Today not only marks the start of the second ‘Ashes’ Test Match between England and Australia at Lord’s cricket ground, but also the 165th birthday of the man who not only played an instrumental part in the formation of the ‘Ashes’ series, but who was also one of the greatest – if not the greatest – figures in cricket history – W.G. Grace.
William Gilbert ‘W.G.’ Grace was born on 18th July 1868 and over the course of a career that lasted nearly five decades spanning almost 30 teams he scored over 54000 runs and took over 2800 wickets. He was a formidable all-rounder, excelling in batting, bowling and fielding.
He played in 22 Tests for England including the notorious England v Australia Test at the Oval in 1882, which Australia pipped England to win by 7 runs and gave birth to the ‘Ashes’ legend which has been played out ever since. It is said that Grace inadvertantly played an instrumental part in Australia’s victory after riling them through a piece of gamesmanship (of which the ultra-competitive Grace was notorious for throughout his career) involving the run-out dismissal of an Australian batsman. So perhaps Stuart Broad shouldn’t feel so guilty after all…!
We have a considerable range of books about the history of cricket (including works about W.G. Grace) as well as a wide variety of coaching texts to assist budding Grace’s. You can also find out a lot more about the science of cricket through SPORTDiscus, while armchair enthusiasts can read all the reportage from past Ashes series among our online newspaper archives, including The Times and The Daily Mail. Howzat?!?
W.G. Grace portrait in the Long Room at Lord’s, photo taken by Happy A, reproduced under CC License from Flickr.