WG Grace, born July 18, 1848, is regarded as the game’s one of the greatest cricketer. He was an amateur English cricketer who played for a record 44 first class season. He was the man who modified cricket to shape it the way it is played today. WG Grace was a right handed batsman & bowled right arm leg break. He didn’t play not only cricket but also other sports. He was a champion 440-yard hurdler as a young man and played football for the Wanderers. In later life, he played golf, lawn bowls and curling. And he was a doctor by profession. Therefore he was nominally an amateur cricketer but he is said to have made more money from his cricketing activities than any professional cricketer at his time.
Stats & Facts :
He made his debut in first class cricket on 22nd June 1865 at the age of 16 years 339 days in a 3 days match for Gentleman of South against Players of South at Kennington Oval.
On 6 September, 1880 he made his test debut against Australia at the same ground Kennington Oval. He played 22 tests all of them against Australia.
WG Grace in Numbers
TEST CAREER :
Longest FC Career
42 Years 305 Days – this is the career span of the doctor which is 3rd longest career in first class cricket history. He made his debut in 1865 & played his last match in 1908. List of longest FC careers (The list shows careers of over 40 years)
- CK Nayudu : 47 Years 58 Days
- J Sherman : 42 Years 311 Days
- WG Grace : 42 Years 305 Days
- Lord Harris : 40 Years 327 Days
- E Smith : 40 Years 6 Days
WG Grace : Run Machine
# He was the first to score 300 in a first class innings. He scored 344 for Gentlemen of MCC against Kent in 1876 at Canterbury. He was also the only player to score 3 triple hundreds before World War I era.
# First to score 50,000 runs in First Class cricket history. He is also the 5th highest run scorer in first class history.
- JB Hobbs – 61769
- FE Woolley – 58959
- EH Hendren – 57611
- CP Mead – 55061
- WG Grace – 54211
# First to score 100 first class hundreds – as mentioned before he had scored 124 hundreds which is 11th most in the list of scoring most FC hundreds. In the May, 1895 he became the first player to score 100 centuries.
# He was the second player after Charles Bannerman to score 100 in test debut. He scored 152 & 9* in his debut test. He also added 120 for the second wicket stand with Bunny Lucas, which was the first hundred-run partnership in test history.
# In the season 1876, WG Grace scored 839 runs at 419.50 in the span of 8 days which includes first ever 300(344), 177 for Gloucestershire against Nottinghamshire; and 318 not out for Gloucestershire against Yorkshire.
# England & Australia in 1880 at The Oval : 3 Grace brothers WG, EM & GF Grace played together, first instance where 3 brothers playing in a same test match.
# WG Grace had played 43 matches with his son WG Grace(Jun.) which is 3rd most for a father-son duo & played 4 matches with his son CB Grace. He also played with both of his sons in a same first class match for 2 times.
Most matches as a father-son duo (The list shows only 30+ matches)
- J Small – J Small : 49 matches
- WG Quaife – BW Quaife : 48 matches
- WG Grace – WG Grace(Jun.) : 43 matches
- G Gunn – GV Gunn : 34 matches
Interestingly, WG Grace took retirement after his sons. His two sons – WG Grace(Jun.) & CB Grace took retirement in 1903 & 1906 respectively while WG Grace himself took retirement in 1908.
# He had taken 2809 wickets which puts him number 10 in the list of leading wicket takers in first class cricket.
# The doctor is one of the 5 bowlers to take 10 wickets in an innings more than 1 time (only AP Freeman achieved the feat 3 times)
# His 240 5-wicket haul is ranked 6th in list of most 5 wicket haul in an innings.
# Grace’s 64 10-wicket haul is ranked 8th in the list of most 10 wicket haul in a match.
# He took 34 wickets in a match (17-47, 17-?) in 1881 for WG Grace’s XI against Bristol & District which is most by a player in a match. (Note – it was not any first class match)
All – Round & Other Stats
# WG Grace was the first player to score 1000 runs & take 100 runs in a year and he did it for 8 times.
# He is the only one to score 50,000 runs & take 2,500 wickets in first class history
# He had played 3rd most FC matches (870), only behind to W Rhodes( 1100) & FE Woolley (978)
# Only one to captain his side more than 600 matches, he did it for 637 times in his first class career. He is also the only player to captain his side after the age of 50 in test cricket (50 Years 320 Days). He was one of the players to captain his side in his last test match.
# He is only behind to FE Woolley in the matter of taking most catches as an non-wicket keeper. FE Woolley had taken 1,008 catches whereas WG Grace had taken 887 catches.
# WG Grace was the first player to play a test match after the age of 50. Only 3 other players have played a test match after his achievement.
Oldest to play a test match (This list shows occurrences of players above 50 years)
- W Rhodes – 52 Y 163 D
- H Ironmonger – 50 Y 327 D
- WG Grace – 50 Y 320 D
- G Gunn – 50 Y 303 D