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The sport of cricket has a known history beginning in the late 16th century. Having originated in south-east England, it became the country’s national sport in the 18th century and has developed globally in the 19th and 20th centuries. International matches have been played since 1844 and Test cricket began, retrospectively recognised, in 1877. Cricket is the world’s second most popular spectator sport after association football. Governance is by the International Cricket Council (ICC) which has over one hundred members although only twelve play Test cricket.
Cricket was introduced to North America via the English colonies in the 17th century, probably before it had even reached the north of England. In the 18th century it arrived in other parts of the globe. It was introduced to the West Indies by colonists and to India by British East India Company mariners in the first half of the century. It arrived in Australia almost as soon as colonisation began in 1788. New Zealand and South Africa followed in the early years of the 19th century.