Light, Rob (2005) ‘Ten Drunks and a Parson’?: The Victorian Professional Cricketer Reconsidered. Sport in History, 25 (1). pp. 60-76. ISSN 1746-0263
Abstract

By focusing largely upon the West Riding of Yorkshire and its contemporary local press, this paper examines the role of the professional player in nineteenth century cricket. It examines how they developed careers in cricket, as the sport's popularity grew on a local, national and international basis. These broadening opportunities are related to the predominance of professionals before the 1870s, when they contributed much to the way the sport was to subsequently develop. The paper then discusses why cricket's historiography has commonly viewed early professionals only as self-interested and ill disciplined individuals. This is related to the predominance of amateur values in cricket, which meant that, although tolerated, the sport's professionals were subjugated by a set of restrictive regulations between the 1870s and the 1960s. Finally, it is suggested that by looking beyond cricket's mainstream nineteenth century source material, a more accurate assessment of the game's development can be made.

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