run rates.

The innings (always used in the plural form) is the term used for the collective performance of the batting side. In theory, all eleven members of the batting side take a turn to bat but, for various reasons, an "innings" can end before they all do so (see below).

Depending on the type of match being played, each team has one or two innings apiece. The term "innings" is also sometimes used to describe an individual batsman's contribution ("he played a fine innings" etc).

The main aim of the bowler, supported by his fielders, is to dismiss the batsman. A batsman when dismissed is said to be "out" and that means he must leave the field of play and be replaced by the next batsman on his team. When ten batsmen have been dismissed (i.e., are out), then the whole team is dismissed and the innings is over. The last batsman, the one who has not been dismissed, is not allowed to continue alone as there must always be two batsmen "in". This batsman is termed "not out".

If an innings should end before ten batsmen have been dismissed, there are two "not out" batsmen. An innings can end early for three reasons: because the batting side's captain has chosen to "declare" the innings closed (which is a tactical decision), or because the batting side has achieved its target and won the game, or because the game has ended prematurely due to bad weather or running out of time. In limited overs cricket, there might be two batsmen still "in" when the last of the allotted overs has been bowled.

The bowler bowls the ball in sets of six deliveries (or "balls") and each set of six balls is called an over. This name came about because the umpire calls "Over!" when six balls have been bowled. At this point, another bowler is deployed at the other end and the fielding side changes ends. A bowler cannot bowl two successive overs, although a bowler can bowl unchanged at the same end for several overs. The batsmen do not change ends and so the one who was non-striker is now the striker and vice-versa. The umpires also change positions so that the one who was at square leg now stands behind the wicket at the non-striker's end and vice-versa.

A team consists of eleven players. Depending on his or her primary skills, a player may be classified as a specialist batsman or bowler. A well-balanced team usually has five or six specialist batsmen and four or five specialist bowlers. Teams nearly always include a specialist wicket-keeper because of the importance of this fielding position. Each team is headed by a captain who is responsible for making tactical decisions such as determining the batting order, the placement of fielders and the rotation of bowlers.

A player who excels in both batting and bowling is known as an all-rounder. One who excels as a batsman and wicket-keeper is known as a "wicket-keeper/batsman", sometimes regarded as a type of all-rounder. True all-rounders are rare as most players focus on either batting or bowling skills.

All eleven players on the fielding side take the field together. One of them is the wicket-keeper aka "keeper" who operates behind the wicket being defended by the batsman on strike. Wicket-keeping is normally a specialist occupation and his primary job is to gather deliveries that the batsman does not hit, so that the batsmen cannot run byes. He wears special gloves (he is the only fielder allowed to do so), and pads to cover his lower legs. Owing to his position directly behind the striker, the wicket-keeper has a good chance of getting a batsman out caught off a fine edge from the bat. He is the only player who can get a batsman out stumped.

Apart from the one currently bowling, the other nine fielders are tactically deployed by the team captain in chosen positions around the field. These positions are not fixed but they are known by specific and sometimes colourful names such as "slip", "third man", "silly mid on" and "long leg". There are always many unprotected areas.

The captain is the most important member of the fielding side as he determines all the tactics including who should bowl (and how); and he is responsible for "setting the field", though usually in consultation with the bowler.

In all forms of cricket, if a fielder gets injured or becomes ill during a match, a substitute is allowed to field instead of him. The substitute cannot bowl, act as a captain or keep wicket. The substitute leaves the field when the injured player is fit to return.

The bowler reaches his delivery stride by means of a "run-up", although some bowlers with a very slow delivery take no more than a couple of steps before bowling. A fast bowler needs momentum and takes quite a long run-up, running very fast as he does so.

The fastest bowlers can deliver the ball at a speed of over 90 miles per hour (140 km/h) and they sometimes rely on sheer speed to try and defeat the batsman, who is forced to react very quickly. Other fast bowlers rely on a mixture of speed and guile. Some fast bowlers make use of the seam of the ball so that it "curves" or "swings" in flight. This type of delivery can deceive a batsman into mistiming his shot so that the ball touches the edge of the bat and can then be "caught behind" by the wicketkeeper or a slip fielder.

At the other end of the bowling scale is the "spinner" who bowls at a relatively slow pace and relies entirely on guile to deceive the batsman. A spinner will often "buy his wicket" by "tossing one up" (a parabolic path) to lure the batsman into making a poor shot. The batsman has to be very wary of such deliveries as they are often "flighted" or spun so that the ball will not behave quite as he expects and he could be "trapped" into getting himself out.

In between the pacemen and the spinners are the "medium pacers" who rely on persistent accuracy to try and contain the rate of scoring and wear down the batsman's concentration.

All bowlers are classified according to their pace or style. The classifications, as with much cricket terminology, can be very confusing. Hence, a bowler could be classified as LF, meaning he is a left arm fast bowler; or as LBG, meaning he is a right arm spin bowler who bowls deliveries that are called a "leg break" and a "googly".

During the bowling action the elbow may be held at any angle and may bend further, but may not straighten out. If the elbow straightens illegally then the square-leg umpire may call no-ball. The current laws allow a bowler to straighten his arm 15 degrees or less.

At any one time, there are two batsmen in the playing area. One takes station at the striker's end to defend the wicket as above and to score runs if possible. His partner, the non-striker, is at the end where the bowler is operating.

Batsmen come in to bat in a batting order, decided by the team captain. The first two batsmen – the "openers" – usually face the most hostile bowling, from fresh fast bowlers with a new ball. The top batting positions are usually given to the most competent batsmen in the team, and the non-batsmen typically bat last. The pre-announced batting order is not mandatory and when a wicket falls any player who has not yet batted may be sent in next.

If a batsman "retires" (usually due to injury) and cannot return, he is actually "not out" and his retirement does not count as a dismissal, though in effect he has been dismissed because his innings is over. Substitute batsmen are not allowed.

A skilled batsman can use a wide array of "shots" or "strokes" in both defensive and attacking mode. The idea is to hit the ball to best effect with the flat surface of the bat's blade. If the ball touches the side of the bat it is called an "edge". Batsmen do not always seek to hit the ball as hard as possible, and a good player can score runs just by making a deft stroke with a turn of the wrists or by simply "blocking" the ball but directing it away from fielders so that he has time to take a run.

There is a wide variety of shots played in cricket. The batsman's repertoire includes strokes named according to the style of swing and the direction aimed: e.g., "cut", "drive", "hook", "pull".

Note that a batsman does not have to play a shot and can "leave" the ball to go through to the wicketkeeper, providing he thinks it will not hit his wicket. Equally, he does not have to attempt a run when he hits the ball with his bat. He can deliberately use his leg to block the ball and thereby "pad it away" but this is risky because of the lbw rule.

In the event of an injured batsman being fit to bat but not to run, the umpires and the fielding captain may allow another member of the batting side to be a runner. If possible, the runner must already have batted. The runner's only task is to run between the wickets instead of the injured batsman. The runner is required to wear and carry exactly the same equipment as the incapacitated batsman. It is possible for both batsmen to have runners.

The primary concern of the batsman on strike (i.e., the "striker") is to prevent the ball hitting the wicket and secondarily to score runs by hitting the ball with his bat so that he and his partner have time to run from one end of the pitch to the other before the fielding side can return the ball. To register a run, both runners must touch the ground behind the crease with either their bats or their bodies (the batsmen carry their bats as they run). Each completed run increments the score.

