The History of Cricket in South Asia

The origins of cricket can be traced to the mid-1600s, in the English countryside. At first, the game was played among local, county teams. As the centuries passed, the game grew in popularity, even becoming the United Kingdom’s national sport. During the colonial era, the English spread the game throughout the world, bringing it to Oceania, Africa and South Asia. 

Today, the sport is the second most popular sport in the world, with over 2.5 billion fans globally. It is especially popular in Great Britain, Oceania, South Africa, and South Asia, where it is the undisputed most popular sport. In Pakistan for example, the sport has a history which predates the official founding of the country, but we’ll discuss that more a bit further in the article. 

Betting on Cricket

Cricket is also hugely popular in the betting scene. The popularity of sports betting in general is growing, in large part thanks to the rise of online betting websites. Wagering sites are becoming more and more embraced in the mainstream of sports betting, and cricket is definitely one of the most popular sports to bet on. 

One of the most popular ways to bet on when it comes to sports betting sites is live betting. For example, on Sportsbet, cricket live odds are followed and updated, making live betting a lot easier for their user base.  

But, the question posed in this article is, how did cricket come to South Asia? We touched upon it a bit, but let’s take a look at individual countries where cricket is hugely popular.

Pakistan

As we said earlier, the history of cricket in Pakistan, actually predates the official founding of the country. The first game of cricket on the territory that today is recognized as Pakistan was played ten years before the country’s creation in 1947. The participants were Sind and Australia, and the game was attended by 5000 local residents. 

Upon the country’s official formation, the Pakistan Cricket Board was established, which still governs all domestic cricket matters in Pakistan. Since its creation, cricket has dominated the country’s sport scene, quickly becoming the most popular sport. The national team of Pakistan has had quite a few successes internationally. Among their awards they have won the ICC Champion’s trophy in 2017, the ICC T20 World Cup in 2009, the Cricket World Cup in 1992, as well as plenty of other prestigious tournaments in the cricket world. 

On top of it all, one of the most respected, beloved, and best cricketers working today, Shahid Afridi comes from Pakistan. In the eyes of many fans and experts today, Afridi is considered one of the best cricketers working today.

India

In the early 1700s, the British brought cricket to the country of India. According to records, the first game of cricket played in India took place in 1721. The first top-class match of cricket played in India took place more than 100 years later, and saw Madras go up against Calcutta. The popularity of cricket in the country has only grown since then, and the sport today is, by far, the most popular game played in India. 

The Indian national team has seen quite a bit of success, especially in the recent decade. They’ve won 2 ICC World Cups, 1 ICC World Twenty20, 2 ICC Champion’s Trophies. On top of that, the Indian cricket team has won two World Cups, with the second one being as recently as 2011. 

Closing Thoughts

The popularity of cricket does not stop in India and Pakistan. It is the most popular sport in most, if not all, South Asian countries, including Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, etc. Of course, the popularity of the sport does not stop there. England, Australia, Trinidad and Tobago, South Africa, etc. are all countries that enjoy cricket immensely.

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