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A cap is an appearance for a select team, such as a school, county or international team in sports. The term dates from the practice in the United Kingdommarker of awarding a cap (meaning an item of headgear) to every player in an international match of Association Football. In the early days of football the concept of each team wearing a set of matching shirts had not been universally adopted, with the result that a team's players would often take the field in a variety of different coloured shirts, and each side would distinguish itself from the other by wearing a specific sort of cap or other headgear. An early illustration of the first international football match between England and Scotland in 1872 shows the Scottish players wearing cowls and the English wearing a variety of school caps. The practice was first approved on 10 May 1886 for association football, after a proposal made by N. Lane Jackson, founder of the Corinthians:

That all players taking part for England in future international matches be presented with a white silk cap with red rose embroidered on the front.
These to be termed International Caps.


The act of awarding a cap is now international and is applied to other sports.

Actual caps are not usually given any more (caps for friendly matches still exist, and each player gets one cap per international competition), but the term "cap" for an international or other appearance has been retained. Thus, a cap is awarded for each game played and so a player who has played x games, for the team, is said to have been capped x times or have won x caps.

Association football

The world record holder for the highest number of international caps on 24 January 2006 is American Kristine Lilly, who has over 300 caps in women's association football. In men's association football, the record is held by Mohamed Al-Deayea from Saudi Arabia who has 181 caps. The first footballer to win 100 international caps was Billy Wright of Wolverhampton Wanderers and Englandmarker. Wright went on to appear 105 times for England, 90 of them as captain. England's most capped player of all time is Peter Shilton, with the goalkeeper notching up 125 appearances for England during his playing career – during which he also made over 1000 league appearances at club level.

Records

Some current leading holders of association football caps (Women as of 26 March 2008 except for USA and Germany international players, Men as of 08 September 2009) are:

Men



Women



Totals for USA and Germany players are up to date as of 17 December 2008.

Cricket

In cricket, there are two types of caps. Firstly, there is the international type, as described above. Some countries also award a domestic type generally known as a "county cap". The latter system is most commonly applied in Englishmarker county cricket. Most counties do not automatically award caps to players on their first appearance; instead, they have to be "earned" through good performances. Indeed, one can play at the highest domestic level for several years, and have a quite significant career in first-class cricket, without ever winning a cap.

Records

The world record for the number of caps in Test cricket is held by the former Australian captain Steve Waugh who has 168. In One Day International cricket the current record holder is Sachin Tendulkar of India with 417.

See List of Test cricket records and List of ODI cricket records for further details.

Rugby league

In rugby league, this record is held by former New Zealand captain, Ruben Wiki, who has 55.

Rugby union

In rugby union, 11 players have reached 100 or more international caps as of 28 November 2009. Players still active at Test level are in bold type.

Notes and references



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