Nearly 500 years ago, cricket developed in rural England out of several stick and ball games. Till the 18th century, cricket bats were curved like hockey sticks. The game was originally played on unfenced land in English villages with no defined boundaries.
The laws of cricket were first written in 1744. These laws specified the dimensions of the stumps and the weight of the ball, but nothing about the shape and size of the bat and the distance of the boundaries from the wicket.
The Marylebone Cricket Club, which was formed in 1787-88 revised the laws, which gradually made cricket a more skillful game. Bowlers now started bowling over-arm instead of the conventional under-arm style.
While many important rules were introduced and changed in the 19th century, cricket matured during the industrial revolution. Timeless test matches were replaced by five-day test matches. Cricketing equipment is still made by hand, using natural pre-industrial material.
The bat, stumps and bails are still made of wood, while the ball is made of leather twine and cork. Cricket developed as a Victorian gentlemanly game that embodied all Englishness. Professionals or players, played cricket for a living, while the gentlemen or amateurs played it for pleasure.
Cricket was also introduced in public schools as part of physical training for boys. It was used to teach them discipline and the importance of hierarchy, and to groom them to run the British Empire in future.
Women from the upper class played a slow-paced game called croquet. It was only by the end of the 19th century that women began to participate in cricket but they were discouraged from participating in competitions.