More than one run can be scored from a single hit but, while hits worth one to three runs are common, the size of the field is such that it is usually difficult to run four or more. To compensate for this, hits that reach the boundary of the field are automatically awarded four runs if the ball touches the ground en route to the boundary or six runs if the ball clears the boundary on the full. The batsmen do not need to run if the ball reaches or crosses the boundary.

Hits for five are unusual and generally rely on the help of "overthrows" by a fielder returning the ball. If an odd number of runs is scored by the striker, the two batsmen have changed ends and the one who was non-striker is now the striker. Only the striker can score individual runs but all runs are added to the team's total.

The decision to attempt a run is ideally made by the batsman, who has the better view of the ball's progress, and this is communicated by calling: "yes", "no" and "wait" are often heard.

Running is a calculated risk because if a fielder breaks the wicket with the ball while the nearest batsman is out of his ground (i.e., he does not have part of his body or bat in contact with the ground behind the popping crease), the batsman is run out.

A team's score is reported in terms of the number of runs scored and the number of batsmen that have been dismissed. For example, if five batsmen are out and the team has scored 224 runs, they are said to have scored 224 for the loss of 5 wickets (commonly shortened to "224 for five" and written 224/5 or, in Australia, "five for 224" and 5/224).

When the bowler has bowled a no ball or a wide, his team incurs an additional penalty because that ball (i.e., delivery) has to be bowled again and hence the batting side has the opportunity to score more runs from this extra ball. The batsmen have to run (i.e., unless the ball goes to the boundary for four) to claim byes and leg byes but these only count towards the team total, not to the striker's individual total for which runs must be scored off the bat.

There are ten ways in which a batsman can be dismissed and some are so unusual that only a few instances of them exist in the whole history of the game. The most common forms of dismissal are "bowled", "caught", "leg before wicket" (lbw), "run out", "stumped" and "hit wicket". The unusual methods are "hit the ball twice", "obstructed the field", "handled the ball" and "timed out".

Before the umpire will award a dismissal and declare the batsman to be out, a member of the fielding side (generally the bowler) must "appeal". This is invariably done by asking (or shouting) the term "Owzat?" which means, simply enough, "How is that?" If the umpire agrees with the appeal, he will raise a forefinger and say "Out!". Otherwise he will shake his head and say "Not out". Appeals are particularly loud when the circumstances of the claimed dismissal are unclear, as is always the case with lbw and often with run outs and stumpings.

In the vast majority of cases, it is the striker who is out when a dismissal occurs. If the non-striker is dismissed it is usually by being run out, but he could also be dismissed for obstructing the field, handling the ball or being timed out.

A batsman may leave the field without being dismissed. If injured or taken ill the batsman may temporarily retire, and be replaced by the next batsman. This is recorded as retired hurt or retired ill. The retiring batsman is not out, and may resume the innings later. An unimpaired batsman may retire, and this is treated as being dismissed retired out; no player is credited with the dismissal. Batsmen cannot be out bowled, caught, leg before wicket, stumped or hit wicket off a no ball. They cannot be out bowled, caught, leg before wicket, or hit the ball twice off a wide. Some of these modes of dismissal can occur without the bowler bowling a delivery. The batsman who is not on strike may be run out by the bowler if he leaves his crease before the bowler bowls, and a batsman can be out obstructing the field or retired out at any time. Timed out is, by its nature, a dismissal without a delivery. With all other modes of dismissal, only one batsman can be dismissed per ball bowled.

If the team that bats last is all out having scored fewer runs than their opponents, the team is said to have "lost by n runs" (where n is the difference between the number of runs scored by the teams). If the team that bats last scores enough runs to win, it is said to have "won by n wickets", where n is the number of wickets left to fall. For instance a team that passes its opponents' score having only lost six wickets would have won "by four wickets".

In a two-innings-a-side match, one team's combined first and second innings total may be less than the other side's first innings total. The team with the greater score is then said to have won by an innings and n runs, and does not need to bat again: n is the difference between the two teams' aggregate scores.

If the team batting last is all out, and both sides have scored the same number of runs, then the match is a tie; this result is quite rare in matches of two innings a side. In the traditional form of the game, if the time allotted for the match expires before either side can win, then the game is declared a draw.

If the match has only a single innings per side, then a maximum number of deliveries for each innings is often imposed. Such a match is called a "limited overs" or "one-day" match, and the side scoring more runs wins regardless of the number of wickets lost, so that a draw cannot occur. If this kind of match is temporarily interrupted by bad weather, then a complex mathematical formula, known as the Duckworth-Lewis method after its developers, is often used to recalculate a new target score. A one-day match can also be declared a "no-result" if fewer than a previously agreed number of overs have been bowled by either team, in circumstances that make normal resumption of play impossible; for example, wet weather.

Cricket is a multi-faceted sport which, in very broad terms, can be divided into major cricket and minor cricket based on playing standards. A more pertinent division, particularly in terms of major cricket, is between matches in which the teams have two innings apiece and those in which they have a single innings each. The former, known as first-class cricket, has a duration of three to five days (there have been examples of "timeless" matches too); the latter, known as limited overs cricket because each team bowls a limit of typically 50 overs, has a planned duration of one day only (a match can be extended if necessary due to bad weather, etc.).

Typically, two-innings matches have at least six hours of playing time each day. Limited overs matches often last six hours or more. There are usually formal intervals on each day for lunch and tea with brief informal breaks for drinks. There is also a short interval between innings. Historically, a form of cricket known as single wicket has been extremely successful and many of these contests in the 18th and 19th centuries qualify as major cricket matches. In this form, although each team may have from one to six players, there is only one batsman at a time and he must face every delivery bowled while his innings lasts. Single wicket has rarely been played since limited overs cricket began.

Test cricket is the highest standard of first-class cricket. A Test match is an international fixture between teams representing those countries that are Full Members of the ICC.

Although the term "Test match" was not coined until much later, Test cricket is deemed to have begun with two matches between Australia and England in the 1876-77 Australian season. Subsequently, eight other national teams have achieved Test status: South Africa (1889), West Indies (1928), New Zealand (1929), India (1932), Pakistan (1952), Sri Lanka (1982), Zimbabwe (1992) and Bangladesh (2000). Zimbabwe subsequently suspended its Test status in 2006 due to its inability to compete against other Test teams and has yet to resume playing test cricket. According to ICC Test rankings, Australia is the leading national team followed by South Africa and India.

Welsh players are eligible to play for England, which is in effect an England and Wales team. The West Indies team comprises players from numerous states in the Caribbean, most notably Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, the Leeward Islands and the Windward Islands.

Test matches between two teams are usually played in a group of matches called a "series". Matches last up to five days and a series normally consists of three to five matches. Test matches that are not finished within the allotted time are drawn.

Since 1882, most Test series between England and Australia have been played for a trophy known as The Ashes. Some other series have individual trophies too: for example, the Wisden Trophy is contested by England and West Indies; the Frank Worrell Trophy by Australia and West Indies.

