WG GRACE WILLIAM GILBERT Grace (July 18, 1848-23October, 1915) was an English amateur cricketer who was influential in the sport’s development and is widely regarded as one of its greatest ever players. William Gilbert WG Grace was “born in the cricket atmosphere. “He spent nearly every waking moment of his life playing cricket (or telling people about how he played cricket and how to play cricket genuinely). William Gilbert Grace, a clean-shaven fifteen-year old, first alerted the game to his talent with a string of big scores his batting would revolutionise the way cricket was played, and his personality would revolutionise the way it was organised and promoted.
No other cricketer had ever spent as much time quietly working on his game, perfecting the technique and inventing batting as he had. So Grace created something that was both natural to modern cricketers and alien at the time. He moved in response to where the ball was thrown. He would move forward if he needed to. He would return if he had to.
In the early days of cricket, WG Grace deservedly received a lot of attention. He had just turned 18 years old. He was already referred to as The Champion or The Nonesuch. He was a die-hard cricket fan who always served the game. The proof is that despite his success and adulation, he never turned his head. He could see the game developing and spreading around him as he made his incredible scores.
Grace created footwork. Cricket got a Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers moment from him. Grace was a representative man of his time, and as such, he transformed cricket into a national event, a spectacle as well as a game. Grace was so good that he built new stadiums. Cricket fans flocked to see WG Grace and his fantastic cricketing style.
W.G. Grace popularised the sport. He was a megastar long before the term was coined. His class, however, was for the benefit of cricket. His class brought the game to the forefront of people’s minds. His ability aided in making cricket the most important sport in the world at the time. And as big as cricket was, Grace was bigger. Many of the gentlemen attempted to own, monetize, and sell a beautiful game. Grace was no exception, but he made the game available to everyone.
WG began his career at a time when pitches were transitioning from rough scythed grass to much finer and rolled grass on which the ball’s dependability and predictability could be enjoyed. This resulted in a greater variety of possible shots, all of which W.G. was able to exploit, transforming the popularity of cricket for both players and fans.
At the age of 32, WG Grace made his Test debut at The Oval in 1880 and quickly became the second batsman (after Charles Bannerman) to score a Test hundred on debut. He also scored 120 runs for the second wicket stand with Bunny Lucas, the first hundred run partnership in cricket history.
However, because Test cricket was not as well established as the pinnacle of the game in Grace’s day, he was able to play for England in 22 Tests during the 1880s and 1890s, all of which were against Australia, and scored a total of 1098 runs. Making 1098 runs in only 22 test matches exemplifies his brilliance as a batsman. According to cricket historian Harry Altham, he was “then the biggest name in cricket and the main spectator attraction.”
His batting style was as sparse, strong, and clean as Gregorian plainchant, and it was incredibly enjoyable as a result. His desire to play cricket was legendary, from practise in the chilly days of late winter to matches in the darkening evenings of autumn. He played day after day, from infancy to what would now be retirement age, at every level from village green to Test arena. He dominated the batting order and despised being out. He was equally determined to monopolise bowling until very late in his career.
He turned it from an accomplishment to a science, uniting all the good points of all the good players in his mighty self and making utility the standard of style. He transformed the old one stringed instrument into a multi chorded lyre.” More than that, cricket’s genius, its Englishness of nature, became visible and incarnate in him; he was King of Cricket by birthright, and he looked it every inch, every ounce, never inappropriate on the sward even in his final years of kindly accumulating flesh and greying beard. “He was the apex through which the game progressed from a dim legendary past into genuine and modern history.