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Cricket and Victorian England

The game of cricket was closely linked with the English society. The game was played by the rich and the poor.

Cricket the rich played:

  • The rich Cricketers were called ‘amateurs’ or ‘gentlemen’.
  • They played for pleasure and not for money.
  • They played for aristocratic value.
  • The ‘amateurs’ concentrated on batting as it was less strenuous.
  • The rules of the game was always in favour of the batsmen who were ‘amateurs’
  • The team was always led by an ‘amateur’

Cricket the poor played:

  • The poor Cricketers were called ‘professionals’ or ‘ players’.
  • They played for money, which they received from patrons or from the gate collection.
  • The players were poor miners or from the working class.
  • The ‘professionals’ concentrated on bowling as it was more energetic.
  • The rules of the game never favoured the bowlers, who were ‘professionals’.
  • Only in 1930, the English Test Team was led by Len Hutton, a ‘professional’.

Len Hutton



Len Hutton (left) with Don Bradman, one of the all–time greats in Cricket


The game of cricket soon became a symbol Victorian aristocracy. It was viewed as a platform to inculcate the superior values of the British youth.

The game was introduced in Public schools, where the British elite studied.

The School authorities thought that a team game like cricket would inculcate high values in the youth.

  • Discipline
  • Importance of status
  • Skill
  • Honour
  • Leadership qualities..were the values that the Team game was supposed to inculcate

As Britain was expanding its empire, the leaders thought the game of cricket reflected the high ideals of their Nation.

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