Cricket was invented in England, with its creation believed to date back to the middle of the 16th century. For some time after that it remained popular only in that country, but things changed during the 19th century.
The British Empire saw the game exported to other nations, where it quickly gained a following. One of those where it took off most spectacularly was India, developing a passionate fan base that it retains to this day.
India is now the base for one of the major cricket competitions, of which there are several. Let’s take a look at them.
T20 World Cup
The Twenty20 version of cricket angers some purists, but it also appeals to many. The biggest and most prestigious tournament it offers is the World Cup.
This was inaugurated in 2007 and the first competition was won by India, which helped to boost the profile of the game there. Since then, the most successful countries have been England and the West Indies, with two victories each.
People love T20 because of its faster pace and the knockout format of the World Cup adds even more excitement. This tournament attracts enthusiastic sports betting interest too, because it is the most populist competition.
Star players at the last one included Indian batsman Virat Kohli, who finished as top run scorer, and English bowler Sam Curran, who claimed three wickets to help his country win the final.
This test match contest between England and Australia takes place every two years and is known around the world. The name comes from an obituary for English cricket that a newspaper published after Australia won a test match at the Oval in the late 19th century.
It has stuck since then, as has the five-match format. There have been a total of 72 series of the Ashes held, with 34 wins for Australia, 32 for England and six drawn series.
Star players from the past include Australian bowlers Ted McDonald and Jack Gregory and legendary batsman Don Bradman. The latter hit a record 974 runs in the 1930 series as Australia dominated that era.
The most iconic English Ashes star is Ian Botham. In maybe the greatest ever match, he scored 149 runs during the Third Test of 1981, which helped England to an unlikely win as they went on to secure the series.
ICC Cricket World Cup
Cricket pundits regard this as the most important cricket competition of all. It takes place every four years and each country sends its top players to compete.
It is also a tournament that India has enjoyed huge success in, winning it in both 1983 and 2011. Roger Binney was the star Indian player in 1983, taking the highest number of wickets in the tournament.
It was the bowlers who saved the nation, bowling out the favored West Indies for just 140 runs from 52 overs, to create a major upset. This was a win that contributed massively to the popularity of the game in India.
That match was among the greatest in the history of the competition, but others include the sensational Irish victory in 2011 that saw Kevin O’Brien score the fastest-ever century, and the drama of Australia’s five-run win over the West Indies in 1996.
The current holders are England, but this year’s tournament is being held in India, so hopes are high there for a third win.
ICC Champions Trophy
This One-Day International tournament remains one of the biggest, despite not currently being played! It was scrapped after the 2017 competition, but is scheduled to return starting in 2025.
One of the most memorable matches was the final of 2002, with India taking on England. Batsmen Virender Sehwag and Sourav Ganguly wrote themselves into their country’s – and cricket – history by demolishing the England bowlers with 117 and 126 runs respectively.
Let’s hope for more great matches when the tournament is revived.
Indian Premier League
The last of the top cricket competitions is the Indian Premier League. This T20 franchise is huge in that country, but also draws large global television audiences and betting fans.
It has taken place during the spring months since its launch in 2008 and there are 10 teams that compete in the league. The two most successful sides are Mumbai Indians, who have won it five times, and Chennai Super Kings, with four wins.
Mumbai Indians took part in what some consider the best ever IPL game, versus Kolkata Knight Riders in 2011. With Mumbai needing 21 runs to win and one over left, James Franklin scored several fours in a row followed by a six to claim victory for his team.
These are the competitions that have cricket fans captivated all around the world and they rarely disappoint.