Although the origins of cricket go way back to the 16th century, it was during the late 19th century that it started to really become popular. The emergence of players like the legendary WC Grace saw cricket start its journey to becoming the widely loved global sport of today. Despite that popularity though, there are many things that people do not know about the game.

One fact that anyone interested in cricket should be aware of is the date that the first official game took place. The first official cricket match has been dated to 1864, although a game of it was noted by Archdeacon Henry Williams in his diary a full thirty-two years before that. Of course, games that resemble cricket had been played for three centuries by that point, but the first recognised cricket match was held in either 1832 or 1864 depending on how official you want to be.

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Cricket is often considered by non-fans to be a lengthy and boring game, but the actual longest match in the history of the sport took place during 1939. It was a match between England and South Africa and ran for an astonishing 14 days. What is even more remarkable about this match is that, at the end of that time, England were still batting and needing another 42 runs for victory. What ended the game was the fact that their ship back home had to set sail, ensuring the match was declared a draw.

Although cricket is popular in many countries, it is commonly believed that the US has never embraced the sport. Certainly, enthusiasm has never matched baseball when it comes to sports featuring bats and balls, but cricket was actually the first such game to take off in that nation. From 1834 to 1914, cricket enjoyed real popularity in the US and more than 1000 cricket clubs existed across the country.

M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Beer
Credits – Getty Images

One fact that people generally do know about cricket is that the English invented the game, but what is less widely known is that the earliest players were shepherds. They are believed to have devised it as something to do while they watched over their flocks of sheep. This unusual origin led to the first cricket balls being rolled up wool.

The most unfortunate cricket player in the sport’s history surely has to be Bert Sutcliffe. He is considered to be one of New Zealand’s finest batsmen, but the facts show that he never played in a single winning side. From 1949 to 1965 he played in 42 test matches, but the only New Zealand victories during this period came in matches he was absent from. That is a record no player would envy him.

From its earliest days to the present, cricket has produced a lot of great players and fun facts. We can be sure that it will continue to do so in the future because it will remain one of the world’s most beloved sports.