Cricket has emerged stronger and more diverse than ever before as it coped with "substantial challenges" over the century by gone, observes the International Cricket Council. ICC CEO Haroon Lorgat said when the two-day ICC History Conference looked back at the past 100 years of the game as part of its centenary year celebrations, it was clear that the sport was "resilient, strong and still developing".
"Exploring the history of the ICC and cricket over the past 100 years has been a fascinating and educational experience. What I believe it has shown us is that cricket is resilient, strong and still developing," Lorgat said at the end of the conference.
"The conference showed that our great sport has faced challenges and some of those challenges have been substantial. However, it also showed that cricket has always coped with those challenges and has adapted to the extent that it is now stronger and more diverse than ever before," he said.
"We have three formats, the ICC has more members than ever before 104 of them and within those members there are more people playing the game than at any time in our history," he added.
Reflecting on the gathering, which had leading administrators, players, academics, historians, statisticians and the media as speakers, Lorgat highlighted the endurance of the game.
"It illustrated the enduring importance of the game way beyond the boundary rope and as stakeholders we have to ensure it retains that importance as we take guard for our second century," he said.
The experts included ex-ICC President Ehsan Mani, the organisation's first Chief Executive David Richards and Don Neely, the President of New Zealand Cricket, as well as former international greats Bishan Bedi, Angus Fraser, Sourav Ganguly, Clive Lloyd and Bob Willis.
Women's cricket past and present was represented by former England captain Rachael Heyhoe-Flint, who lifted the inaugural women's world cup in 1973, as well as current captain Charlotte Edwards and her team-mate Ebony Rainford-Brent, the latter duo part of the squad that holds the ICC Women's World Cup, the ICC World Twenty20 trophy and The Ashes.