Chapter : 4. History and sport [ The Story of Cricket ]

Laws Of Cricket

A. The first written 'Laws of Cricket' :
The first written '.Laws of Cricket' were drawn up in 1744. They stated, 'the principals shall choose from amongst the gentlemen present, two umpires who shall absolutely decide all disputes. The stumps must be 22 inches high and the bail across them six inches. The ball must be between 5 and 6 ounces, and the two sets of stumps 22 yards apart. There were no limits on the shape or size of the bat.
B. Major changes that took place in the game of cricket during the 1760s and 1770s:
During the 1760s and 1770s many changes took place in the game of cricket. It became common to pitch the ball through the air, rather than roll it along the ground. This change gave bowlers the options of length, deception through the air, plus increased pace. It also opened new possibilities for spin and swing. In response, batsmen had to master timing and shot selection. One immediate result was the replacement of the curved bat with the straight one. All of this raised the premium on skill and reduced the influence of rough ground and brute force.
(i) The weight or the ball was limited to between and ounces, and the width of the bat to four inches. The latter ruling followed an innings by a batsman who appeared with a bat as wide as the wicket!
(ii) In 1774, the first leg-before law was published
(iii) A third stump became common.
(iv) By 1780, three days had become the length of a major match, and this year also saw the creation of the first six-seam cricket ball.
C. Important changes occurred during the 19th century
During the 19th century the important changes that occurred in the game of cricket can be briefly stated as follows
(i) The rule about wide ball was applied.
(ii) The exact circumference of the ball was specified
(iii) Protective equipment like pads and gloves became available.
(iv) Boundaries were introduced; earlier all runs were scored by running between the stumps. Overarm scored by running between the stumps. Overarm bowling became legal.

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