Standard limited overs cricket was introduced in England in the 1963 season in the form of a knockout cup contested by the first-class county clubs. In 1969, a national league competition was established. The concept was gradually introduced to the other major cricket countries and the first limited overs international was played in 1971. In 1975, the first Cricket World Cup took place in England. Limited overs cricket has seen various innovations including the use of multi-coloured kit and floodlit matches using a white ball.

A "one day match", named so because each match is scheduled for completion in a single day, is the most common form of limited overs cricket played on an international level. In practice, matches sometimes continue on a second day if they have been interrupted or postponed by bad weather. The main objective of a limited overs match is to produce a definite result and so a conventional draw is not possible, but matches can be undecided if the scores are tied or if bad weather prevents a result. Each team plays one innings only and faces a limited number of overs, usually a maximum of 50. The Cricket World Cup is held in one day format and the last World Cup was won by Australia. According to ICC ODI rankings, South Africa is the leading national team followed by Australia and India.

Twenty20 is a new variant of limited overs itself with the purpose being to complete the match within about three hours, usually in an evening session. The original idea, when the concept was introduced in England in 2003, was to provide workers with an evening entertainment. It has been commercially successful and has been adopted internationally. The inaugural Twenty20 World Championship was held in 2007 and was won by India. The next Twenty20 World Championship is to be held in England in 2009.

First-class cricket includes Test cricket but the term is generally used to refer to the highest level of domestic cricket in those countries with full ICC membership, although there are exceptions to this. First-class cricket in England is played for the most part by the 18 county clubs which contest the County Championship. The concept of a champion county has existed since the 18th century but the official competition was not established until 1890. The most successful club has been Yorkshire County Cricket Club with 30 official titles.

Australia established its national first-class championship in 1892-93 when the Sheffield Shield was introduced. In Australia, the first-class teams represent the various states. New South Wales has won the most titles with 45 to 2008.

National championship trophies to be established elsewhere included the Ranji Trophy (India), Plunket Shield (New Zealand), Currie Cup (South Africa) and Shell Shield (West Indies). Some of these competitions have been updated and renamed in recent years.

Domestic limited overs competitions began with England's Gillette Cup knockout in 1963. Countries usually stage seasonal limited overs competitions in both knockout and league format. In recent years, national Twenty20 competitions have been introduced, usually in knockout form though some incorporate mini-leagues.

There are numerous informal variations of the sport played throughout the world that include indoor cricket, French cricket, beach cricket, Kwik cricket and all sorts of card games and board games that have been inspired by cricket. In these variants, the rules are often changed to make the game playable with limited resources or to render it more convenient and enjoyable for the participants.

Indoor cricket is played in a netted, indoor arena, and is quite formal but most of the outdoor variants are very informal.

Families and teenagers play backyard cricket in suburban yards or driveways, and the teeming cities of India and Pakistan play host to countless games of "Gully Cricket" or "tapeball" on their streets (played in long narrow streets) with rules like the one bounce catch. Such rules and, usually, lack of space ensure the batsmen have to play cautiously. Tennis balls and homemade bats are often used, and a variety of objects may serve as wickets: for example, the batter's legs as in French cricket, which did not in fact originate in France, and is usually played by small children. Sometimes the rules are improvised: e.g., it may be agreed that fielders can catch the ball with one hand after one bounce and claim a wicket; or if only a few people are available then everyone may field while the players take it in turns to bat and bowl.

In Kwik cricket, the bowler does not have to wait for the batsman to be ready before a delivery, leading to a faster, more exhausting game designed to appeal to children, which is often used PE lessons at English schools. Another modification to increase the pace of the game is the "Tip and Run", "Tipity" Run, "Tipsy Run" or "Tippy-Go" rule, in which the batter must run when the ball touches the bat, even if it the contact is unintentional or minor. This rule, seen only in impromptu games, speeds the match up by removing the batsman's right to block the ball.

In Samoa a form of cricket called Kilikiti is played in which hockey stick-shaped bats are used. In original English cricket, the hockey stick shape was replaced by the modern straight bat in the 1760s after bowlers began to pitch the ball instead of rolling or skimming it. In Estonia, teams gather over the winter for the annual Ice Cricket tournament. The game juxtaposes the normal summer pursuit with harsh, wintry conditions. Rules are otherwise similar to those for the six-a-side game.

Early cricket was at some time or another described as "a club striking a ball (like) the ancient games of club-ball, stool-ball, trap-ball, stob-ball". Cricket can definitely be traced back to Tudor times in early 16th-century England. Written evidence exists of a game known as creag being played by Prince Edward, the son of Edward I (Longshanks), at Newenden, Kent in 1301 and there has been speculation, but no evidence, that this was a form of cricket.

A number of other words have been suggested as sources for the term "cricket". In the earliest definite reference to the sport in 1598, it is called creckett. Given the strong medieval trade connections between south-east England and the County of Flanders when the latter belonged to the Duchy of Burgundy, the name may have been derived from the Middle Dutch krick(-e), meaning a stick (crook); or the Old English cricc or cryce meaning a crutch or staff. In Old French, the word criquet seems to have meant a kind of club or stick. In Samuel Johnson's Dictionary, he derived cricket from "cryce, Saxon, a stick". Another possible source is the Middle Dutch word krickstoel, meaning a long low stool used for kneeling in church and which resembled the long low wicket with two stumps used in early cricket. According to Heiner Gillmeister, a European language expert of Bonn University, "cricket" derives from the Middle Dutch phrase for hockey, met de (krik ket)sen (i.e., "with the stick chase").

In 1598, a court case referred to a sport called creckett being played by boys at the Royal Grammar School, Guildford around 1550. This is the sport's earliest definite mention. It is believed that it was originally a children's game but references around 1610 indicate that adults had started playing it and the earliest reference to inter-parish or village cricket occurs soon afterwards. In 1624, a player called Jasper Vinall was killed when he was struck on the head during a match between two parish teams in Sussex.

During the 17th century, numerous references indicate the growth of cricket in the south-east of England. By the end of the century, it had become an organised activity being played for high stakes and it is believed that the first professionals appeared in the years following the Restoration in 1660. A newspaper report survives of "a great cricket match" with eleven players a side that was played for high stakes in Sussex in 1697 and this is the earliest known reference to a cricket match of such importance.

The game underwent major development in the 18th century and became the national sport of England. Betting played a major part in that development with rich patrons forming their own "select XIs". Cricket was prominent in London as early as 1707 and large crowds flocked to matches on the Artillery Ground in Finsbury. The single wicket form of the sport attracted huge crowds and wagers to match. Bowling evolved around 1760 when bowlers began to pitch the ball instead of rolling or skimming it towards the batsman. This caused a revolution in bat design because, to deal with the bouncing ball, it was necessary to introduce the modern straight bat in place of the old "hockey stick" shape. The Hambledon Club was founded in the 1760s and, for the next 20 years until the formation of MCC and the opening of Lord's Old Ground in 1787, Hambledon was both the game's greatest club and its focal point. MCC quickly became the sport's premier club and the custodian of the Laws of Cricket. New Laws introduced in the latter part of the 18th century included the three stump wicket and leg before wicket (lbw).

The 19th century saw underarm bowling replaced by first roundarm and then overarm bowling. Both developments were controversial. Organisation of the game at county level led to the creation of the county clubs, starting with Sussex CCC in 1839, which ultimately formed the official County Championship in 1890. Meanwhile, the British Empire had been instrumental in spreading the game overseas and by the middle of the 19th century it had become well established in India, North America, the Caribbean, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. In 1844, the first ever international cricket match took place between the United States and Canada (although neither has ever been ranked as a Test-playing nation).

