Even though it was said to have been invented by sheep farmers in England, cricket is now the world's number one ball and bat game. With 2.5 billion fans worldwide, the sport has come a long way from being a medieval pastime. You might be one of those 2.5 billion fans but how much do you really know about cricket? Do you know who holds the most impressive records, or what those records even are?
Here's a breakdown of everything you need to know about cricket so you can call yourself a true fan.
The Delivery Record Was Set In 2003 With A Mind-Blowing Speed
The 2003 Cricket World Cup took place in South Africa and featured the game's fastest delivery of all-time. Shoaib Akhtar was bowling for Pakistan when he unleashed a devastating 161 kilometers per hour delivery.
Akhtar played on the national team from 1997 until 2011. His last tournament was supposed to be the 2011 World Cup. He was selected by Pakistan and announced that he would retire when it was over. Unfortunately, he was not able to retire on his own terms and was cut from the team after the group stage.
The Record For Runs Conceded In An Over Is Way Higher Than 36
An over in cricket is defined as "six consecutive legal deliveries from one end of a cricket pitch the to the batsmen." At this point in play, the umpire calls "over," and the teams switch sides. For years the belief was that 36 runs were the most ever given up in an over.
The record, for the record, is actually 77, and it was set by R.H. Vance, who did it in a game between Canterbury and Wellington. During the over, scoreboard operators lost count of the damage and needed to ask spectators for help to keep their numbers in order.
Wilfred Rhodes Shocked The World With With Wicket Record
Over the course of his illustrious career, Wilfred Rhodes participated in 1,110 first-class matches. He played from 1898 until 1930 and collected a mind-boggling 4,204 wickets. That incredible record still stands today.
Rhodes also finished his career with a 30.81 batting average and 3,969 runs scored. His feats made him the first player to ever scores 2,000 runs and 100 wickets in Tests. After leaving his playing days behind, he got into coaching, although his ability to relate to young players held him back from further success.
Chris Gayle Changed How Test Matches Are Played
A Test match is the longest possible match in cricket. They can last up to five days and are incredibly grueling and exhausting. Because of this, most players are more cautious early in the match to conserve energy.
During one match Chris Gayle bucked the trend and came out swinging. A West Indian icon, Gayle's aggressive play got him a six off the first ball of the match. He is the only player to ever do this is a Test match.
One Player Spent A Whopping 970 Minutes In The Crease
Hanif Mohammad is considered one of the smartest cricket players to ever put on pads. Using his smarts, he spent a record 970 minutes in the crease playing for Pakistan against the West Indies in the late 1950s.
He made his record time during a marathon of 337 innings. We're stunned just thinking about it. To make him seem even more superhuman, he was able to bowl successfully from either hand, which is a rarity in the world of cricket.
England And India Don't Follow The Same Paths
The game of cricket can be absolutely devastating. A team can be up one minute, then fall victim to a brutal comeback. England has suffered the three worst come from behind losses; one from 60-over, another from 50-over, and a third from 20-over.
On the flip side, India might be the luckiest country to ever play cricket. Their national team is the only one to overcome the same deficits and win matches. All three wins for India happened in finals, too!
Only Two Players Have Taken All Ten Wickets In A Test Match
Today, having a bowler take all ten wickets in a test match is thought to be a nearly impossible feat. In the history of the sport, it has only happened twice: once in 1956 and then again in 1999.
In 1956, English cricketer Jim Laker took ten wickets against Australia. Forty-three years later Anil Kumble embarrassed Pakistan by taking every wicket in the second Test played in Delhi in February. It could be another 40 years for a bowler to take ten wickets again.
Only Six Players Have Hit Double-Centuries In One Day
A double-century in cricket happens when a player scores 200 or more runs. During One Day International competitions, this has happened eight times by six players: Sachin Tendulkar, Rohit Sharma, Virender Sehwag, Martin Guptill, Chris Gayle, and Fakhar Zaman.
Three of the eight times these double-centuries were scored it set new world records. Twice they occurred during World Cup competition. Amazingly, the world record for runs scored was never set during World Cup play. The current world record is 264 runs, set by Rohit Sharma in 2014.
Alec Stewart Has A Special Birthday
Alec Stewart was born on August 4th, 1963. Written differently, that date is 8-4-63. Unbelievably, when he retired from the English national cricket team, he had 8,463 runs. Now you'll never forget the day the legend was born!
During his career with England, Stewart was groomed to the captain and was given the official title when he was 35-years-old. His captaincy lasted a little less than a year, but his influence on cricket in his home country continued to live on well after his retirement.
The Fastest Test Match In History
A Test match is supposed to last five days. When fans buy tickets to these matches, that's what they think they're paying for. Twice, however, those tickets were only good for one day!
One Test matches took place in 2000 and featured England facing off against the West Indies. The other occurred in 2011 and saw Australia take on South Africa. All four innings of each match concluded on the first day, leaving fans with four times of free time on their hands.
