How Many Countries Play Cricket

Cricket, a sport with deep roots in colonial history, is played across the globe with varying degrees of enthusiasm and seriousness. As of July 2023, the International Cricket Council (ICC), the governing body for international cricket, boasts a membership of 108 countries. This includes 12 Full Members, who are privileged to play Test matches, and 96 Associate Members.

The Full Members include nations such as Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, West Indies, and Zimbabwe.

The journey to becoming a Full Member is a challenging one. For instance, Sri Lanka had to wait until 1981 to be elected as a Full Member, while South Africa was re-elected in 1991 after its previous membership was revoked due to apartheid. Zimbabwe and Bangladesh were elected in 1992 and 2000, respectively. More recently, in June 2017, Ireland and Afghanistan were granted Full Member status, marking a significant milestone in their cricketing histories.

However, not all countries share this passion for cricket. Despite its popularity in other parts of the world, nations like Russia, China, Switzerland, Japan, and France have never taken the game seriously. This could be attributed to various factors, including cultural differences, lack of colonial ties to cricket-playing nations, or simply preference for other sports.