In 1859, a team of England players went on the first overseas tour (to North America) and in 1862, an English team made the first tour of Australia. In 1876-77, an England team took part in the first-ever Test match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground against Australia.

W G Grace began started his long career in 1865; his career is often said to have revolutionised the sport. The rivalry between England and Australia gave birth to The Ashes in 1882 and this has remained Test cricket's most famous contest. Test cricket began to expand in 1888-89 when South Africa played England. The last two decades before the First World War have been called the "Golden Age of Cricket". It is a nostalgic name prompted by the collective sense of loss resulting from the war, but the period did produce some great players and memorable matches, especially as organised competition at county and Test level developed.

The inter-war years were dominated by one player: Don Bradman, statistically the greatest batsman of all time. It was the determination of the England team to overcome his skill that brought about the infamous Bodyline series in 1932/33. Test cricket continued to expand during the 20th century with the addition of West Indies, India and New Zealand before the Second World War and then Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in the post-war period. However, South Africa was banned from international cricket from 1970 to 1992 because of its government's apartheid policy. Cricket entered a new era in 1963, when English counties introduced the limited overs variant. As it was sure to produce a result, limited overs cricket was lucrative and the number of matches increased. The first Limited Overs International was played in 1971. The governing International Cricket Council saw its potential and staged the first limited overs Cricket World Cup in 1975. In the 21st century, a new limited overs form, Twenty20, has made an immediate impact.

The International Cricket Council (ICC), which has its headquarters in Dubai, is the international governing body of cricket. It was founded as the Imperial Cricket Conference in 1909 by representatives from England, Australia and South Africa, renamed the International Cricket Conference in 1965, and took up its current name in 1989.

The ICC has 104 members: 10 Full Members that play official Test matches, 34 Associate Members, and 60 Affiliate Members. The ICC is responsible for the organisation and governance of cricket's major international tournaments, most notably the Cricket World Cup. It also appoints the umpires and referees that officiate at all sanctioned Test matches, One Day International and Twenty20 Internationals. Each nation has a national cricket board which regulates cricket matches played in its country. The cricket board also selects the national squad and organises home and away tours for the national team.

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England cricket team

The first England team to tour Australia.

The England cricket team is the national cricket team which represents England and Wales. Since 1 January 1997 it has been governed by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), having been previously governed by the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) from 1903 until the end of 1996.

England and Australia were the first teams to be granted Test status on 15 March 1877 and they gained full membership to the International Cricket Council (ICC) on 15 June 1909. England and Australia also took part in the first One Day International (ODI) on 5 January 1971. England played their first Twenty20 match on 13 June 2005 and once again their opponents were Australia.

As of 10 March 2009, England have won 306 of the 884 Test matches they have played and are ranked sixth in the ICC Test Championship. They have finished runners-up in 3 Cricket World Cups (1979, 1987 and 1992) and are ranked sixth in the ICC ODI Championship.

Peter Moores was appointed head coach on 1 May 2007, following the resignation of Duncan Fletcher. Moores subsequently named Andy Flower as his assistant coach. Kevin Pietersen was announced as both Test and ODI captain on 4 August 2008. Pietersen replaced Michael Vaughan and Paul Collingwood, who resigned their roles as Test and ODI captains respectively. Pietersen resigned on 7 January 2009 and Moores was sacked on the same day, just 2 weeks before the team were due to tour the West Indies. Andrew Strauss was named as Pietersen's replacement on 9 January 2009, with assistance from Flower.

The first recorded incidence of a team with a claim to represent England comes from 9 July 1739 when an "All-England" team which consisted of eleven gentlemen from any part of England, exclusive of Kent. This team played against 'the Unconquerable County' of Kent and lost by a 'very few notches'. Such matches were repeated on numerous occasions for the best part of the century.

In 1846 William Clarke formed the All-England Eleven, this team would eventually compete against a United All-England Eleven with annual matches occurring between 1857 to 1866. These matches were arguably the most important contest of the English season, if judged by the quality of the players.

The first overseas tour occurred in September 1859 with England going to North America. This team had six players from the All-England Eleven and six from the United All-England Eleven, and was captained by George Parr. With the outbreak of the American Civil War, attention turned to Australia and New Zealand with the inaugural tour of Australia taking place in 1861-2. England would visit New Zealand in 1863–64 with the tour being the first to be organised by the Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC). Most tours prior to 1877 were played "against odds", meaning the opposing team was permitted to have more than 11 players (usually 22) in order to make for a more even contest. As a result these matches were not considered first-class matches and were organised purely for commercial reasons.

As a result of this loss the tour of 1882–83 was dubbed by England captain Ivo Bligh as "the quest to regain the ashes". England with a mixture of amateurs and professionals won the series 2–1. Bligh was presented with an urn that contained some ashes, which have variously been said to be of a bail, ball or even a woman's veil and so The Ashes was born. A fourth match was then played which Australia won by 4 wickets but the match was not considered part of the Ashes series. England would dominate many of these early contests with England winning the Ashes series 10 times between 1884–98. During this period England also played their first Test match against South Africa in 1889 at Port Elizabeth.

The 1899 Ashes series was the first tour where the MCC and the counties appointed a selection committee. There were three active players: Lord Hawke, W.G. Grace and HW Bainbridge who was the captain of Warwickshire. Prior to this, England teams for home Tests had been chosen by the club on whose ground the match was to be played.

With Australia sending a weakened team and the South African bowlers being ineffective England dominated the tournament winning four of their six matches. The Australia v South Africa match, at Lord's, was notable for a visit by King George V, the first time a reigning monarch had watched Test cricket. England would go on one more tour against South Africa before the outbreak of World War I.

England's first match after the war was in the 1920–21 season against Australia. Still feeling the effects of the war England went down to a series of crushing defeats, and suffered their first whitewash losing the series 5–0. Six Australians scored hundreds while Mailey spun out 36 English batsmen. Things were no better in the next few Ashes series losing the 1921 Ashes series 3–0 and the 1924–5 Ashes 4–1. England's fortunes were to change in 1926 as they regained the Ashes and were a formidable team during this period dispatching Australia 4–1 in the 1928–29 Ashes tour.

On the same year the West Indies became the fourth nation to be granted Test status and played their first game against England. England won each of these three Tests by an innings, and a view was expressed in the press that their elevation had proved a mistake although Learie Constantine did the double on the tour. In the 1929–30 season England went on two concurrent tours with one team going to New Zealand (who were granted Test status earlier that year) and the other to the West Indies. Despite sending two separate teams England won both tours beating New Zealand 1–0 and the West Indies 2–1.

The 1930 Ashes series saw a young Don Bradman dominate the tour, scoring 974 runs in his seven Test innings. He scored 254 at Lord's, 334 at Headingley and 232 at the Oval. Australia regained the Ashes winning the series 3–1. As a result of Bradman's prolific run-scoring the England captain Douglas Jardine chose to develop the already existing leg theory into fast leg theory, or bodyline, as a tactic to stop Bradman. Fast leg theory involved bowling fast balls directly at the batsman's body. The batsman would need to defend himself, and if he touched the ball with the bat, he risked being caught by one of a large number of fielders placed on the leg side.

