Origins of Cricket

It is believed that cricket began as early as the 13th century in which country boys bowled at a tree stump or at the hurdle gate into a sheep pen. This gate had two uprights and a crossbar lying on the slotted tops; the crossbar was called a bail and the entire gate called a wicket. The fact that as soon as the wicket was struck, the bail could be dislodged made this preferable to the stump, which was later applied to the hurdle uprights. Early rules differ about the size of the wicket, in 1770s, it acquired a third stump, but by 1706, the pitch—the area between the wickets—was 22 yards long.

The ball, a stone in the early day, has remained much the same since the 17th century although the materials are different and its weight of between 5.5 and 5.75 ounces (156 and 163 grams). 

The original bat was made from a shaped branch of a tree, resembling a modern hockey stick but considerably longer and heavier. The bat was made straight to defend against length bowling, which had evolved with cricketers in Hambledon, a small village in southern England. The bat was made shortened in the handle and straightened and broadened in the blade, which is more convenient o forward play, driving, and cutting. Batting dominated bowling through the 18th century due to the fact that bowling technique was not very advanced during this period.

The earliest reference to an 11-a-side match was in Sussex for a stake of 50 guineas in 1697. In 1709 the first recorded intercounty match was between Kent and Surrey at Dartford. It probably around this time, a set of rules for cricket existed for the conduct of the game, although the earliest known version of such rules is dated 1744. Accompanied the sport, heavy betting and disorderly crowds were common at matches.