Origin of the Name of the Sport Cricke

Today I found out the origin of the name of the sport Cricket.

The name is originally thought to either have been derived from the Old French “criquet”, meaning “goal, post, or stick” or from the Middle Dutch “kricke”, meaning “stick” or “staff”.  The latter Middle Dutch derivation from “kricke” is generally considered more likely due to the strong medieval trade connections between south-east England and Flanders, which belonged to the Duchy of Burgundy.

One more obscure possible source was proposed by European language expert Heiner Gillmeister of Bonn University.  He proposed that the name cricket comes from the Middle Dutch phrase for hockey, “met de krik ket sen”, which means “with the stick, chase”.  Early cricket was played with a stick that resembled more a hockey stick than the modern day cricket bat.  He also proposed that cricket was Flemish in origins.

The game of cricket itself is thought to have been played as early as the 13th century, with the first direct reference to it appearing in 1598 in a court case which referenced a game called “krekett” (sometimes spelled “creckett”) being played at the Royal Grammar School in England in 1550.

Cricket gradually grew in popularity until, in the 18th century, it was named the official sport of England, being the favored leisure activity among the privileged class.

Bonus Facts:

  • Certain types of cricket matches can last as many as 5 days; these matches are known as “Test cricket” and are considered the highest form of the game.
  • Cricket is considered to be the world’s second most popular sport after Association Football (also known as soccer); it is played popularly in over 104 countries.
  • As mentioned previously, cricket was originally played with a stick that more or less looked like a hockey stick.  Bowlers, at the time, typically kept the ball on the ground or at least skimmed the ground, instead of pitching the ball as they do today.  As a response to the change towards pitching and bouncing the ball, in the late 18th century, the straight bat was introduced and is still used to this day.
  • The greatest batsman of all time, statistically, was Australian Don Bradman, who played professionally in the 1920s and 1930s.  Bradman’s career Test batting average of 99.94 has been widely thought to be the greatest achievement in any major sport.  To put that in context, no other player’s career Test batting average has ever exceeded 61, among players who’ve played at least 20 Test innings.   In baseball, that would be like someone going out and batting well over.400 for their entire career.
  • Baseball is no longer popularly thought to have derived directly from cricket, but rather from rounders, which was another popular child’s game in England that made its way to the United States.  Rounders eventually became something called “town-ball”, in America, and evolved from there into Baseball, which originally had some striking differences to modern day baseball, but on the whole was more or less the same game seen today.

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