In August 2016, Pakistan achieved the number 1 ranking in test cricket for the first time since 1988, after Sri Lanka whitewashed Australia. Pakistan displaced India as number 1 after rain caused the final test match between India and West Indies to end in a draw.[58] Pakistan became the 1st Asian team and 2nd team overall to win a day-night test match, which was against the West Indies in Dubai.

Cricket entered a new era in 1963 when English counties introduced the limited overs variant.[52] As it was sure to produce a result, limited overs cricket was lucrative and the number of matches increased.[53] The first Limited Overs International was played in 1971 and the governing International Cricket Council (ICC), seeing its potential, staged the first limited overs Cricket World Cup in 1975.[54] In the 21st century, a new limited overs form, Twenty20, made an immediate impact.[citation needed] On 22 June 2017, Afghanistan and Ireland became the 11th and 12th ICC full members, enabling them to play Test cricket.[55][56]

Before a match begins, the team captains (who are also players) toss a coin to decide which team will bat first and so take the first innings.[63] Innings is the term used for each phase of play in the match.[63] In each innings, one team bats, attempting to score runs, while the other team bowls and fields the ball, attempting to restrict the scoring and dismiss the batsmen.[64][65] When the first innings ends, the teams change roles; there can be two to four innings depending upon the type of match. A match with four scheduled innings is played over three to five days; a match with two scheduled innings is usually completed in a single day.[63] During an innings, all eleven members of the fielding team take the field, but usually only two members of the batting team are on the field at any given time. The exception to this is if a batsman has any type of illness or injury restricting his or her ability to run, in this case the batsman is allowed "A Runner" who can run between the wickets when the batsman hits a scoring run or runs.[63] The order of batsmen is usually announced just before the match, but it can be varied.[58]

The England cricket team represents England and Wales. However, under ICC regulations,[78] players can qualify to play for a country by nationality, place of birth or residence, so (as with any national sports team) some people are eligible to play for more than one team. ECB regulations[79] state that to play for England, a player must be a British citizen, and have either been born in England or Wales, or have lived in England or Wales for three years. This has led to players who also held other nationalities becoming eligible to play for England. The qualification period for those born outside England and Wales has varied in the past, but in November 2018 the ECB announced that the period would be reduced to three years in all circumstances, in line with ICC regulations.[80]
The ball is a hard leather-seamed spheroid, with a circumference of 22.9 centimetres (9.0 in). The ball has a "seam": six rows of stitches attaching the leather shell of the ball to the string and cork interior. The seam on a new ball is prominent and helps the bowler propel it in a less predictable manner. During matches, the quality of the ball deteriorates to a point where it is no longer usable; during the course of this deterioration, its behaviour in flight will change and can influence the outcome of the match. Players will, therefore, attempt to modify the ball's behaviour by modifying its physical properties. Polishing the ball and wetting it with sweat or saliva is legal, even when the polishing is deliberately done on one side only to increase the ball's swing through the air, but the acts of rubbing other substances into the ball, scratching the surface or picking at the seam are illegal ball tampering.[71]
Cricket has had a broad impact on popular culture, both in the Commonwealth of Nations and elsewhere. It has, for example, influenced the lexicon of these nations, especially the English language, with various phrases such as "that's not cricket" (that's unfair), "had a good innings" (lived a long life) and "sticky wicket". "On a sticky wicket" (aka "sticky dog" or "glue pot")[128] is a metaphor[129] used to describe a difficult circumstance. It originated as a term for difficult batting conditions in cricket, caused by a damp and soft pitch.[130]
England's first match after the war was in the 1920–21 season against Australia. Still feeling the effects of the war England went down to a series of crushing defeats and suffered their first whitewash losing the series 5–0. Six Australians scored hundreds while Mailey spun out 36 English batsmen. Things were no better in the next few Ashes series losing the 1921 Ashes series 3–0 and the 1924–25 Ashes 4–1. England's fortunes were to change in 1926 as they regained the Ashes and were a formidable team during this period dispatching Australia 4–1 in the 1928–29 Ashes tour.