Later, Jardine was removed from the captaincy and the laws of cricket changed so that no more than one fast ball aimed at the body was permitted per over, and having more than two fielders behind square leg were banned.

England's following tour of India in the 1933–34 season was the first Test match to be staged in the subcontinent. The series was also notable for Morris Nichols and Nobby Clark bowling so many bouncers that the Indian batsman wore solar topees instead of caps to protect themselves.

Australia won the 1934 Ashes series 2–1 and would keep the urn for the following 19 years. Many of the wickets of the time were friendly to batsmen resulting in a large proportion of matches ending in high scoring draws and many batting records being set.

The 1938–39 tour of South Africa saw another experiment with the deciding Test being a timeless Test that was played to a finish. England lead 1–0 going into the final timeless match at Durban. Despite the final Test being ‘timeless’ the game ended in a draw, after 10 days as England had to catch the train to catch the boat home. A record 1981 runs were scored, and the concept of timeless Tests was abandoned. England would go in one final tour of the West Indies in 1939 before the World War II, although a team for an MCC tour of India was selected more in hope than expectation of the matches being played.

After World War II, England fell under difficult times suffering a heavy defeat 3–0 to Australia. This followed by a 4–0 loss to Bradman's 'invincibles' and a stunning 2–0 loss to the West Indies. These loses were tempered by victories against India and South Africa.

Their fortunes would change in the 1953 Ashes tour as they won the series 1–0. England would not lose a series for five years and secured famous victories in the 1954–55 and 1956 Ashes series. The 1956 series was remembered for the bowling of Jim Laker who took 46 wickets at 9.62 which included bowling figures of 19/90 at Old Trafford. After drawing to South Africa, England defeated the West Indies and New Zealand comfortably. The England team would then leave for Australia in the 1958–59 season with a team that had been hailed as the strongest ever to leave on an Ashes tour but lost the series 4–0 as Richie Benaud's revitalised Australians were too strong.

The early and middle 1960s were poor periods for English cricket. Despite England's strength on paper, Australia held the Ashes for the entire decade and the West Indies dominated England in the early part of the decade. England would the end the 60s on a high however, regaining the Wisden Trophy in 1968 and drawing the Ashes series in the same year 1–1.

England carried their good form from the late 60s into the 70s regaining the Ashes in 1970 but then suffered a loss of form losing to India and a rising West Indian side. This culminated in a 4–1 defeat in the 1974 Ashes series. The inaugural 1975 Cricket World Cup saw England reach the semi-finals and was to be the turning point in England's fortunes. The results of the Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket were felt in Test cricket with Australia and Pakistan losing many of its star players. England replaced captain Tony Greig who had joined the league with Mike Brearley while Geoffrey Boycott returned from his England exile. England would defeat a divided Australian side 3–1 in the centenary Ashes series. This was followed by a comfortable 4–0 win against Pakistan and a World Cup final appearance against the West Indies.

With Ian Botham and Bob Willis at their peak with the ball, Boycott and Graham Gooch opening the batting, and a young David Gower in the middle order, England were a formidable team. Their results were initially promising, narrowly losing to the West Indies, the unofficial champions at the time. England would then fight back to win the 1981 Ashes series, often referred to as "Botham's Ashes" 2–1. The third Test at Headingley saw a revitalised Botham perform well with bat and ball, taking 6/95 and then scoring a unbeaten 149. England won by 18 runs after following-on, only the second time in the history of England v Australia Tests that this has been achieved. England suffered their second whitewash series against the West Indies in 1984 but continued to produce good results, defeating India 2–1 and regaining the Ashes in the 1985 season with a comfortable 3–1 victory.

Hopes that this victory could see a challenge mounted on the 1985–86 tour of the West Indies were dashed as England were soundly beaten 5–0. A shocked England team never truly recovered from this defeat and although England managed to retain the 1986–87 Ashes, they would only win one further Test series in the 80s against a relatively weak Sri Lanka side and suffered heavy defeats to Australia and the West Indies.

England continued their decline during the 90s. This was not helped by squabbles between key players and the chairman of selectors, Raymond Illingworth. Another reason for their poor performances were the demands of County Cricket teams on their players, meaning that England could rarely field a full strength team on their tours. This would eventually lead to the ECB taking over the MCC as the governing body of England and the implementation of central contracts.

In the early 90s players such as Botham, Gower and Allan Lamb came to the end of their international careers and, specifically in the case of Botham, England had trouble replacing them. This lead to a string of disappointing results as England did not win a Test match for two and half years. However, England's performance in ODI cricket was still good, as they defeated Australia, the West Indies and South Africa to reach the final of the 1992 Cricket World Cup. Shortly after the World Cup Mike Atherton replaced Gooch as England captain but his captaincy was regarded as a failure with England winning only one Test series under his captaincy. A win against South Africa in 1998 was England's first five Test series win since 1986–87, but this would be a false dawn as they were eliminated in the first round of the 1999 Cricket World Cup (which they hosted) and lost a home Test series against New Zealand 2–1, resulting in England being officially ranked as the worst Test nation.

With the appointment of Duncan Fletcher as coach and Nasser Hussain as captain, England began to rebuild their team. They won four consecutive Test series which included impressive wins against West Indies (a first in 32 years) and Pakistan. England were still left wanting against Australia and lost the 2001 Ashes 4–1. Promising results against India and Sri Lanka gave England some positive sentiments towards their chances against Australia in 2002-2003, yet a 4–1 defeat showed that they were still falling short. This setback did not stop England's resurgence however as they defeated the West Indies 3–0 and followed this up with whitewashes against New Zealand and the West Indies at home. A victory in the first Test against South Africa at Port Elizabeth meant England had won their eighth successive Test, their best sequence of Test match wins for 75 years.

In 2005, England, under Michael Vaughan's captaincy and aided by Kevin Pietersen's batting in his maiden series (most notably 158 at the Oval), and Andrew Flintoff's superb all-round performances, defeated Australia 2–1 to regain the Ashes for the first time in 18 years.

Following the Ashes win, the team suffered from a serious spate of injuries to key players such as Andrew Flintoff, Ashley Giles, Simon Jones and Michael Vaughan. Flintoff, Jones and Vaughan all returned to cricket, although Jones has yet to return to the England squad.

In the home Test series victory against Pakistan in July and August 2006, several promising new players emerged. Most notable was the left-arm orthodox spin bowler Monty Panesar, the first Sikh to play Test cricket for England. He impressed with the excellence of his bowling, including match figures of 8/93 in the innings victory over Pakistan at Old Trafford in July 2006 and match figures of 10/187 against the West Indies at Old Trafford in June 2007. He also became a firm crowd favourite and at one point was one of the favourites to win the 2006 BBC Sports Personality of the Year award. Another new player of note was left-handed batsman Alastair Cook, while England's injury problems also allowed previously marginal Test players such as Paul Collingwood and Ian Bell to consolidate their places in the team.

The outstanding performance of the Test team, albeit against a Pakistan side which was also weakened by injuries, meant the 2006/07 Ashes series was one of the most keenly anticipated of recent years and was expected to provide a level of competition comparable to the 2005 series. In the event, England, captained by Flintoff, lost all 5 Tests - the first Ashes whitewash in 86 years.

