International cricket tours of Great Britain

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International cricket tours of Great Britain began in 1868 when a team of Australian Aboriginals visited. In 1878, the first tour by a first-class Australian team took place. Tours of England up to the First World War tended to occur every two or three seasons with Australia at that time the most frequent visitor. As Test cricket expanded, the number of tours increased till, by the start of the Second World War, there was one visiting team playing Test cricket against England every season.

The last time that an English season featured no Test cricket, apart from wartime, was in 1927 when, although New Zealand visited, they had not yet begun to play Tests. A technical exception to this statement is 1970 when South Africa cancelled a scheduled tour and were replaced by a Rest of the World XI which played a series of then official, but later unofficial, Tests against England.

In recent years, it has become usual for two teams to visit England in the same season and less of a tendency to actually "tour" the country as the number of matches played by tourists against the county sides has been drastically reduced in the interests of staging more limited overs internationals. Australia remains the biggest attraction because of the "Ashes", which is Test cricket's most prestigious series.