Cricket

Cricket is a bat-and-ball team sport. Many variations survive, with its most popular form played on an oval-shaped outdoor arena identified as a cricket field at the centre of which is a rectangular 22-yard (20.12 m) long pitch that is the focal point of the game.

A game (or match) is contested between two teams of eleven players each. One team bats, and will try to score as many runs as possible while the other team bowls and fields, wearisome to dismiss the batsmen and thus limit the runs scored by the batting team. Run is scored by touching the crease at the opposite end of the pitch while the ball is not dead. The teams switch connecting batting and fielding at the end of an Innings.There are also variations in the measurement lengthwise of a game of cricket.

In professional cricket this ranges from a limit of 20 over's per side (Twenty20) to a game played over 5 days (Test cricket, which is considered the maximum level of the game).

Depending on the form of the match being played, there are different rules that govern how a game is won, lost, strained or tied. The rules of two-innings games are known as the Laws of Cricket and maintained by the ICC and the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC); additional Standard Playing Conditions for Test matches and One Day Internationals augment these laws. Cricket was first recognized as being played in southern England in the 16th century.

By the end of the 18th century, it had developed to the point where it had become the national sport of England. The expansion of the British Empire led to cricket being played out of the country and by the mid-19th century the first international matches were being held. Today, the game's governing body, the International Cricket Council (ICC), has 104 member countries. With its greatest popularity in the Test playing countries, cricket is the world's second most admired sport after Association football.