First-class cricket is an official classification of the highest standard international or domestic matches in the sport of cricket. A first-class match is of three or more days' scheduled duration between two sides of eleven players each and is officially adjudged to be worthy of the status by virtue of the standard of the competing teams. Matches must allow for the teams to play two innings each although, in practice, a team might only play one innings or none at all.
First-class cricket (which for this purpose includes all "important matches" played before 1895), along with historical single wicket and the modern limited overs forms of List A and Twenty20, is one of the highest standard forms of cricket. The origin of the term "first-class cricket" is unknown but it was used loosely before it acquired an official status, effective in 1895, following a meeting of leading English clubs in May 1894. Subsequently, at a meeting of the Imperial Cricket Conference (ICC) in May 1947, it was formally defined on a global basis. A significant omission of the ICC ruling was any attempt to define first-class cricket retrospectively. This has left historians, and especially statisticians, with the problem of how to categorise earlier matches, especially those played before 1895 in Great Britain. The solution put forward by the Association of Cricket Statisticians and Historians (ACS) is to classify all pre-1895 matches of a high standard as important matches.
Test cricket, although the highest standard of cricket, is statistically a form of first-class cricket, although the term "First-class" is commonly used to refer to domestic competition only. A player's first-class statistics include any performances in Test matches....LESS