England invented many ball sports, including soccer, rugby and, of course, cricket, which dates back to the 16th Century. It was England's national sport by the end of the 18th Century, and the game was expanded to the colonies. England is also responsible for introducing over arm bowling and one-day cricket - however inadvertently, and credit must also be shared with Australia. It also came up with the idea of professional Twenty20 matches - introduced to the counties in 2003 - which went on to take the world by storm. Thus England made other countries to play cricket and hence they are said to be the forerunners of cricket.
For the founder of cricket - and the country that subsequently spread it across the globe - it seems anomalous that England’s men side has yet to win a world event. They have never won any of the three ICC Trophies for limited overs cricket - i.e. the World Cup, the ICC Champions Trophy and the ICC World Twenty20 which still remains as the greatest disappointment for the England Cricket fans. In that respect, England's international success has been limited to Test series. In recent times, its greatest success has been winning Ashes series at home in 2005 and 2009. However, the women’s side has an outstanding recent record winning the ICC Women’s World Cup, the ICC World Twenty20 and the Ashes in 2009. Currently the England team stands sixth in ICC Cricket rankings. There were great captains and legendary players from England. Some of them are Micheal Atherton, Nassar Hussain, Micheal Vaughan and currently Andrew Strauss is the captain of England.
There are 18 first-class counties in the English game. They are split into two divisions of nine for the County Championship, a four-day competition founded in 1889. There have been many different versions of one-day competitions - and many changes of name - but currently there are two tournaments, the two-division Pro40 League, and the 50-over four-group competition, the Friends Provident Trophy, which is also open to Ireland and Scotland. There is also a Twenty20 Cup, based on regions, which is open to the 18 first-class counties.
It's hard to go past Ian Botham when looking for the England great. Grace could bat; Truman could bowl but Botham had it all - fast bowling, destructive batting, useful fielding and an electric personality. He is one of the best all rounders the cricket had ever seen. All those ingredients produced a potent - and memorable - recipe which will forever be encapsulated in the words Headingley '81. Having been dropped from the captaincy, Botham flashed back to take England from almost certain defeat in the Third Ashes Test. Hair flowing, bat too, he produced an outrageously cavalier innings to seal the win from odds of 500-1. His Test record stands at 14 centuries and 383 wickets. Off the field, he became a tireless fundraiser, marching at great pace to generate money for leukaemia charities and finally won a knighthood in 2007.
Women's cricket began in England. The first recorded match was in 1745, contested between "eleven maids of Bramley and eleven maids of Hambleton". It was another century before the first club, White Heather, was founded in 1887. The first national organisation, the Women's Cricket Association (WCA) appeared in 1926, and county cricket included territories such as East Anglia until 1997, when the competition began to look more like the men's as the WCA merged with the ECB. Under the board, the England team also changed almost beyond recognition, thanks to better funding and access to specialist trainers. England, who introduced the World Cup in 1973 through captain Rachael Heyhoe-Flint, has won the coveted trophy three times. And even now they are current ICC Twenty Twenty Champions.
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