Cricket has developed from a game played only by English noblemen and aristocrats to a sport played and watched by millions in India, Pakistan, Australia and the West Indies. The origins of the game may be disputed, but the popularity of the game was created and promoted through the British Empire in the early 20th century. Most of the other cricket-playing nations were former colonies of the British Empire and, according to the British Broadcasting Corporation, "The former colonies still take great pleasure in beating England at their own game."
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The Origin of Cricket
The origins of cricket have been disputed for centuries. Whether it began in the Dark Ages or started with shepherds in the Punjabi region of India in the 8th century, all research, according to CricInfo "concedes that the game derived from a very old, widespread and uncomplicated pastime" involving hitting an object with some sort of club.
The Marylebone Cricket Club
The Marylebone Cricket Club, now based at the Lord's Cricket Ground in London, was the first official organization to write down and apply the Laws of Cricket to every game that was played. The MCC helped organize matches, competitive leagues and any changes in the Laws, and were responsible for promoting cricket around the world. The International Cricket Council has taken over running the worldwide game, although the MCC does still promote the game to young people, help increase cricket's international appeal and safeguard the "spirit" of cricket.
Introduction of New Countries
England and Australia were the first countries to play an official test series in 1877. The founding members of the ICC in 1909 were England, Australia and South Africa, and they played an unsuccessful and unpopular triangular tournament in 1912. During a meeting of the ICC in 1926, they extended the game to other countries in the British empire. This granted test playing status to India, the West Indies and New Zealand. The next official test playing nation was Pakistan in 1952, which played its first test match in October of that year.
There are now 10 full members of the ICC who are granted permission to play test matches against each other. Once a country shows willingness to invest in cricket, creating an infrastructure and coaching set up, they can be considered a full test-playing member of the ICC. There are currently 27 associate members of the ICC who are developing the game within their own countries. Argentina, Germany, Singapore, Namibia and the USA are all trying to increase the competitiveness of their own cricket teams to fulfill the long-term goal of becoming a full test-playing member. A team cannot be considered for full membership if it is perceived that it would not be competitive enough.