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A gentleman's game that's been flowing since the 16th century, cricket is one of the most established sports in the world and is now played and watched around the world by millions. Although a product of the Tudors in England, the game of cricket was able to proliferate on a global scale thanks to the British colonisation of countries such as Australia and South Africa. Since spreading to multiple continents, cricket has grown to become one of the most popular sports in the world and you can now watch today’s best matches from the comfort of your computer through a network of live streams. Regardless of where you live or what you're doing, it's now possible to tune into professional cricket matches using your desktop or mobile device 24/7.
History of Cricket
In historical terms, cricket's origins can be traced back to Prince Edward in 1301; however, the first written description of the game was noted in France during King Louis XI's reign in 1478. In a letter penned by Estiavannet, a game involving boules (balls) and a wooden post was described as a pastime of villagers in French Flanders. For the next century the game bubbled away under the surface before finally hitting the headlines in England in 1598. Noted in a set of court documents, "creckett" was used to describe the leisurely pursuits of a scholarly gentleman by the name of John Derrick. These early notations of cricket not only gave rise to the popularity of the game, but demonstrated the sport's links to nobility. Although very much a sport of the masses in today's culture, cricket still has an air of nobility surrounding it. Indeed, it's still a sport popular among the middle and upper classes in England and beyond. However, when it comes to professional cricket, the game is played by thousands of players from all walks of life and that's given rise to a diverse mix of styles, strategies and matches.
Major Forms of Cricket
Although the main premise of cricket is the same the world over, the sport has evolved to meet the constraints of its environment in recent years and that's given rise to two main forms of the game: first-class cricket (matches limited by time) and limited overs cricket (matches limited by overs). Under these two headings a number of sub-variants exist which means spectators are able to indulge themselves in a variety of long and short form games.
Of course, the style you gravitate to will be based on your personal preferences; however, the main forms to look out for include: Test Cricket: This is a first-class cricket format that sees each team given two innings to try and achieve the best run tally. Taking place over the course of three days (at least), these games always involve two sides with "first-class status" and will only declare a winner if a game is completed in the allotted time. Any instances of a game not being completed in time result in a draw being declared. One Day Internationals: A variation of test cricket matches, but one that can't technically be called first-class cricket is one day internationals. Although all first-class teams will compete in this format and use similar tactics to the ones employed during a full test match, the fact the action is completed in a single day means it can't be classified as a first-class cricket match.Club/County Cricket: Played around the world and largely featuring professionals (but often with an amateur status), these matches are often limited by time or overs. Typically a county cricket match in England will consist of innings made up of between 30 and 50 overs. Alternatively, club cricket can also be played using the declaration format which allows a team to "declare" a batting total after they feel they've achieved enough runs to win.
Twenty20 Cricket: A product of the early naughties, Twenty20 Cricket is a short form version of the game that is often completed within a few hours. Taking the ground rules of one day cricket and adjusting them to create a more action packed game, Twenty20 organisers decided to limit each team to 20 batting overs. This format forces players to be aggressive; an ethos which then makes the game a better spectacle for casual TV and live stream viewers.
Sixes Cricket: Another interesting sub-variant of the short form genre is sixes cricket. Mainly popular in Asia, the game features two teams with six players apiece, two innings and a total of ten overs. Given the limited number of players on the field this form of cricket sees extremely high run rates and is often over within a couple of hours.
The main organisations overseeing the regulation, codification and reputation of cricket around the world is the International Cricket Council (ICC). Founded in 1909 (under the name the Imperial Cricket Conference), the organisation features members from 105 countries, including the original representatives: England, South Africa and Australia. Through a combination of officials, players and affiliate members, the ICC undertakes many organisational and administrative tasks related to the international cricket scene. Aside from organising major events such as the Cricket World Cup, the ICC also appoints umpires and referees, oversees the laws of the game and even conducts investigations into events that bring this well-respected game into disrepute.
Major Cricket Tournaments
Given cricket's global appeal and variety of formats, the range of major events on the annual sporting calendar is impressive. Indeed, regardless of whether you're a fan of short form cricket or three-day test matches, the professional cricket scene is always buzzing with options.
The Cricket World Cup: The most prestigious cricket tournament in the sport, the Cricket World Cup was first established in 1975 and has taken place on a quadrennial basis ever since. Owing to the number of teams involved (between 10 and 14) and the quality of the players, the Cricket World Cup is played using a one day format. Over the years the tournament itself has evolved hugely, but the latest format has seen teams compete in group stage matches before a Super 8 round and then knockout final stages.
The Champions Trophy: Another product of the ICC and first played in 1998, the Champions Trophy was a knockout tournament that utilises the one day format. Although a popular event amongst cricket fans, the ICC decided to update the format in 2013 and proposed the formation of the World Test Championship. However, this proved unpopular and the decision was later reversed with the Champions Trophy set to recommence in 2017.
World Twenty20: First played in 2007, the World Twenty20 is a short form cricket tournament featuring 16 of the world's best teams. Organised by the ICC and played in various locations on a biennial basis (although sometimes there is a gap of four years), this tournament has been described as one of the most entertaining spectacles in cricket.
The Ashes: Contested by England and Australia, this encounter is seen as one of the most hotly contested affairs in the world of cricket. Representatives from each country compete in a 5-match series to see not only who the best overall side is, but who can claim the coveted Ashes urn.
Betting on Cricket
Although cricket is an age-old game with millions of followers around the world, it's still something of a novelty in the sports betting arena. Despite the top online bookmakers offering hundreds of cricket betting options on a weekly basis, the number of punters actually anteing up is far less than other major sports such as football or horse racing.
However, despite this betting apathy amongst fans, cricket is actually a great sport to bet on because of the odds you can find. For those that do decide to speculate on a match, the odds can be extremely favourable if you know what you're looking for.
In addition to this, it's also possible to get ahead of the game by following the game as closely as possible through a combination of live streams, news reports and social media. Using these mediums, you can often find out information before the bookies and place bets before they have time to adjust their odds.
For example, let's assume England are poised to play Australia in the Ashes and various online sportsbooks have tipped the latter's batters to do well against the relatively inexperienced James Anderson.
Believing that Anderson would struggle to bowl out more than five batters during the series, the bookies priced him at 5/1 for 6+ dismissals. However, just a few days before the series two important things happen. Firstly the Aussies lose their top batsman and, secondly, the pitch turns in Anderson's favour. Although Anderson is one of the team's slower-paced bowlers, he is able to generate a lot of bounce on his balls which means a dry pitch is particularly suited to his style of play.
Basically, if you're looking to become a better cricket bettor, you need to have your finger on the pulse at all times and one of the best ways to do this is to power up your computer and check out the latest live streams.
Cricket Live Streams
Here on PlayLiveStream we've got a plethora of cricket streams ready and waiting for you on a weekly basis. From test matches and Twenty20 showdowns to the best county and club cricket action, you can get instant access using your desktop or mobile.
Indeed, by watching our cricket live streams you can see which players are hitting their stride and which ones are falling at the stumps; therefore, making your job of picking a winner that much easier.