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After finishing as runners-up in the ICC Champions Trophy, England faced Australia in back-to-back Ashes series. A 3–0 home win secured England the urn for the fourth time in five series. However, in the return series, they found themselves utterly demolished in a 5–0 defeat, their second Ashes whitewash in under a decade. Their misery was compounded by batsman Jonathan Trott leaving the tour early due to a stress-related illness and the mid-series retirement of spinner Graeme Swann. Following the tour, head coach Flower resigned his post while Pietersen was dropped indefinitely from the England team. Flower was replaced by his predecessor, Moores, but he was sacked for a second time after a string of disappointing results including failing to advance from the group stage at the 2015 World Cup. He was replaced by Australian Trevor Bayliss who oversaw an upturn of form in the ODI side, including series victories against New Zealand and Pakistan. In the Test arena, England reclaimed the Ashes 3–2 in the summer of 2015.
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The captain is often the most experienced player in the team, certainly the most tactically astute, and can possess any of the main skillsets as a batsman, a bowler or a wicket-keeper. Within the Laws, the captain has certain responsibilities in terms of nominating his players to the umpires before the match and ensuring that his players conduct themselves "within the spirit and traditions of the game as well as within the Laws".
Although the main object of the game has always been to score the most runs, the early form of cricket differed from the modern game in certain key technical aspects. The ball was bowled underarm by the bowler and all along the ground towards a batsman armed with a bat that, in shape, resembled a hockey stick; the batsman defended a low, two-stump wicket; and runs were called "notches" because the scorers recorded them by notching tally sticks.
Another reason for their poor performances were the demands of County Cricket teams on their players, meaning that England could rarely field a full-strength team on their tours. This eventually led to the ECB taking over from the MCC as the governing body of England and the implementation of central contracts. 1992 also saw Scotland sever ties with the England and Wales team, and begin to compete as the Scotland national team.
The first recorded incidence of a team with a claim to represent England comes from 9 July 1739 when an "All-England" team, which consisted of 11 gentlemen from any part of England exclusive of Kent, played against "the Unconquerable County" of Kent and lost by a margin of "very few notches". Such matches were repeated on numerous occasions for the best part of a century.
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If a fielder is injured or becomes ill during a match, a substitute is allowed to field instead of him, but the substitute cannot bowl or act as a captain. The substitute leaves the field when the injured player is fit to return. The Laws of Cricket were updated in 2017 to allow substitutes to act as wicket-keepers, a situation that first occurred when Mumbai Indians' wicket-keeper Ishan Kishan was injured in a match on 18 April 2018.
Historically, cricket's origins are uncertain and the earliest definite reference is in south-east England in the middle of the 16th century. It spread globally with the expansion of the British Empire, leading to the first international matches in the second half of the 19th century. The game's governing body is the International Cricket Council (ICC), which has over 100 members, twelve of which are full members who play Test matches. The game's rules are held in a code called the Laws of Cricket which is owned and maintained by Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) in London. The sport is followed primarily in the Indian subcontinent, Australasia, the United Kingdom, southern Africa and the West Indies, its globalisation occurring during the expansion of the British Empire and remaining popular into the 21st century. Women's cricket, which is organised and played separately, has also achieved international standard. The most successful side playing international cricket is Australia, which has won seven One Day International trophies, including five World Cups, more than any other country and has been the top-rated Test side more than any other country.
The 1938–39 tour of South Africa saw another experiment with the deciding Test being a timeless Test that was played to a finish. England lead 1–0 going into the final timeless match at Durban. Despite the final Test being 'timeless', the game ended in a draw after 10 days as England had to catch the train to catch the boat home. A record 1,981 runs were scored, and the concept of timeless Tests was abandoned. England went on one final tour of the West Indies in 1939 before the Second World War, although a team for an MCC tour of India was selected more in hope than expectation of the matches being played.
The game underwent major development in the 18th century to become England's national sport. Its success was underwritten by the twin necessities of patronage and betting. 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. The single wicket form of the sport attracted huge crowds and wagers to match, its popularity peaking in the 1748 season. 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.
The inaugural ICC Associate and Affiliate International Umpires Panel was formed in June 2006. It superseded the ICC Associate and Affiliate International Umpires Panel, created in 2005, and serves as the pinnacle for umpires from non-Test playing Members, with selection achieved through each of the five ICC Development Program Regional Umpires Panels. Members of the Associate and Affiliate International Umpires Panel are eligible for appointments to ODIs involving ICC Associate Members, ICC Intercontinental Cup matches and other Associate and Affiliate tournaments. High-performing umpires may also be considered for other ICC events, including the ICC U/19 Cricket World Cup, and could also be invited to be involved in the ICC Champions Trophy and ICC Cricket World Cup.
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