The team's form in ODIs had been consistently poor. They only narrowly avoided the ignominy of having the play in the qualifying rounds of the 2006 ICC Champions Trophy. Despite this, in the ODI triangular in Australia, England recorded their first ODI tournament win overseas since 1997. England had lost Kevin Pietersen to injury, and had won 1 and lost 5 of their first 6 games. They recovered to win their next 4 games, scraping into the finals before winning both matches.

In the 2007 Cricket World Cup, England lost to most of the Test playing nations they faced, beating only the West Indies and Bangladesh, although they also avoided defeat by any of the non-Test playing nations. However, the unimpressive nature of most of their victories in the tournament, combined with their heavy defeats to New Zealand, Australia and South Africa, left many commentators criticising the manner in which the England team approached the one-day game. Coach Duncan Fletcher resigned after eight years in the job as a result and was succeeded by former Sussex coach Peter Moores.

The following summer, England faced the West Indies at home for 4 Tests, 2 Twenty20s and 3 ODIs. They convincingly won the Test series 3-0. Then, skipper Michael Vaughan announced he would no longer captain the side in one-day cricket. The job went to Paul Collingwood. England drew 1-1 in the Twenty20 series but lost the ODI series 2-1 despite winning the first game.

In the latter part of the summer, India toured the country. England lost the 3 Test series 1-0, the first time they had been defeated at home in the long form of the game for six years. In the second Test at Trent Bridge, there was a major incident when, as an act of 'sledging', an England player (never identified) threw jelly beans at the wicket. This infuriated Indian batsman Zaheer Khan, who reported the incident to the umpires. All senior members of the England team denied any wrongdoing. England bounced back from their defeat in the Test series by triumphing 4-3 over India in the ODI series, their first series victory in that form of the game since 2004.

In the winter of 2007, England toured Sri Lanka. They won the ODI series 3-2, recording their second series win in a row, but lost the Test series 1-0, giving them no win in 6. This heaped pressure on fledgling coach Peter Moores to deliver ahead of England's tour to New Zealand. They lost the ODI series but won the Test series, despite losing the first Test in Hamilton, 2-1, easing the pressure on Moores slightly.

England then hosted New Zealand in a 3 Test tour in May 2008. The first match, at Lord's, was a weather affected game and ended in a draw. England won the second test, at Old Trafford, chasing down a large score with Andrew Strauss scoring a century. At Trent Bridge, England wrapped up the series with a convincing win by an innings and nine runs. England's only innings was anchored by Kevin Pietersen, who scored a century, while superior swing bowling from Jimmy Anderson, including a career best 7/43, Ryan Sidebottom (including 6/67) and Stuart Broad ultimately proved too much for New Zealand.

England played a home 4 match Test series against South Africa. After the first Test at Lord's was drawn, South Africa comfortably won the second Test at Headingley by 10 wickets. The visiting side then went on to secure their first Test series win in England for 43 years by recording a 5 wicket win in the third Test at Edgbaston. South African captain Graham Smith scored 154 not out in the run chase. The following day, Michael Vaughan resigned as England captain and was replaced by Pietersen. Pietersen's first Test match as captain of England was a win over South Africa in the 4th and final test, with England winning by 6 wickets but losing the series 2–1.

After this it did not go well for England, first getting thrashed in the $20 Stanford 20/20 match. Then in November 2008 lost their first five matches in the seven-match one day series before they were forced to return home due to the Mumbai terrorist attacks. After much speculation the team decided to come back to India for a two-match test series. They lost the first after putting themselves in a very strong position while they got a creditable draw in the second match but still lost the series 1-0. This would prove to be Peter Moore's last game in charge and Pietersons last as captain.

The relationship between Moores and Pieterson was never said to be brilliant and in January 2008 reports began to emerge that the pair were unable to work together anymore with Pieterson publicly admitting that the two had a break down in relationship. On 7 January things all came to a head. It was firstly announced that Pieterson had resigned as captain followed by Moores also resigning. The ECB then released a statement saying that Pieterson refused to go on the tour of West Indies with the current management structure. They also said they had no knowledge of Moores or Pieterson resigning. A few hours later though the ECB announced that Moores and Pieterson had both lost their jobs. It was understood that Pieterson gave the ECB an ultimatum that he would resign if Moores was not removed the ECB accepted his resignation which shocked him.

There was much criticising by the media and former England players. Some criticised the ECB for letting the situation escalate while some said that the ECB should have never appointed Pieterson due to his big ego. Former England captain Nasser Hussain launched a scathing attack on Pieterson.

England are touring the West Indies until April 2009. Originally, 4 Test matches and 5 ODI matches were scheduled. However, the 2nd Test was abandoned as a draw on the first day, with an additional Test arranged and the series extended to 5 Test matches, including the abandoned 2nd Test. England lost the 1st Test by an innings and 24 runs. In their 2nd innings, England scored their 3rd lowest Test score, making just 51 runs. The 3rd Test was drawn, with England just 1 wicket from victory when bad light stopped play.

England will no longer host Zimbabwe from May to June 2009. 2 Test matches and 3 ODI matches had been scheduled, but the tour was cancelled for political reasons.

England will host West Indies from April until May 2009, as a replacement for Zimbabwe. There will be 2 Test matches and 3 ODI matches.

England will host the ICC World Twenty20 tournament in June 2009.

England will host Australia from June to September 2009. The teams will contest the 5 match Ashes Test series and also play 7 ODI matches.

England will host India in 2011. The teams will contest 4 Test matches, 5 ODI matches and a Twenty20 match.

England has traditionally been one of the stronger teams in international cricket, fielding a competitive side for most of cricket's history. Up to the end of 2007 England had played 867 test matches, winning 301 (34.72%), losing 252 (29.06%), and drawing 314 (36.22%) 639 players had been capped for their country. Up to the Super 8 World Cup match against Australia on April 8, 2007, England had played 464 ODIs, winning 224 (48.28%), losing 221 (47.63%), tying 4 (0.86%) and having 15 (3.23%) with no result. 203 players had played for England in ODIs up to that date.

After Australia won The Ashes for the first time in 1881–82 England had to fight with them for primacy and one of the fiercest rivalries in sport dominated the cricket world for seventy years. In 1963 this duopoly of cricket dominance began to fall away with the emergence of a strong West Indies team.

England failed to win a series against the West Indies between 1969 and 2000. England similarly failed to compete with Australia for a long period and the The Ashes stayed in Australian hands between 1989 and 2005. England struggled against other nations over this period as well and after a series loss to New Zealand in 1999 they were ranked at the bottom of the ICC Test cricket ratings. From 2000, English cricket had a resurgence and England reached the final of the ICC Champions Trophy in 2004 and regained The Ashes in 2005. The team was recently ranked second behind Australia in the Test rankings, but ODI performances have been very poor with England falling to 7th place in the ICC rankings.

