History and Sport: The Story of Cricket
Question 1. Imagine a conversation between Thomas Arnold, the headmaster of Rugby School, and Mahatma Gandhi on the value of cricket in education. What would each say? Write out a conversation in the form of a dialogue.
A sample conversation is given below Thomas Arnold (TA) I am surprised that you are opposing the inclusion of cricket as a game in the schools, Mr Gandhi.
Mahatma Gandhi (MG) I think only the games which suit the boys and are traditionally played In India should be included in schools.
TA Why do say this? Cricket is a good exercise, besides building up team spirit and also leadership qualities in the boys. It fosters sportsman’s spirit. It is really a gentleman’s game.
MG I think cricket takes a long time to play. One whole day wasted on just a gamel Also it is too expensive. Indian boys will not be able to buy all the equipment needed for a game of cricket. Besides, it reminds us of you British. We want the boys to enjoy games, not think of how we have been colonised.
TA Cricket is a modern game which Imparts discipline to the boys. You have no such Indian traditional game.
MG No, I do not agree. Cricket is dividing our nation on a communal basis and so should not be included.
Question 2. Find out the history of anyone local sport. Ask your parents and grandparents how this game was played in their childhood. See whether it is played in the same way now. Try and think of the historical forces that might account for the changes.
Answer : Do it yourself. You can consider Kabaddi, as it is still very popular.
Question 1. Test cricket is a unique game in many ways. Discuss some of the ways in which it is different from other team games. How are the pecularities of test cricket shaped by its historical beginnings as a village game?
Answer : Test cricket is a uniqu-e game in many ways and different from other team games.
- One of the pecularities of test cricket is that a match can go on for five days and still end in a draw. No other modern team sport takes even half as much time to complete.
- A football match is generally over in an hour and a half of playing time.
- Even baseball a long drawn out bat and ball game by standards of modern sport, completes hire innings in less than half the time that it takes to play a limited overs match the shortened version of modern cricket.
- Most of the team sports, such as hockey and football lay down the dimensions of the playing area cricket does not. Grounds can be oval like the Adelaide OVo; oJrnearly circular like Chepauk in Chennai,
- Cricket began as a village gama and crickets connection with the rural past can be seen in the length of a test match. Originally, cricket matches had no time limit. The game went on for as long as it took to bowl out a side twice because the rhythms of village life were slower and cricket rules were made before the Industrial Revolution.
- In the same way, vagueness about the size of a cricket ground is a result of its rural origins. Cricket was originally played on country commons, unfenced land that was public property. The size of the commons varied tram one village to another, so there were no designated boundaries or boundary hits.
Question 2. Describe one way in which in the 19th century, technology brought about a change in equipment and give one example where no change in equipment took place.
In the 19th century with changing times the game of cricket both changed and also remained true to its origins in rural England.
(i) Change in Equipment In the matter of protective equipment, cricket has been influenced by technological change. The invention of vulcanised rubber led to the introduction of pads in 1848, and protective gloves soon afterwards followed by helmets made of out of metal and synthetic light l,veight materials. Once the bat was made of a single piece of wood. Now it consists of two pieces, the blade which is made out of the wood of the willow tree and the handle which is made out at cane.
(ii) No Change in Equipment Cricket’s most important tools are all made of natural, pre-industrial materials.
The bat is made of wood as are the stumps and the bails.
The ball is made with leather, twine and cork.
Even today both bat and ball are handmade, not industrially manufactured.
Question 3. Explain why cricket became popular in India and the West Indies. Can you give reasons why it did not become popular in countries in South America?
Answer : The pre-industrial oddness of cricket made it a hard game to export.
It took root only in countries that the British conquered and ruled.
In these colonies, cricket was established as a popular sport either by white settlers (as in South Africa Zimbabwe, Australia, New Zealand, the West Indies and Kenya) or by local elites who wanted to copy the habits of their colonial masters as in India.
Cricket was a British game. It did not become popular in the countries of South America because the British did not colonise and rule these countries as they did in Asia and Africa and therefore these countries remained
unexposed to cricket in the early years of the game.
Question 4. Givebrief explanations for the following.
(a) The Parsis were the first Indian community to set up a cricket club in India.
(b) Mahatma Gandhi condemned the Pentangular tournament.
(c) The name of ICC was changed from the Imperial Cricket Conference to the International Cricket Conference.
(d) The shift of the ICCheadquarters from London to Dubai.
Answer The first Indian community to start playing the game of cricket in India was the small community of Zoroastrians, the Parsls.
- They came into close contact with the Britisb because of their interest in trade and were the first Indian community to Westernise themselves.
- The Parsis founded the first Indian Cricket Club, the Oriental Cricket Club, in Bombay in 1848.
- Parsi clubs were funded and sponsored by Parsi businessmen like the Tatas and the Wadias.
- The Parsis built their own Gymkhana to play cricket in.
- A Parsi team beat the Bombay Gymkhana at cricket in 1889.
- The establishment of the Parsi Gymkhana became a precedent for other Indians who, in turn, established clubs based on the idea of a religious community.
(b) Mahatma Gandhi condemned the Pentagular tournament as a communally divisive competition that was out of place in a time when nationalists were trying to unite India’s diverse population into a cohesive force, a force which would strengthen the National Movement.
(c) The name of the ICC was changed from the Imperial Cricket Conference to International Cricket Conference as late as 1965. Till then it was dominated by its founding members, England and Australia, which retained the right to veto its proceedings.
This priveleged posttlon of England and Australia was scrapped in 1989 in favour of equal membership of all the test playing countries.
(d) The shift of the headquarters of the ICC from London to Dubai took place because the technology of sat.ellite television and the worldwide reach of multinational television companies created a global market for cricket. Matches in Sydney could be watched live in Surat.
Since India had the largest viewership for the game amongst the cricket playing nations and the largest market in the cricketing world the game’s centre of gravity shifted to South Asia.
This shift was symbolised by the shifting of the ICC headquarters from London to tax free Dubai.
The shifting of the ICC headquarters from London to Dubai marked the end of the Anglo-Australian domination over the game of cricket.
Question 5. How have advances in technology, especially television technology affected the development of contemporary cricket?
Answer : The 1970’s was the decade in which cricket was transformed. Kerry Packer, an Australian television tycoon, signed up fifty of the world’s leading cricketers and for two years conducted unofficial tests and one day internationals under the name of world series cricket .
- Televised coverage expanded the audience for the game by beaming cricket into small towns and villages.
- Coloured dress, protective helmets, field restrictions and cricket under lights became popular.
- Cricket boards became rich by selling television rights to television companies.
- Television channels made money by selling sports to companies for large sums of money to air their commercials to the captive television audience.
- Continuous television coverage made the circketers celebrities, who now made large sums of money by making commercials for a wide range of products from tyres to colas on television.
- The technology of satellite television and the worldwide reach of multinational companies created a global market for cricket, making it highly popular.