When looking at a cricket player’s profile, you may notice that statisticians categorize player statistics according to the type of matches played. For example, international matches are recorded separately from matches played on domestic circuits. Currently, there are a maximum of six match types on a player profile. However, there are only three primary categories of cricket matches:
a) First class matches
b) One day matches
c) Twenty 20 matches
Cricket statisticians extrapolate international records from these three basic forms of cricket to provide additional player statistics. Therefore, there are virtually six types of cricket matches:
i) Test matches
ii) First class matches
iii) One Day Internationals
iv) One-day matches
v) Twenty 20 Internationals
vi) Twenty 20 matches
To avoid confusion, cricket fans must consider that while international matches are specific types of cricket matches, they fall under the three basic types of cricket matches.
Cricket pundits consider Test matches as the pinnacle of all forms of cricket. However, Test matches are First-class matches that are played by international teams. In modern cricket, Test matches are five-day matches that require a minimum of 90 overs per day. There are two innings per side. A team’s innings is over once they declare their innings or are bowled out.
Throughout cricket history, Test matches have been played without time restrictions- in what were “Timeless Tests”. The ICC sanctions Test matches- a match between Test sides may be stripped of Test status and reduced to First-class status by the ICC. One of the oddities of the sporting world, Test matches can end in either an outright result or a draw.
First class matches
First class matches include Test matches and domestic matches played in Test-playing countries. Matches on the English County circuit and all other domestic circuits (e.g. Australia, Pakistan, West Indies) fall under this category. Competitive domestic First class matches are normally played over four days. However, certain domestic matches can have a five-day span or a three-day span (usually warm-ups with international teams). Cricket authorities in Test playing nations have the authority to sanction First class matches.
One Day matches
One-day matches are limited overs matches that cricket teams play over the course of one day. One-day matches normally require 50-overs but can be played over 40 overs as well. However, one day matches require a minimum number of overs (20) in each innings to constitute a match. Matches of this type normally last no longer than 8 hours.
ODIs are one-day matches that teams that have ODI status play. Teams that have ODI status are all Test-playing countries and some Affiliate nations who have earned that status. The International Cricket Council (ICC) also accords ODI status to ODIs played between teams at the ICC Cricket World Cup (regardless of ODI status) and in special circumstances as well (Like the Super Series). When ODIs began in the early 1970s, 60-overs per side constituted an ODI. That later changed to 50-overs per innings.
Twenty 20 matches
The newest form of cricket is a modification of one-day matches. They require teams to play a maximum of 20-overs per innings. Sometimes, rain affected T20 matches are further abbreviated. T20 matches are played over the course of approximately three hours.
Twenty 20 Internationals
T20 Internationals are T20 matches played between teams that have ODI status. Matches by teams without ODI status that are played in the ICC World T20 Championship.
Not all forms of cricket played are First class, one-day or T20 matches. Cricket is also played at club level under the auspices of territorial bodies. Cricket boards do not recognize as official cricket matches but they are often parallels of official cricket matches. One should even find independent records of these unofficial matches.
For instance, the West Indies has different independent territories. Club cricket is played in various countries. The best club cricketers in Trinidad will vie for selection to the Trinidad and Tobago team (First class/One-day/T20). From there, a cricketer can hope to gain selection to the West Indies to play Tests, ODIs and Twenty20 Internationals.