A skilled batsman can use a wide array of "shots" or "strokes" in both defensive and attacking mode. The idea is to hit the ball to the best effect with the flat surface of the bat's blade. If the ball touches the side of the bat it is called an "edge". The batsman does not have to play a shot and can allow the ball to go through to the wicketkeeper. Equally, he does not have to attempt a run when he hits the ball with his bat. Batsmen do not always seek to hit the ball as hard as possible, and a good player can score runs just by making a deft stroke with a turn of the wrists or by simply "blocking" the ball but directing it away from fielders so that he has time to take a run. A wide variety of shots are played, the batsman's repertoire including strokes named according to the style of swing and the direction aimed: e.g., "cut", "drive", "hook", "pull".[105]
The ICC has 104 members: 12 Full Members that play Test matches and 92 Associate Members.[3] The ICC is responsible for the organisation and governance of cricket's major international tournaments, most notably the Cricket World Cup. It also appoints the umpires and referees that officiate at all sanctioned Test matches, One Day International and Twenty20 Internationals. It promulgates the ICC Code of Conduct, which sets professional standards of discipline for international cricket,[4] and also co-ordinates action against corruption and match-fixing through its Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU).

In the late 19th century, a former cricketer, English-born Henry Chadwick of Brooklyn, New York, was credited with devising the baseball box score[142] (which he adapted from the cricket scorecard) for reporting game events. The first box score appeared in an 1859 issue of the Clipper.[143] The statistical record is so central to the game's "historical essence" that Chadwick is sometimes referred to as "the Father of Baseball" because he facilitated the popularity of the sport in its early days.[144]
England lost their first series of the new century to Australia in 1901–02 Ashes. Australia also won the 1902 series, which was memorable for exciting cricket, including Gilbert Jessop scoring a Test century in just 70 minutes. England regained the Ashes in 1904 under the captaincy of Pelham Warner. R. E. Foster scored 287 on his debut and Wilfred Rhodes took 15 wickets in a match. In 1905–06, England lost 4–1 against South Africa. England avenged the defeat in 1907, when they won the series 1–0 under the captaincy of Foster. However, they lost the 1909 Ashes series against Australia, suing 25 players in the process. England also lost to South Africa, with Jack Hobbs scoring his first of 15 centuries on the tour.
Ted Dexter succeeded him as captain but England continued to suffer indifferent results. In 1961–62, they beat Pakistan, but also lost to India. The following year saw England and Australia tie the 1962–63 Ashes series 1–1, meaning Australia retained the urn. Despite beating New Zealand 3–0, England went on to lose to the West Indies, and again failed in the 1964 Ashes, losing the home series 1–0, which marked the end of Dexter's captaincy.
There is also an Elite Panel of ICC Referees who act as the independent representative of the ICC at all Test and ODI matches. As of January 2009, it has 6 members, all highly experienced former international cricketers. The Referees do not have the power to report players or officials (which has to be done by the umpires), but they are responsible for conducting hearings under the ICC Code of Conduct and imposing penalties as required at matches, ranging from an official reprimand to a lifetime ban from cricket. Decisions can be appealed, but the original decision is upheld in most cases.

At the 1992 World Cup Semi-final, having won the toss, New Zealand chose to bat first and ended with a total of 262 runs. Pakistan batted conservatively yet lost wickets at regular intervals. With the departure of Imran Khan and Saleem Malik shortly thereafter, Pakistan still required 115 runs at a rate of 7.67 runs per over with veteran Javed Miandad being the only known batsman remaining at the crease. A young Inzamam-ul-Haq, who had just turned 22 and was not a well-known player at the time, burst onto the international stage with a match-winning 60 off 37 balls. Once Inzamam got out, Pakistan required 36 runs from 30 balls, which wicket-keeper Moin Khan ended with a towering six over long off, followed by the winning boundary to midwicket. The match is seen as the emergence of Inzamam onto the international stage.[37][38][39]


