Cricket Not Football: UK’s National Sport

cricket-peteWithout a shadow of a doubt, the United Kingdom is one of the world’s biggest football nations. Quite surprisingly, however, it isn’t the country’s national sport. With superstar athletes and teams renowned all over the world and fans that are much too passionate, it’s no wonder why people would assume such.

But which sport holds the title? The answer is cricket. Surprised?

Cricket is a bat-and-ball game that has been around since the turn of the 16th century where it began as a children’s game mainly in England and Commonwealth countries. The name originates from the old English term “cryce” to mean a crutch or a staff. Today, it is played in over 120 countries all over the world.

Played by two teams of 11 players in grassy, large circular areas between 114 and 160 meters in diameter, the game involves using a flat bat, a small hard ball, and wickets. A player bats the ball and runs to score while the defenders can get a player out by bowling and hitting the wicket, catching a hit ball, or running the player out.

A cricket bat is often made of willow, fitted with a cane handle and a rubber grip and measures 38 by 4.5 inches. In contrast to baseball, the bat is flat and elongated. On the other hand, the ball is made of alternating layers of cork and wool covered in leather. It is 9 inches in circumference and weighs between 156 to 163 grams.

If football has FIFA, cricket has governing bodies too namely the ICC which stands for the International Cricket Council and the IWCC or the International Women’s Cricket Council.

The ICC governs over 70 member countries worldwide. It organizes the World Cricket Cup which occurs every four years. It likewise pays visits to its member countries, promotes the sport, maintains its code of conduct and qualifies umpires among others. The IWCC functions on a similar note and likewise holds world championships.

The United Kingdom is home to numerous renowned and celebrated cricket athletes. For instance there’s Alastair Cook who plays for Essex. At the age of 31, his highest score is a glaring 294. There’s Joe Root too who plays for Yorkshire County Cricket Club and England and currently second in the ICC rankings to Steve Smith.. At the young age of 19, he signed a 3 year contract after having been spotted at the Under-19 games.