In the 2006/07 tour of Australia The Ashes were lost in a 0–5 "whitewash" (see 2006-07 Ashes series) but England did succeed in clinching victory in the Commonwealth bank ODI Tri-series against Australia and New Zealand. The loss of The Ashes prompted the announcement by the England and Wales Cricket Board of an official review of English cricket amid much criticism from the media, former players and fans. England failed to reach the semi finals of the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies after defeats against New Zealand, Sri Lanka and South Africa.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is the governing body of English cricket and the England cricket team. The Board has been operating since 1 January 1997 and represents England on the International Cricket Council. The ECB is also responsible for the generation of income from the sale of tickets, sponsorship and broadcasting rights, primarily in relation to the England team. The ECB's income in the 2006 calendar year was £77.0 million.

Prior to 1997 the Test and County Cricket Board (TCCB) was the governing body for the English team. Apart from in Test matches, when touring abroad the England team officially played as MCC up to and including the 1976-77 tour of Australia, reflecting the time when MCC had been responsible for selecting the touring party. The last time the England touring team wore the bacon-and-egg colours of the MCC was on the 1996-97 tour of New Zealand.

England's kit is manufactured by Adidas, who replaced previous manufacturer Admiral on 1 April 2008.

When playing Test cricket, England's cricket whites feature red piping across the chest and trouser legs. The three lions badge is on the left of the shirt and the name and logo of the sponsor Vodafone is on the right. The Adidas logo features on the right sleeve. English fielders may wear a navy blue cap or sun hat with the ECB logo in the middle. Helmets are coloured similarly.

In limited overs cricket, England's ODI and Twenty20 shirts feature the Vodafone name and logo across the centre, with the three lions badge on the left of the shirt and the Adidas logo on the right. In one-day cricket, England wear a navy shirt and navy trousers. In Twenty20 cricket, England wear navy trousers and a red shirt.

This lists all the players who have played for England in the past year, and the form in which they have played.

The England cricket team represents England and Wales. However, under ICC regulations, players can qualify to play for a country by nationality, place of birth or residence, so (as with any national sports team) some people are eligible to play for more than one team.

ECB regulations state that to play for England, a player must be a British or Irish citizen, and have either been born in England or Wales, or have lived in England or Wales for the last four years. This has led to players of many other nationalities becoming eligible to play for England. England have been captained by a Scot, Mike Denness, and four South Africans, Tony Greig, Allan Lamb, Andrew Strauss and Kevin Pietersen. The South African cape coloured Basil D'Oliveira, famously played for England during the apartheid era. In recent times Graeme Hick (Zimbabwe); Andrew Caddick (New Zealand); Geraint Jones (Australia via Papua New Guinea); and Kevin Pietersen (South Africa) have all played for England. Some players have played for another (non Test-playing) country as well as England, such as Gavin Hamilton, who played for Scotland in the 1999 World Cup and later played one Test match for England, while Ed Joyce played for Ireland in the ICC Trophy before making his England ODI debut in June 2006 against his former team.

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Australia national cricket team

Australia national cricket team logo

The Australian cricket team is the national cricket team of Australia. It is the equal oldest team in Test cricket, having played in the first Test match in 1877 (defeating England by 45 runs).

As of 1 February 2009, the Australian team has played 704 Test matches, winning 46.66%, losing 25.95% and drawing 27.09% of its games. It has also led the ICC Test Championship table for the majority of the time since the creation of the ICC Test table system in January 2001. The South African Cricket Team did lead this table for a brief period (January to May) in 2003, before Australia resumed the first position on the table.

They are also, in one-day cricket, the winners of the last three Cricket World Cups. Australia won the Cricket World Cup 4 times in total; 1987, 1999, 2003 & 2007. As of 28 April 2007 they are undefeated in 29 consecutive World Cup matches. They have led the ICC One-Day International Championship table from its inception through to 18 February 2007, and then again from 7 April 2007 until 30 January 2009. In 2002, they were named World Team of the Year at the Laureus World Sports Awards in recognition of their world record sequence of test match victories.

The history of the Australian cricket team is rich and diverse. Together with the English cricket team, it participated in the first Test match in 1877. A highlight of Australia's early history was the 1882 Test match against England at The Oval. In this match Fred Spofforth took 7/44 in the game's fourth innings to save the match by preventing England from making their 85-run target. After this match The Sporting Times, a major newspaper in London at the time, printed a mock obituary in which the death of English cricket was proclaimed and the announcement made that "the body was cremated and the ashes taken to Australia." This was the start of the famous Ashes series in which every two years Australia and England play a number of Test matches to decide the holder of the Ashes. To this day, the contest is one of the fiercest rivalries in sport.

In the first half-century or so, these contests were on the whole friendly but competitive with both sides enjoying the visit to another country, and getting to play against quality cricketers. The famous Bodyline series temporarily changed things. The series was marred by the tactics used by the English captain Douglas Jardine to control the batting of Don Bradman who completely destroyed the English bowling attack in the 1930 series. Jardine used his fast bowlers to bowl 6 bouncers an over at head height over leg stump with 6 or 7 fielders around the leg stump in a close catching position. Given the fact that there were no helmets around at the time the tactics were widely condemned by nearly all of Australia including many former Test cricketers and important politicians.

Australia continued its success up until the 1980s, built mainly around the likes of Richie Benaud, the Chappell brothers, Dennis Lillee, and Rod Marsh. The 1980s was a period of relative mediocrity after the retirements of several key players, and it was not until the captaincy of Allan Border that the team was restructured. The 1990s and modern era are arguably Australia's most successful period, unbeaten in all Ashes series played bar the famous 2005 series and achieving a hat-trick of World Cups. This extraordinary success has been attributed to the restructuring of the team and system by Border, successive shrewd captains, and the brilliance of several key players, most notably Glenn McGrath, Shane Warne, Steve Waugh, Matthew Hayden and Ricky Ponting.

Australian captain Steve Waugh referred to India as the "Final Frontier", as that was the only place where Australia hadn't won a series in over thirty years. Australia lost in the 2001 series 2-1 and when India came to Australia for Waugh's farewell series in 2003-04, they drew the series 1-1 and came close to winning it after scoring a national record 705 but not enforcing the follow-on.

However, later in the year, the side (captained by Adam Gilchrist) won in India for the first time in 35 years. The Australians won this series 2-1 (with one match rained out on the last day).

The 2004-05 summer season in Australia was against the touring Pakistani cricket team which Australia won convincingly, several matches ending on the 4th day (of 5). The first Test of 2005 ended with: AUS 568 and 1/62 v PAK 304 and 325; Ponting made 207 in the first innings, laying to rest a minor media issue of him not making a Test 100 in his first season as captain.

The 2005 Ashes tour to England became a watershed event in Australian cricket when, for the first time since 1986-87 a Test series was lost to the old enemy England, and The Ashes were thus surrendered. The summer started with four defeats in one week in one day matches (to England in a Twenty20 match, Somerset in a warm up match, and then Bangladesh and England in successive One Day Internationals). Australia and England tied the final match of the first one day international series, before Australia won the second series 2-1.

The first Test match at Lord's was a convincing victory for Australia, with Glenn McGrath in particular impressing. Captain Ricky Ponting afterwards famously said: We’ve a very good chance of winning 5-0. However at the second Test at Edgbaston star bowler Glenn McGrath was ruled out by an ankle injury after stepping on a ball in the practice nets; Ponting put England in to bat on a fair batting wicket (England scored 407 runs on the first day) and England eventually won a pulsating match by two runs and so leveled the series. England dominated the rain-affected third Test at Old Trafford, but a fine rearguard innings by Ponting just saved Australia on the final day and the match was drawn. In the fourth Test at Trent Bridge Australia was again outplayed and forced to follow-on for the first time in 191 Test matches and eighteen years. England struggled in their second innings but eventually got the 129 runs they needed to win, losing seven wickets in the process. Australia needed to win the fifth and final Test at The Oval to level the series and retain the Ashes but were hampered by bad weather, a strong England bowling performance on the fourth day and England's excellent batting (led by Kevin Pietersen and tailender Ashley Giles) on the final day before the match ended in a draw, handing England a 2-1 series win.