As Consistent As They Come
MS Dhoni made a name for himself in One Day International competitions as the captain of India's national team. A batsman by trait, he has scored more than 10,000 runs in his career thanks to his consistent play.
The only thing Dhoni has never done is to score a century during a One Day International outside of Asia. This has led to criticism of his career, but we see it as proof of how consistent his play is in every game that he doesn't need one massive match to boost his numbers.
The Harsh Life Of A Captain
In every sport worldwide, a captain is chosen to represent the team and its players. In cricket, the captain is the most stressful position any player can hold. If you don't believe us just ask South African cricketer Graeme Smith.
Smith was 22 years old when he was named the captain of South Africa. He owned the title for over 100 Test matches, becoming the only player to do so. By the time he was 32 years old, the mental wear of his captaincy, and physical tear of the sport became too much to handle and he retired.
Playing For Both Sides
Usually when you play for one international cricket team, you play there until you retire or they cut you. Sometimes a player comes along who defies the sports laws of nature, though. Dirk Nannes began his cricket career playing for the Netherlands.
Nannes became so highly regarded that Australia "poached" him, and convinced him to switch sides. At the time Australia was the best cricket team in the world and saw an opportunity to get better. How could Nannes resist?
Allan Border Is Credited With Reviving Cricket In Australia
Cricket's popularity was waning in the 1980s. Then Allan Border showed up and revitalized the sport. It's not often one athlete is credited with saving an entire sport, but in this case, and on this continent, it's true.
As the captain of the national club, Border played in 153 consecutive test matches, becoming one of the iron men of cricket. He was instinctive on the pitch and had deadly batting skills, making him a marvel to watch. Today, Border makes his living as a commentator for the sport.
Technique Above All Else
Another oldie but goodie, Don Bradman made his international test debut for Australia in 1928 and played for 20 years. He valued technique above all else, only hitting six sixes during his legendary career.
In total, Bradman finished his career with 28,067 runs scored and a 95.14 batting average. In the middle of his career, he was so beloved by his home country that the Royal Navy named a ship after him. Tragically, it was sunk by a German aircraft in the first year of its life.
A Long And Decorated Career
In 1989, 24 cricket players made their international debuts. Of those 24, Sachin Tendulkar of India played the longest. He was 16 years old at the time of his debut and retired in 2014 after 25 years.
Chris Cairns was one of the players who made his debut the same year. He was the second-to-last player of the 24 to retire, putting his bat down in 2004. Not only did Tendulkar play ten years longer than anyone else in his debut class, but he is also widely regarded as India's best batsman of all time.
Bowling Records By One Man
In 2010, Jamaican cricketer Courtney Walsh was inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame. During his career, he was known best for his bowling skills, which he used to set records in that were thought to be impossible.
Walsh became the world's highest wicket-taker in 2000, which broke Kapil Dev's six-year record. One year later, he was the first bowler to take 500 wickets in Test cricket history. His 519 wickets was a record when he retired that stood until 2004 when Muttiah Muralitharan passed him.
Imagine for one moment being in the World Cup final of the second most popular sport in the world. The pressure would be insurmountable for some. For Sri Lankan Mahela Jayawardene, it must have felt like just another day in the office.
Jayawardene has hit centuries in a World Cup semi-final match as well as a World Cup finals match. No other player has ever done this, putting the cricketer in rarefied air. Unfortunately, Sri Lanka lost both matches, leaving its star player without a title or trophy.
Most World Cup Trophies In History
With five Cricket World Cup trophies collected, Australia is the most decorated cricket team in the history of the sport. Will they add a sixth soon? During their run of success, Australia also won 34 straight matches over three tournaments, setting an unbreakable record.
Currently, Australia is the 5th ranked team in the world. India takes on the top spot on ICC's list, followed by New Zealand, South Africa, and England. The top ten is rounded out by Sri Lanka, Pakistan, the West Indies, Bangladesh, and Zimbabwe.
The Most Centuries By Far
Before heading off into the cricket sunset, Sachin Tendulkar needed to add one last record to his Hall of Fame resume. He accomplished it by scoring a century, which was his hundredth century in international play.
Tendulkar is the only player to have 100 centuries to his name. In 2013, he was listed to be worth $160 million by Wealth-X. The number makes him the richest cricket player in the world, a title that was well earned from his playing days and personal business investments.
"The Master" Of First-Class Cricket
In the early twentieth century, an English cricketer became the best batsman in the sport's history. Better known as "the Master," Jack Hobbs played 61 Test matches between 1908 and 1930. Even today, he is the best run-scorer and century-maker in first-class cricket. He scored 61,760 runs and 199 centuries.
Hobbs was a renowned fielder and cover pointer. He was fast on his feet and could play many different shots. He also performed many successful partnerships, notably with Herbert Sutcliffe, which remains the most effective partnership for first wicket. In 1953, Hobbs was knighted for his historic cricket career.
