The game of cricket is widely believed to have originated in the sixteenth century in England, but according to newly discovered evidence, the gentleman's sport may have its roots in France.
The English have long been proud and self-proclaimed owners of the bat-and-ball game, which, with 120 million players, is the second biggest sport in the world behind football. But their claim is now in jeopardy as new historical evidence out of France suggests that cricket was played in the village of Liettres in 1478, almost a century before its supposed invention in Britain.
The discovery was made upon analysis of the contents of a letter found in the French national archives. Written by a man called Estiavannet, the letter was written to King Louis XI to grieve a killing, which the author observed on a cricket field.
As per Estiavannet, he came across some folks playing a strange sport which involved “boules” or balls and a wooden post or “criquet."
His intrusion on the field of play was not well-received as a player shouted: "Why are you staring at our ball game?" A scuffle broke out and someone ended up dying because of the ensuing violence.
This is what made Estiavannet pen a letter of grievance to the king of the time.
Mind you, the earliest cricketing reference in English history is from 1550 when the game was played in Guildford, Surrey. It has long been sold as the first documented instance of cricket being played, but if Estiavannet's letter is to be believed, the history books will need a critical update.
As the supposed creators of the game, England has always enjoyed a privileged position in cricketing matters even though their on-field performances have never warranted the attention it gets.