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Why is cricket called a gentleman’s game?

Cricket is nicknamed as Gentlemen’s Game: If it was a gentlemen’s game, was it ever a players’ game? For years, probably till the Second World War brought a bit more egality into the world, the English (United Kingdom) divided its cricketers into gentlemen and players. The former were the amateurs, men generally from a privileged background who had gone to the best schools and then on to Oxford or Cambridge, men with independent means who didn’t need an income from the game they played for enjoyment. Players were the lesser cricketers, not because of any deficiency in talent, but because they came from the working classes.

They were professionals, in an era where the term was pejorative, so they didn’t have access to the gentlemen’s better-appointed dressing rooms. Not just that, they walked into the ground through a separate gate, while the gentlemen walked out through another reserved for them.

Why is cricket called a gentleman’s game?

Rajeshwari Singh of New Delhi adds:

Although the first reference to cricket appeared in the 13th century, the game only gained popularity in the 17th century, when English aristocrats started playing it. They decreed that cricket would be played in ‘a gentlemanly manner’, which means no sledging, cheating, body line bowling, temper tantrums or excessive appealing. If the batsman knew he was out, he should ‘walk’ even if the umpire decided otherwise.

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