Changes through restructuring and reformation could be a precursor to Tanzania not wallowing in Division 5 of the Associates` table of the ICC

Dar es Salaam. The game of cricket has undergone evolutionary changes over the years. Its rich tapestry of about 417 years has watershed events which have seen cricket nurture beyond the Commonwealth of nations.

Whether cricket enthusiasts or for that matter the ICC will succeed in ushering the game in countries like Japan, China, Vietnam will continue to invoke the policymakers. With the coffers of ICC constantly replenished with income generated from the advertising industry, there is every possibility that the financial propping of ICC can bring about introduction of the game even in the communist ‘orbit’ of nations.

Democratic and communist nations meeting at a common cricketing venue as in the Olympic Games would give cricket a shot in the arm.

That would be another landmark this generation if not the next, may witness.

The word cricket, found its mention in A worlde of Wordes, which is Italian- English dictionary compiled by John Florio in 1598. The first county match in England took place between Surrey and Kent in 1709. 1744 saw the shaping of written laws of cricket. In 1787 Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) was formed.

In the Surrey versus 13 of England match in 1795 the first LBW decision was recorded. The first Gentlemen v Players match took place in 1806. Thomas Lord opened the Lord`s cricket ground in 1814. Oxford and Cambridge played their first match in 1827. In 1844 the first official international match between USA and Canada took place in New York. The first Yorkshire Lancashire match, known as the ‘Roses’ match, was in 1849. In 1859 the first English team to tour overseas visited US and Canada. 1864 had the overarm bowling made legal and seeing the first publication of John Wisden`s The Cricketers’ Almanack. In 1877 the first Test match took place between England and Australia at Melbourne.

The first Test in England against Australia was at the Oval in 1880. 1882 gave rise to Australia`s first victory in England and the Ashes.

South Africa played its first Test match in 1882. The County Championship was officially constituted in 1890. Number of deliveries in an over increased from 5 to 6 in 1900. In 1928 West Indies played its first test match.

New Zealand`s first Test match was in 1930. India`s first Test match was played in 1932. In the same year Hedley Verity, the Yorkshire spinner, took 10 wickets for 10 runs against Nottinghamshire.

The controversial bodyline tour of Australia by England occurred in 1932 – 33. At Brisbane, in 1934, the first women`s Test match was played between Australia and England. In 1948 the first 5 day Tests took place in England. Pakistan`s first Test match was in 1952.

England’s off spinner Jim Laker took 19 for 90 against Australia of old Trafford in 1956. The first tied Test match was between West Indies and Australia at Brisbane in 1956. Frank Worell and Richnie Benaud became life long friends. The distinction between amateurs and professionals was done away with in English cricket in 1963. This year also saw the inception of the Gillette Cup, the first major one day tournament in England.

In 1968 Garfield sobers was the first batman to hit 6 sixes in a single over while playing for Notts against Glamorgan South Africa was excluded from international cricket following the D` Oliviera affair.

The first one day international match took place at Melbourne between England and Australia in 1971. In 1973 the first Women`s World Cup was played in England. The first Prudential World Cup was staged by England in 1975.

The centenary Test between England and Australia was played in 1977. Kerry Packer, the Australian media tycoon who was to revolutionize cricket`s instruments in the years ahead launched the World Series cricket in 1977. The cricketing world owes it to Packer for metamorphosing the scene and setting of cricket.

Graham Yallop was the first player to wear protective helmet in a Test match in 1978. Australia brought to a halt its 8 ball overs in 1980. In 1982 Sir Lanka played its first test match. Zimbabwe got into the Test arena in 1992.

Brian Lara scored 501 not out for Warwickshire against Durham in 1994. After 211 years MCC allowed women as its members in 1998. 2000 saw Hansie Cronje, the South African captain banned from cricket for match fixing in its first test match in 2000. Also, County championship split into divisions with promotion and relegation.

Brian Lara was the first to score 400 in a Test innings against England in 2004. Pakistan forfeited the Oval Test after being accused of ball tampering in 2006. Andrew Strauss became Shane Warne`s 700th Test scalp. South Africa staged the first ICC World T 20 in 2007. In 2013 Sachin Tendulkar announced his retirement from cricket after his 200th Test match. ICC grants one day International status to its associate and affiliate members based on their success in the world cricket league The top six teams are awarded one day International Status which allows associate and affiliate teams to be eligible to play the full members and play official ODI cricket. The associate teams who currently hold ODI status are: Ireland, Afghanistan, Scotland, United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong and Papua New Guinea. Associates that have twenty 20 International status by virtue of having ODI status are Afghanistan, Hong Kong, Ireland, Scotland, Papua New Guinea and UAE.

In 2008 the ICC World Cricket division 4 league had taken place in Dar es Salaam. Teams which had taken part then were Afghanistan, Fiji, Hong Kong, Italy, Jersey and Tanzania. Afghanistan Cricket Board and Hong Kong cricket Association need to be commended for their meteoric rise in achieving T20 and ODI status.

Afghanistan’s story of cricket is remarkable for surmounting odds. Eight years ago both these countries had rubbed shoulders with Tanzania. While Hong Kong and Afghanistan have, Tanzania has slided down the ladder to division 5 of the Associate members of ICC.

While Tanzania falls within the ambit of Directorate of Sports, the National Sport Council can always be expected to act as an ombudsman to bring about a radical overhaul of the existing regulatory framework concerning cricket in Tanzania. Changes through restructuring and reformation could be a precursor to Tanzania not wallowing in Division 5 of the Associates` table of the ICC. That itself would be a watershed event for cricket in Tanzania.

John F. Kennedy may not have played cricket but his sagacity comes to the fore when saying:

THE ONE UNCHANGEABLE CERTAINTY IS THAT NOTHING IS CERTAIN OR UNCHANGEABLE.

With change, the hubris cumulated over the years with ‘entrenchment in office’ will bring about a positive reaping effect.

Dr. K.S Gupta is a former International cricket umpire. He is engaged in Private clinical dental practice