CRICKET, a well-known game, commonly called the national game of England, played in the United States, Great Britain, Australia and India, the players being arranged in two con testing sides of 11 each. Strutt, one of the best English authorities on ancient sport, ad duces some evidence to show that "club-ball," played in the 14th century, may have been the parent of cricket, but both ecat-and-doe (men tion of which occurs in the 16th century) and "stool-ball° (frequently referred to in the 17th century) have a closer affinity. It is stated in Russell's 'History of Guildford' that cricket was played in that town in the middle of the 16th century, but for 50 years subsequently no trace has been found.
Cricket stands pre-eminent in England among the many outdoor pastimes pursued dur ing the summer months. Cricket is not solely an affair of skill; chance is also a factor to a very large extent. Conditions of ground and weather exert such a remarkable influence on the game that in many cases a side which ap parently possessed little hope of success has come out of a match victorious. Also a mistake in the field, or an act of carelessness on the part of a batsman, may change the character of the whole game. To excel at cricket it is necessary that the study of the game should begin early; and at nearly all schools a cricket or tutor is engaged.
Cricket may be played either single-wicket or double-wicket, but it is now so rarely played in the former manner that we can safely con fine our attention to the latter. For a double wicket match game 11 players on a side are necessary, and after the captains have tossed to settle who shall go to the bat first, the loser places his field and the winner sends in two of his surest, safest batters to defend the wickets and to make runs. The disposition of the field depends upon the style of bowling, whether it be fast, medium pace or slow and the follow ing diagram will give a pretty clear idea of how the fielders are placed and what dangers the batsman has to guard against. A distance of 22 yards separates the wickets, and by this scale the relative position of the players may easily be estimated. The field having been duly placed, the batsmen having taken their stand, the empire calls "play," and the bowler sends down his first ball. After five balls have been delivered from one wicket the umpire calls "over,' and the whole field changes about till the position of the men bears the same relation to the other wicket that it did to the one first bowled against. These 'lovers" continue to be bowled from alternate ends by different bowl ers until the whole 11 players have tried their hand at the bat and been disposed of. Runs
are made by the batsman driving the ball far enough away to give him time to change places with the other batter before the ball returns; each change constitutes a run. Six is the largest number of runs that can be made from a single hit, that being what is allowed when the ball is driven clear out of the grounds. The business of the bowler is to try in every possible way to knock down the wickets in front of which the batsman stands, or else to tempt him into hit ting the ball up into the air so that it may be caught on the fly by one of the fielders. Be sides being bowled or caught out a batter may be "run out,' that is, have his wickets knocked down by the ball while he is busy making a run, or he may be "stumped out,' which is to have the same thing happen when he incautiously steps out of his ground to hit at a ball. The ball comes to the batter on the first bounce and the bowler's skill is shbwn in varying the pitch, speed and direction of the ball so that the bat ter may become bewildered and fail to defend his wickets. The best kind of bowling is what is known as "bowling with a break," the pecu liarity of which consists in that the ball after striking the ground does not continue straight on, but swerves sharply to the right or left like a "cue tennis ball.
The great point in batting is to play with a straight bat, that is, as far as possible to swing the bat at right angles to the ground, the advan tage thereby gained being that the wickets are more completely covered and there is less lia bility of giving a catch. Next in importance is to play forward, that is, to meet the ball as far forward as safety allows and not wait for it to come upon one. Thirdly, it should be the bat ter's aim to play low; in other words, to hit as many "grounders;' or "daisy-cutters," as possi ble, for they are harder to field and give no chance for a catch. Two whole days at least are required for a first-class two-innings match. In Canada there are clubs in almost every city, town and village. In the United States the two chief homes of cricket are in Philadelphia and Boston, although there are good clubs in New York, Detroit and elsewhere and also at some of the larger colleges. Consult Grace, 'Cricket' (1891); Daft, 'Kings of Cricket) (1893) ; Ran jitsinhji, 'Jubilee Book of Cricket' (1897) ; and Read, 'Annals of Cricket' (1897) ; Knight, 'The Complete Cricketer' (1906).