Ageing stars such as Hayden, Gilchrist, Martyn, Gillespie and Kasprowicz underperformed in the tour with Gillespie being subsequently dropped for new and younger talent. On the other hand Shane Warne, who took 40 wickets and scored 249 runs, gave an all-round good performance. Members of the old guard (Ponting, Langer, Lee and McGrath) also played well.

The ICC (International Cricket Council) sanctioned a test and three-match one-day series for 2005. This series was to be played between the top ranking test and one-day international nations (according to rankings as at April 2005) and an internationally selected Rest of the World XI. Australia was the top ranked nation in both forms of the game as at April 2005.

Australia had an opportunity to begin the rebuilding process following the Ashes series loss at the Super Test held against a Rest of the World team in Sydney in October. Although the match was of poor quality with the World team underperforming, it was a good opportunity for some of the Australian team to get back on track. Many did, especially Hayden who scored 111 and 87 and Gilchrist who scored 94 in the first innings and made seven dismissals. Stuart MacGill (who had not played in the 2005 Ashes) took nine wickets. Overall, the Australian Cricket Team clean swept the World XI Team 3 - 0 in the One Day International Series, and also won the six-day Test Match.

In November Australia continued to perform well winning a three match Test series with the West Indies comfortably. Stars were Hayden (who was clearly intent on proving that rumors of his cricketing death were premature - he scored 445 runs at an average of 89) and Hussey who had an auspicious debut season. Gilchrist, however, was out of touch with the bat as he had been in England throughout the month.

In the 2006 cricket tour to South Africa, Australia lost the 1-day series 3-2 after a record-breaking final ODI. Setting South Africa a world record target of 434 off 50 overs (the previous record being 398-5 scored by Sri Lanka vs Kenya 10 years previously), South Africa managed to beat Australia by 1 wicket with a new record score of 438. Earlier, Ricky Ponting top-scored with 164 off 105 balls. South Africa's Herschelle Gibbs, likewise batting at number 3, went on to score 175 off 111 balls thereby playing an instrumental role in the run chase. Many other records were broken in the same match. A total of 872 runs were scored (The previous record was 693 when India beat Pakistan by five runs in Karachi in March 2004). Mick Lewis had the ignominy of becoming the most expensive bowler in ODI history with figures of 0-113 in his 10 overs.

In the test series that followed however, Australia won convincingly with Brett Lee and Stuart Clark (Man of the Series) playing particularly well.

Following the South African series, Australia toured Bangladesh for a two-test series. Despite expectations of a one-sided contest, the first test proved a very close affair with Bangladesh (historically the weakest test-playing nation) scoring more than 400 first-innings runs and bowling Australia out for 269 in the first innings on a very good batting wicket and ultimately setting Australia a challenging 307 for victory. Ponting's men were able to win this match by three wickets. However, in the second match Australia dominated throughout, winning by an innings and 80 runs. In Australia's only innings, Jason Gillespie became the first nightwatchman to score a double century with 201 not out.

After winning the ICC Champions Trophy convincingly, Australia went home for their summer to play England in a five-test series.

The second test took place in Adelaide from 1 December. The third match of the series was held at the WACA Ground in the West Australian city of Perth. Following the Third test victory, Australia reclaimed the Ashes, already having achieved a winning margin of 3-0 in the best of five series. England lamented the shortest period of Ashes retention in the history of the tournament, dating back to 1882. In the days following the historic win in Perth, spin bowler Shane Warne announced that he will retire from international cricket at the conclusion of the fifth and final Sydney test in January 2007. This also prompted Justin Langer, Australian opening batsmen at the time, to announce his retirement from Test cricket after the 5th test as well. Fast bowler Glenn McGrath later announced he too would retire from international cricket after the 2007 Cricket World Cup.

The fourth match of the series was played at the MCG. Australia took victory in just three days, only needing one innings of batting to outscore England. The fifth match in Sydney ended with Australia capturing a 10 wicket victory. The Australians completed a 5-0 whitewash of the Ashes series, the first time either side had achieved such a feat since the 1920-21 series.

Following the Ashes victory over England, Australia began the 2007 Commonwealth Bank Tri-series against England and New Zealand with a series of largely comfortable victories, leading to their coach John Buchanan complaining that the lack of opposition was undermining Australia's World Cup bid. However, injuries to key players contributed to Australia losing two matches in the qualification games and the final 2-0 to an also injury hit England. With Ponting rested for the series against New Zealand, Australia under Michael Hussey lost the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy 3-0, their first One Day series loss in New Zealand for 33 years. The loss also cost them the overall number one ranking for the first time since the rankings began.

Australia dominated the 2007 Cricket World Cup, remaining unbeaten through the tournament. They dominated with the bat and ball. Remarkably they lost just 42 wickets in 11 matches, while claiming 104 out of 110 of their opponents. The best batsman for the tournament was Matthew Hayden, getting three centuries and 659 runs at an average of 73. Australia's keeper Adam Gilchrist starred in the World cup Final, scoring 149 in a convincing and controversial Australian win. Bowler Glenn McGrath was named Man of the Series for his magnificent contribution with the ball.

This is a list of every player to have played Australia in the last year, and the forms of the game in which they have played. Adam Gilchrist, Matthew Hayden, Brad Hogg and Stuart MacGill have played cricket for Australia in the last year, but have since retired from international cricket.

Each year, Cricket Australia's National Selection Panel (NSP) names a list of 25 players for the coming year, from which selectors choose Test, One-Day and Twenty20 International teams. Un-contracted players remain eligible for selection and can be upgraded to a Cricket Australia contract if they gain regular selection. Contracted players are paid a base retainer (A$155,000 in 2007-08), which is adjusted according to a player ranking system decided by the NSP as well as match fees, tour fees and prize money for on-field success.

The 2008-09 list was announced on 9 April 2008. Of the players contracted only Ashley Noffke has not played cricket for Australia in the last year, whilst Hayden was also contracted.

The team song is "Under the Southern Cross I Stand," which is sung by the players after every victory and "treated with reverential consideration and respect" within the team. The official lyrics are as follows, though when it is sung by the players, the word "little" in the last line is replaced by "bloody" or an expletive.

The authorship of this "Under the Southern Cross I Stand" is credited to former wicketkeeper Rod Marsh, who was apparently inspired by Henry Lawson's 1887 poem, "Flag of the Southern Cross". Marsh initially had the role of leading the team in singing it, and on his retirement he passed it on to Allan Border. The other players to have taken on the role are David Boon (when Border took over the captaincy), Ian Healy (on Boon's retirement), Ricky Ponting (on Healy's retirement), Justin Langer (when Ponting took over the captaincy). The role currently belongs to Michael Hussey, who took it on when Langer retired in January 2007.

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Source : Wikipedia