Cricket is not just the gentlemen’s game that most of us rave about but also an interesting one with its complexities.
For starters, there are multiple forms of cricket, unlike most other well-known team sports. In cricket, we have the 5-day red-ball game called Test Cricket, existing for more than 100 years now (in regional tournaments or bilateral tour games, the matches are played as a 3-day or 4-day game) and the limited overs cricket, which is played with a white ball. This, at a high level, bifurcates into 50-overs & 20-overs formats, and the game ends in under a day.
There are further variations in the white-ball formats with a truncated form of the game known as the T10, where a side plays 10-over each, and the Hundred, where 100 balls constitute an inning.
This is an overall introduction to the different forms of cricket and now to the difference between the First-Class game and List-A cricket.
What is List-A cricket?
“List-A Cricket” is a term coined for the 50-over game and, sometimes, varies from 40-overs to 60-overs a side game. The match generally finishes in 8 hours or less, with a maximum of 100 overs to be bowled. This includes all the versions of 50-over cricket being hosted and run by the ICC-recognized cricketing bodies worldwide.
For instance, premier national 50-overs tournaments hosted ICC’s full-time members (12 boards) like India, Australia, South Africa, England, New Zealand, West Indies, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Ireland, Zimbabwe, & Bangladesh who all have Test status as well as who have temporary ODI status (8 teams) are considered with List A status and the international one-day games (ODI) played between these sides either in World Cups or qualification tournaments like the ICC Cricket World Cup Challenge League will also come across as a “List A” game.
However, any game between 2 international sides with more than 11 players in a team (like World cup warm-up games) doesn’t get List-A status.
What is First-Class cricket?
First-class, as mentioned earlier, is a format of cricket played as 4 and 5-day games, and any game played over 3 days (like tour games before a bilateral series) is considered a first-class game, provided it is 11 a-side games. The Ranji Trophy, Irani Cup, Duleep Trophy (India), Sheffield Shield (Australia), County Championship (England), Quaid-e-Azam trophy (Pakistan), and Plunket Shield (New Zealand) are among some of the premier red-ball tournaments played in the countries having Test status automatically gain a first-class game.
The Multi-day red ball games hosted by bodies outside the member nations having Test status don’t constitute a first-class game.
Like in the case of the ODIs, the stats of the Test matches played between any two Test-playing nations will be included as a First-class game.
So what is the difference between First-Class and List-A Cricket?
The basic difference between the First-Class and List-A is similar to the difference between a Test match and an ODI game. In a short comparison, First-class status is given to the games that are played over 3-plus days hosted by a Test-playing nation. In contrast, a List-A status is not just limited to the full member Test playing nation while boards which have temporary ODI status and to the matches played in the ICC Cricket World Cup Challenge League and above.
However, both are similar as the games are played between states, provinces, counties, administrative divisions, and Regions of the eligible ICC member nations or between the countries.
Also Read: Difference between a Flipper and Googly