The elite, the full members, are at the top: England, eight former British colonies, including India, and a conglomerate representing 15 Caribbean states. They are the official Test-playing nations, those chosen to wear white during the five-day matches that define the sport's purest form.
Next up are the other countries that have been selected to play Test cricket, which is known as "the great game". These are called the "opponents" of England. They include Australia, New Zealand, India, Pakistan, and Ireland, who are not independent countries but instead represent regions within the United Kingdom.
Finally, there are four associate members who play limited-overs cricket but no longer take part in Test matches. One of them, Nepal, became a republic in 2015. The others are Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, and Afghanistan. All four countries joined the game in its early years and played their first matches before 1900.
India is the most successful team in terms of wins with 68 victories. Next is England with 52 wins. Then come Australia with 40 wins, followed by South Africa with 39 wins.
In terms of revenue, India is the biggest player in cricket with $140 million earned in 2014, while England came next with $80 million.
England has won the most matches worldwide, with 76 victories. Next is Australia with 70 wins. Then comes India with 59 wins.
Club cricket is popular in Pakistan, England, Australia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, the West Indies, New Zealand, Bangladesh, Nepal, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, and some of India's major cities. In Europe, several European countries have club cricket clubs, including Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland.
In addition to these countries, ICC Associate Members Turkey, Iraq, Yemen, Ghana, Uganda, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Israel, IOC members Monaco, Qatar, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, America's Caribbean territories (Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Montserrat, Saint Kitts & Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent & Grenadines), Afghanistan, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar (Burma), Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, World Cricket Tsars - leaders of international cricket who are also elected by their peers - are expected to be active participants in world events including the Cricket World Cup and ICC T20I Championships.
Cricket was a prominent sport in Commonwealth countries until recently. As a result, only a few dozen countries fielded national or international cricket teams. England, India, Pakistan, Australia, New Zealand, the West Indies, and South Africa were among them. The world's oldest cricket club, St. James's Cricket Club in London, England, was founded in 1720.
Today, cricket is popular in many countries around the world. The main difference between these countries and the old ones is that they are all male teams, while before women were allowed to play cricket, all the major countries had female equivalents of the major sports leagues. These countries include India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland, and Afghanistan. There are also several men's amateur clubs in Europe and North America.
In addition to these countries, three other nations have entered official international competitions: Iraq in 2004, Lebanon in 2008, and Nigeria in 2009. However, none of these countries has been able to qualify for the World Cup yet. Iraq played its first match against Scotland on February 15, 2004. This match took place in Edinburgh at the National Cricket Academy. Scotland won the match by eight wickets. Iraq was barred from competing in global events due to its involvement in the Iraqi civil war. In 2008, Lebanon made its debut in the ICC World Cricket League Division One tournament.
Currently, more than 100 nations participate in this sport and are affiliated with the ICC. There are three formats of international cricket. They are Test cricket, which was originally called "The Great Exhibition", ODI's, and T20I's.
In England, the first recorded match played by what is now known as the MCC (then called "the Gentlemen of Middlesex") involved 12 players including two from each of the following counties: Buckingham, Cambridge, Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lincoln, Norfolk, Oxford, Salisbury, Somerset, Wiltshire. The game lasted until nightfall and was not repeated for several years because there were no lights at any of the venues used. In 1877, an official of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) introduced a limited number of hours of play per day to avoid further nights being lost due to darkness.
Today, the MCC plays approximately 40 matches per year against other county teams and eight matches against other national teams. Its best result to date has been second place behind Australia in the 2000 World Cup. The MCC remains one of the most prestigious clubs in English cricket and has produced many notable players over the years.
It started in south-east England and became the country's national sport in the 18th century before spreading internationally in the 19th and 20th centuries. International matches have been played since 1844, while Test cricket began in 1877, although retroactively. The game has always been popular in India, where it is known as cricketer.
India is the mother country of cricket. It was introduced to India by the British in 17th century and became very popular among Indian aristocracy. After independence in 1947, cricket remained popular among Indians who migrated to other countries, such as Pakistan and Australia. In recent years, the popularity of cricket has increased greatly in India again. Today, India is the only country that plays international cricket.
The first official international match was played between England and Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on January 11, 1877. This is also considered as the beginning of Test cricket. The term "Test" was originally used by English journalist Henry Blunt for a series of matches he called "essentials for the health of cricket." The word "test" came from the fact that these matches were important for the development of the game.
Australia won the first test match by an innings and 39 runs. This match is often referred to as the "golden era of cricket" in Australia.