Why is Cricket called Cricket?

The Reason Behind the Name Cricket


Cricket is a sport that is most loved by many in the world as it has a large fan base. It is an enjoyable game that is always exhilarating to watch or be part of. And like many sports in the world, cricket has its origin, dating back to as early as the 13th century. However, the first-ever direct reference appeared in 1598 in a case in the court and is referenced as “krekett” or” crekett”. For many who don’t have any idea about the sport, they might relate it to insect cricket. It has the same spelling and pronunciation but two different things with no relation whatsoever.

If you have ever wondered why the sport is called cricket and not any other name, you are in the right place. We are discussing the history of cricket and how it acquired its name to help you get well-acquainted with this second-most loved game. After reading through this segment here, you will have sufficient knowledge about what the sport entails and why it is called cricket.

The Origin of Cricket

Cricket is said to have developed from South East England in an area known as Weald during either the Saxon or Norman era. It is believed that cricket was a children’s game, where they used a bat and ball from each end to play. However, the sport seems to have originated way earlier, during the dark ages, immediately after the Roman Empire era in Europe.

The game was created in Northern Europe, somewhere so unlikely to be associated with the sport. Today, it is extensively referred to as England’s summer sport and is played and watched by many people all over the world. Based on speculations, the roots of cricket are said to come from France or Flanders. As mentioned earlier, some references are dating back to the 1300s, where King Edward II plays creag alongside other games in Newenden and Westminster. Some suggest that creag referred to cricket as it was an old English word for the game.

According to experts, creag was earlier spelled as craic to mean fun and games generally. For centuries, cricket was a children’s game that went on for generations before it was taken up as an adult game during the beginning of the 17th century. A reference book in 1611 went on to define the sport as a boy’s game. Ostensibly, the sport was a derivative of bowls, where it was assumed that it was an older sport whereby a batsman tries to prevent the ball from getting to its target by striking it away.

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· Early Cricket Gear and Team Formation

Since the game was played in an area where sheep were grazing, the players implemented the tools of the game. Here, they used a tangled lump of sheep’s wool, or a small stone /lump of wood was used as the ball and a stick as the bat. A stool or makeshift sticks or tree stumps were used as the wicket.

In the mid-years of the 17th century, cricket in the village had fully developed as the first English teams were created. The locals considered as experts from the village cricket got employed as the cricket professionals and the first recorded games were played in 1709 where the teams were given names according to their counties.

In the 18th century, the sport had then built its name as a top sport in London and England counties. However, due to the constraints set on traveling outside these areas, cricket did not spread as much. Nevertheless, it gained ground in various parts of England and it was during this time that women also started playing the game in 1745. Surrey was the place where the first identified women’s match was held.

· Cricket Laws

When the game began getting popular, there were laws to govern it. The first cricket laws were jolted down in 1744 and afterward revised in 1774. During the amendment of the laws, some improvements were made, for instance, the addition of the third stump. The Star and Garter Club members drew up the codes and later established Marylebone Cricket Club in 1787 at Lord’s. The established club had now become the custodian of the laws and since then has been responsible for all cricket law revisions to date.

· From Hockey-Stick Style to Straight Bat

Rolling the ball on the ground became a thing of the past right after 1760, when bowlers started pitching the ball. This is the time when using the hockey-stick bat style was replaced with the straight bat. The game had, for thirty years, been held in Hampshire at the Hambledon Club. However, that changed when Marylebone Cricket Club was formed and in 1787, opened Lord’s Cricket Ground.

· How Cricket Spread to the World

In the early years of the 17th century, cricket made its way to North America through the English colonies. It was later, in the 18th centuries that cricket spread to other parts of the world. Colonists introduced the sport to the West Indies and the British East India Company Mariners introduced it to India. In 1788, cricket found its way in Australia, almost immediately at the start of colonization. It got to New Zealand as well as South Africa in the early 19th century.

The game was now popular and favored as a leisure sport for the privileged members of society, particularly in England.

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The Origin of the Name “Cricket”

Now, this is the part you’ve all been waiting for. Since it’s not quite clear as to where the game first originated from, the name “cricket” has several derivations. For starters, it is believed to have either come from the Old French word croquet, which means stick, post, or goal. It was also thought to have come from the Middle Dutch word “kricke” to mean staff or stick. Because there were strong ancient trade relations amid south-east England and Flanders of the Duchy of Burgundy, the latter derivation holds more power to it. Since there happened to have been strong trade affiliations, chances are the name might have come from the Middle Dutch.

Heiner Gillmeister, the European language expert from Bonn University further proposed another possible derivation of the name cricket. He said that cricket is derived from the Middle Dutch phrase that means hockey, “met de krik ket sen” translating to “with the stick, chase”. As mentioned above, early cricket was played using a hockey-like stick which was later on replaced with the current straight bat style. All these are speculations backed up with years of history of the game. Gillmeister also said that the sport had Flemish origins.


As the second most popular sport in the world, one should know some things, if not everything about cricket. Also, among the important things to know is the history of the sport and how it got to be called cricket. Understanding the history of cricket makes it easy to know where and when the game began. What is more, doing so makes it even easier to explain to others who have the same interest in the sport. Cricket is the best name that the sport could have, and everything it entails has connections to the name.

Main Image Source: Pixabay

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Dave P
Dave P
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