“Cricket is an uncertain game” (or “Cricket is a game of uncertainty”) is a popular cricket saying that dates to at least 1848. “Cricket is a game of glorious uncertainties”—with the term “glorious” added—has been cited in print since at least 1835 and was the original form of the saying.
“But cricket is an uncertain game, and is never lost till won” was printed in The Era (London, UK) on August 6, 1848. “Cricket is, at the best, a very uncertain game” was printed in the Leeds (UK) Times on September 8, 1855. “Cricket is such an uncertain game” was printed in Baily’s Magazine of Sports and Pastimes (London, UK) in July 1871. “Cricket is an uncertain game” was printed in the Sporting Gazette (London, UK) on June 22, 1872.
Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of eleven players on a field at the centre of which is a 20-metre (22-yard) pitch with a wicket at each end, each comprising two bails balanced on three stumps. The batting side scores runs by striking the ball bowled at the wicket with the bat, while the bowling and fielding side tries to prevent this and dismiss each player (so they are “out”). Means of dismissal include being bowled, when the ball hits the stumps and dislodges the bails, and by the fielding side catching the ball after it is hit by the bat, but before it hits the ground. When ten players have been dismissed, the innings ends and the teams swap roles. The game is adjudicated by two umpires, aided by a third umpire and match referee in international matches. They communicate with two off-field scorers who record the match’s statistical information.
6 August 1848, The Era (London, UK), pg. 5, col. 2:
But cricket is an uncertain game, and is never lost till won.
12 September 1852, The Era (London, UK), “Cricket,” pg. 6, col. 2:
Sheffield has certainly had the worst of it this time; in another bout the reverse may happen, for cricket is a game beset with uncertainties.
8 September 1855, Leeds (UK) Times, “Sporting Intelligence—Cricket,” pg. 5, col. 6:
Cricket is, at the best, a very uncertain game; ...
27 September 1856, Leeds (UK) Times, “Sporting Intelligence—Cricket,” pg. 8, col. 2:
Although the chances are now against our townsmen, yet it must not be forgotten that cricket is a proverbially uncertain game, and that the match is yet far from won.
July 1871, Baily’s Magazine of Sports and Pastimes (London, UK), pg. 210:
Cricket is such an uncertain game, and itinerant celebrities are so very fanciful in their peregrinations.
22 June 1872, Sporting Gazette (London, UK), “Cricket Notes,” pg. 441, col. 3:
Cricket is an uncertain game, and Sussex may yet be beaten by Surrey, but we have written on the assumption that she will not.
25 June 1875, Sheffield and Rotherham (UK) Independent, “Cricket,” pg. 4, col. 5:
... but cricket is a very uncertain game, and to-day matters may assume a different phase.
30 May 1879, Sheffield and Rotherham (UK) Independent, “Cricket,” pg. 4, col. 5:
Our correspondent should remember that cricket is a very uncertain game, and that the colts engaged in the Marylebone match may be more successful next time.—CRICKET EDITOR.
26 September 1879, Philadelphia (PA) Inquirer, pg. 4, col. 1:
THAT CRICKET is an uncertain game was proved again yesterday when the eleven gentlemen of Philadelphia entered the field against the eelven gentlemen of Ireland.
23 June 1886, The Oxford Magazine, pg. 272, col. 2:
But cricket is a proverbially uncertain game.
12 June 1907, Punch of the London Charivari, pg. 416, col. 1:
Our Sporting Mathematicians.
As has been pointed out before now, cricket is an uncertain game, full of amazing coincidences.
Papers Read Before the Site and Relic Society of Germantown
Germantown Historical Society
Volume 1, Issues 2-10
They know their proverb “Cricket is an uncertain Game.”
People switched Tv sets after RR lost three wickets..but as people say Cricket is an uncertain game,RR proved it right… #RCBvsRR
9:07 PM - 11 May 2014
Replying to @SirJadeja
Does it really matter anymore? Cricket is a game of uncertainty, no one can tell anything until the last ball being bowled. ??
3:03 PM - 30 Apr 2019
World Cup 2019: South Africa - A body without a soul
June 3, 2019
With them having to face India in their next game, it will be a challenging task for the Proteas, but as the old saying goes, “Cricket is an uncertain game”.