The Greatest Cricketer From Sri Lanka
Sanath Jayasuriya is the most celebrated cricket player from Sri Lanka. He made history when he batted with Romesh Kaluwitharana during the One Day International Cricket in 1996. He used a hard-hitting batting strategy that revolutionized how cricketers played worldwide.
Jayasuriya is the only cricketer whose career exceeded 40 years. During that time, he set other world records, such as scoring over 10,000 runs and capturing more than 300 wickets during the One Day International. He is considered as one of the best all-rounders in history, especially in limited-overs cricket.
The Right Bat Made The Fastest ODI In History
Shahid Afridi, popularly known as "Boom Boom," was an international cricket player from Pakistan. In 1996, he scored the world record for the fastest ODI century, but he didn't do so with his own bat. When he traveled to Nairobi, Kenya, Afridi didn't have a proper bat. Waqar Younis replaced it with Sachin Tendulkar's bat.
With that, Afridi scored a 37-ball century, the world record at the time. This record would later be beaten by Corey Anderson and AB de Villiers. However, Afridi has still hit the most sixes in ODI cricket history. He has taken eight Test wickets and over 350 wickets in ODI.
The Trinidad Player Who Set Records
When considering cricketers from the West Indies, Brian Lara stands out. The Trinidad player is one of the best batsmen of all time. He won the highest individual score in first-class cricket at 501 points. He also landed the highest Test match score (28 runs). Fans call Lara "The Prince of Port of Spain," or "The Prince" for short.
Muttiah Muralitharan, considered the greatest Test match bowler ever, claimed that Lara was his toughest opponent. Lara has won many historic games throughout his career, and it was no surprise when he entered the ICC's Hall of Fame in 2012.
A "Never-Say-Die" Player Attitude
Dennis Lillee was one of Australia's most popular cricketers. He became famous for his fiery passion, "never-say-die" attitude, and interactions with fans. By the time he finished his career in 1984, he had achieved the world record for the most Test wickets (355).
But Lillee's career wasn't easy. He began as a speedy bowler but received several stress fractures along his back in 1972. He used an intensive physiotherapy routine to recover. After a few years, he was back on the field and pairing with bowler Jeff Thomson. Lillee entered the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame in 2009.
The Best Bowler From South Africa
Two of cricket's best players hailed from South Africa. One was Shaun Pollock, who became known as a lethal bowler. The bowler hits the ball toward the wickets, which the batter tries to defend. Pollock partnered with Allan Donald, another South African bowler, for many years.
Pollock, nicknamed Polly, took 421 wickets throughout his career. He played 667 first-class games, and he also claimed captaincy in the 2003 Cricket World Cup. Currently, he holds the record for the highest number of test centuries when battling the ninth position.
England's Best All-Rounder
Every cricket country has at least one player that shines through history, and Ian Botham stands out in England. As one of the best all-rounders in history, Botham played first-class for Durham, Somerset, Worcestershire, and Queensland. He was best known for swing bowling, moving the ball in the air while sending it to the batsman.
In 1986, Botham landed the world record for the most Test wickets. He scored 14 centuries with a highest score of 208. He also became the second player in Test history to achieve a "match double"--taking 10 wickets and scoring 100 runs in the same match.
India's Current Team Captain, Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli is the current captain of the India national team and experts call him one of the best batsmen in the world. The 32-year-old began his career in 2002 and became the team's leading run-scorer. Since 2013, he has been the Royal Challengers Bangalore team captain.
Out of all Indian batsmen, Kohli has the highest ODI rating (911 points), T20I rating (897 points), and Test rating (937 points). Before joining the Royal Challengers, he captained the India Under-19s to win the 2008 World Cup. Later, he and his team won the 2011 World Cup.
Pakistan's Greatest Batsman
ESPNcricinfo called Javed Miandad "the greatest batsman Pakistan has ever produced," and he deserves the title. Miandad's unique technique made him one of the finest batsmen ever. Throughout his 21-year career, he captained the Pakistani team, won the 1992 ICC World Cup, and served on the Pakistan Cricket Board.
Miandad is one of two cricketers to attend six World Cup competitions (the other being Sachin Tendulkar). He also holds the world record for the highest number of consecutive half centuries in one day. In 2009, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Abbas Ali Baig Was Kissed On The Field
Abbas Ali Baig was a popular Indian cricketer in the mid-twentieth century. Throughout 21 years, he played in ten Tests and scored 12,367 runs. He was also the first Indian player to be kissed on the field. In 1960, he was playing a Test match against Australia. A young girl ran all the way from the North Stand to kiss him on the cheek.
Baig played for Oxford before he was "summoned" back home to replace an injured Indian cricketer. At 20 years old, he became the youngest Indian player to score a century upon debut.