Cricket, as the saying goes, is a game of glorious uncertainties. The history of the sport and records surrounding it have been nothing short of that. As fans have enjoyed its evolving nature, it has thrived and grown.

Over 150 years ago, the first international cricket match was played. Since then, the sport has flourished, and its unique records have kept interest thriving among statisticians and fans. Women’s cricket is now spreading its wings and helping take the sport to new countries.

Here are some facts about the International Cricket Council (ICC) and cricket that not many may know enough about:

How many member nations does ICC have?

ICC has 104 member nations, of which are 12 test match playing countries. They include Afghanistan and Ireland, who were given full member status in 2017. Associate members and affiliate members also add up to make up the 104 member nations. Cricket is established and played professionally in 92 countries around the world. The member nations across the different regions of the world can be found here.

When were the earliest recorded cricket matches played?

The first recorded international cricket match was played in the 1840s in New York- the game was USA versus Canada. In comparison, the first recorded international football match happened nearly three decades later. The laws for cricket were first written during 1744 and amended subsequently in 1774. The Marylebone Cricket Club was founded in 1787 and the Lord’s Cricket Ground was also opened the same year.

The first test match was played between March 15-19, 1877 at Melbourne Cricket Ground and Australia won the test match by 45 runs. Incidentally, the Centenary Test between the two countries also ended up with Australia winning by 45 runs.

Hotbeds for football and nurseries for cricket

Argentina. Brazil. Chile. Cayman Islands. Mexico. Panama. Peru Turks & Caicos Islands. Hungary. Israel. Portugal. Spain. Turkey.

With 16 member nations across the Americas and another 34 among European nations, the sport is expanding into new homes with a growing following. All these are member nations of the ICC, and cricket has been established and thriving in these countries. Several of them have been organising T20 tournaments for years now.

Cricket also has a growing following in Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Fiji and several other countries in the Asia Pacific region.

What prompted ODI cricket to come into existence?

 During the New Year test at Melbourne in 1971, bad weather threatened a third consecutive draw between Australia and England. The authorities were faced with a financial loss. On the fifth day of the game when no play had been possible, the first ODI between the two teams was organised.

Four years later, the ICC Cricket World Cup was organised.

The first domestic ODI tournament started in England in 1963. In Australia, a similar tournament had been initiated in the 1969-70 season.

How many nations play T20 cricket?

All the 104 member nations of ICC are recognised to play T20 cricket. Here is the list of the top ranking T20 teams in the world.

T20 first started at the turn of the century. The first ICC T20 World Cup was held in 2007 in South Africa and has been a regular feature on the cricket calendar. A typical T20 match lasts about three hours and is very popular with spectators on ground and television viewers. T20 tournaments are now regularly held in at least 25 countries, including Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Kenya, Netherlands, Ireland and others. Several countries have more than one T20 tournament.

Interesting facts about women’s cricket

The first Women’s World Cup was held in 1973 in England, two years before the men’s event. The first women’s Asia Cup was held in 2004 and India emerged the winner. Sajida Shah of Pakistan represented her country at age 12 and took seven wickets giving away four runs, the best ever bowling figures in women’s ODI cricket.

The rankings of women’s teams are regularly followed by fans.

A test match over 10 days, which ended in a draw!

England and South Africa played a test match in March 1939 that lasted 10 days and finally ended in a draw. England had to make 696 runs to win the match in their second innings, but could reach only 654/5 by the end of the 10th day. The two teams agreed to a draw after England had to ensure they were in time to catch the ship back home!

Who conceded the highest number of runs in one over in a first-class match?

The names of Malcolm Nash and Tilak Raj crop up in association with the highest number of runs conceded in an over in a first-class match. They had conceded 36 runs when batsmen hit them for six sixes in an over. But the highest number of runs conceded in an over in a first-class match is 77. Bert Vance gave away the runs in one over that lasted 17 balls. It included eight sixes and five fours.