'Stokes ODI retirement is England's gain in test cricket' - Buttler
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Jesus turned water into wine, fed the 5,000 and - as it turns out - loved a game of cricket in his spare time.

Experts have claimed that Jesus was the first person to ever play cricket and he used his abilities to walk on water and field the ball.

Historians Tom Holland, Dominic Sandbrook and John Hotten from the Rest Is History podcast are the ones who put forward the theory.

According to them, the son of God was playing cricket 2,000 years before the game is said to have been invented.

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Apparently it relates to a gospel which was previously unseen, and it could change the way people talk about the history of the game.

While talking about the first recorded player of the sport on the podcast, Holland said: "Do you know who it was? It's a big name. It's Jesus.

Was Jesus the first ever cricketer? Getty

"Shall I tell you what Armenian professor Dr Abraham Terian thinks it came from? He found in the manuscript library of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem an eighth century copy of a much earlier gospel which described the infancy of Jesus.”

According to the text, Jesus played a game very similar to the sport we know today as cricket.

"And in this gospel Jesus is described as playing something faintly similar to cricket, i.e people throwing balls and he's hitting it - and the catch is Jesus, when he chases the ball, can run onto the sea."

The Gospel is said to translate as: "He (Jesus) would take the boys to the seashore and, carrying the playing ball and the club, he would go over the waves of the sea as though he was playing on a frozen surface, hitting the playing ball.

"And watching him, the boys would scream and say: 'Watch the child Jesus, what he does over the waves of the sea!' Many would gather there and, watching him, would be amazed."

It’s widely believed that cricket began in the 16th century in south east England. The game grew in the centuries that followed and the first ever international test match was played in 1877.

These days, it’s the second most widely watched sport in the world behind football.

England will be without Jonny Bairstow in the third testShaun Botterill/Getty Images

Whether or not it’s true that Jesus was the first ever cricketer, it’s definitely true that England could use someone with his skills to open the batting when they face South Africa in the third test of the series on Thursday…

Ben Stokes’s side go into the game 1-1 in the series after a convincing win against Dean Elgar’s side last month.

They’ll be without Jonny Bairstow, after the 32-year-old was ruled out of the game and the upcoming T20 World Cup after suffering an injury while playing golf.

Bairstow has been in the form of his life this summer under the new Test regime of coach Brendon McCullum and captain Stokes, but he’ll now be replaced by fellow Yorkshireman Harry Brook.

He’ll be getting a little help from England batsmen Ollie Pope, who has made 28 Test appearances since facing India in his 2018 debut, and is hoping to act as a mentor to the debutante.

He said: “For someone like Brooky, I know the challenges international cricket can bring.

“He’s definitely someone I’ll chat to. It’s not me saying how to bat, it’s just saying what I found has worked for me over my time so far as an England cricketer and the times when it hasn’t necessarily worked for me, because it hasn’t always been smooth sailing and I’m sure it won’t be going forward.

Cricket was founded in England in the late 16th centuryMichael Steele/Getty Images

“It’s just almost learning how to deal with the good and the bad of Test cricket. Not that it’s bad, just the lower phases when you’re struggling for your own form and as a team. It’s only things you can feed off and give advice to for someone like Brooky coming through.”

Pope is also hopeful that the team togetherness will help Brooks fit into the side, as the team fosters a embraces atmosphere in the dressing room.

“In the car on the way in I was thinking this is the most fun I have had in an England shirt,” he said.

“We had a week off and I was chatting to (Jack) Leach, it was, ‘I can’t wait to see the lads, train, see what this week has in store’. Hopefully it’s a good week but it’s a bit of a journey we’re on as well.

“We’re such a close group at the minute, we’ve toured a lot together as this core squad. I feel like it’s the closest we’ve been. We spend way more time with each other off the pitch, we play a lot more golf together and we just hang around each other a lot more."

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