On 20 April 2007, a PCB official announced that former Test cricketer Talat Ali would act as interim coach, in addition to his rôle as team manager, until a new coach had been appointed.[53] On 16 July 2007, Geoff Lawson, previously head coach of New South Wales, was appointed coach of Pakistan for two years, becoming the third foreigner to take on the rôle.[54] In the 2007 ICC World Twenty20, Pakistan exceeded expectations to reach the final but ended as runners-up, after losing the final to India in a nail-biting finish. On 25 October 2008, Intikhab Alam was named as a national coach of the team by the PCB.

Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played on a cricket field (see image, right) between two teams of eleven players each.[58] The field is usually circular or oval in shape and the edge of the playing area is marked by a boundary, which may be a fence, part of the stands, a rope, a painted line or a combination of these; the boundary must if possible be marked along its entire length.[59]
The Laws state that, throughout an innings, "the ball shall be bowled from each end alternately in overs of 6 balls".[82] The name "over" came about because the umpire calls "Over!" when six balls have been bowled. At this point, another bowler is deployed at the other end, and the fielding side changes ends while the batsmen do not. A bowler cannot bowl two successive overs, although a bowler can (and usually does) bowl alternate overs, from the same end, for several overs which are termed a "spell". The batsmen do not change ends at the end of the over, and so the one who was non-striker is now the striker and vice-versa. The umpires also change positions so that the one who was at "square leg" now stands behind the wicket at the non-striker's end and vice-versa.[82]

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A skilled batsman can use a wide array of "shots" or "strokes" in both defensive and attacking mode. The idea is to hit the ball to the best effect with the flat surface of the bat's blade. If the ball touches the side of the bat it is called an "edge". The batsman does not have to play a shot and can allow the ball to go through to the wicketkeeper. Equally, he does not have to attempt a run when he hits the ball with his bat. Batsmen do not always seek to hit the ball as hard as possible, and a good player can score runs just by making a deft stroke with a turn of the wrists or by simply "blocking" the ball but directing it away from fielders so that he has time to take a run. A wide variety of shots are played, the batsman's repertoire including strokes named according to the style of swing and the direction aimed: e.g., "cut", "drive", "hook", "pull".[105]
The inter-war years were dominated by Australia's Don Bradman, statistically the greatest Test batsman of all time. Test cricket continued to expand during the 20th century with the addition of the West Indies (1928), New Zealand (1930) and India (1932) before the Second World War and then Pakistan (1952), Sri Lanka (1982), Zimbabwe (1992), Bangladesh (2000), Ireland and Afghanistan (both 2018) in the post-war period.[49][50] South Africa was banned from international cricket from 1970 to 1992 as part of the apartheid boycott.[51]

The game underwent major development in the 18th century to become England's national sport.[citation needed] Its success was underwritten by the twin necessities of patronage and betting.[34] Cricket was prominent in London as early as 1707 and, in the middle years of the century, large crowds flocked to matches on the Artillery Ground in Finsbury.[citation needed] The single wicket form of the sport attracted huge crowds and wagers to match, its popularity peaking in the 1748 season.[35] Bowling underwent an evolution around 1760 when bowlers began to pitch the ball instead of rolling or skimming it towards the batsman. This caused a revolution in bat design because, to deal with the bouncing ball, it was necessary to introduce the modern straight bat in place of the old "hockey stick" shape.[36][citation needed]

With the outbreak of the American Civil War, attention turned elsewhere. English tourists visited Australia in 1861–62 with this first tour organised as a commercial venture by Messrs Spiers and Pond, restaurateurs of Melbourne. Most matches played during tours prior to 1877 were "against odds", with the opposing team fielding more than 11 players to make for a more even contest.[14] This first Australian tour were mostly against odds of at least 18/11.
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