The Foundation of Cricket | W.G. Grace -The Father of Cricket

The Foundation of Cricket | W.G. Grace -The Father of Cricket

How did the game of cricket begin? Who was responsible for the game of cricket to be put on the global stage?

If we go back in time to know cricket’s real history we can trace the foundation of cricket to a single individual – W.G. Grace – “The Father of Cricket” –

W.G. GRACE nurtured the game at the grass root level. The article will be a tribute to The Father of Cricket – W.G. GRACE, who was responsible and the reason to revolutionize and put the foundation of the game to become what it is today

The Foundation of Cricket W.G. Grace The Father of Cricket

Presented By: Raghunath Nair

Date: 08/08/2023



W.G. Grace

We have grown up hearing the names of Don Bradman, Vivian Richards, Gary Sobers, and Sachin Tendulkar who have been the modern heroes of the game. The Name W.G. Grace may not be heard much by the modern cricketer but the contribution made by the English Cricketer has left an incredible legacy in cricket history.

How the way modern-day cricket is played needs to give its credit to W.G. Grace as he impacted the game more than anyone in the history of the game.

W.G. Grace understood the game in its entirety and helped it to modernize what we know today

History of Cricket

Cricket as an adult sport came in 1611. Village cricket getting developed in the mid-17th century county teams to play the game were formed. The first recorded game in books with county names came in 1709

By the 18th century, cricket became a popular sport in London but due to travel constraints, the spread of the game was limited in the counties nearby. While the spread was slow, the game spread in nearby parts of England. Surrey recorded the first women’s cricket game in 1745

The rules of the game started to be written in 1744. Amendments and changes were constantly made as the game progressed thanks to the contribution of the Marylebone Cricket Club, the MCC.

MCC for its contribution to developing the rules became the custodian of the Laws and has made revisions ever since then to the current day.

From rolling the ball along the ground to pitching the ball and changes in the bat shapes were constant evolutions made in the game.

Cricket spread first to the North American colonies and then to other colonies across the globe under the British Empire. By the 18th century, the game was spread to West Indies Islands and India.

Who is the Father of Cricket?

In the current modern era, we all are familiar with the term God of Cricket coined for the supremely talented Sachin Tendulkar. The Talented Indian, who with the sheer longevity in the game and the piles of record he garnered during his playing career became the undisputed “God of Cricket”.

Only the great Don Bradman could be put on the same pedestal as the Indian Maestro.

But Before Don Bradman, Cricket owes their debt to one individual who made the game what it is today, W.G. Grace.

Profile of the Father of Cricket

Profile of the Father of Cricket

William Gilbert Grace (W.G. Grace) is known as the father of cricket. Grace was a right-handed all-rounder whose international career lasted 19 years, from 1880 to 1899.

W.G. Grace played the game for 43 years, probably an impossible feat in the modern era. Considered a domestic star in his own right, he played 44 first-class seasons. He played the game beyond age 60 years of his age.

W.G. Grace as a player nurtured the game during its initial stage when the game was yet to be popularised or even considered a world-level sport

W.G. Grace can be considered the best all-around skilled player of his time as he could be effective as a right-hand batsman and equally effective as a right-handed bowler making him a complete package.

His technique while batting and bowling were so good that his attributes are still rare in modern-day cricket. The concept of skill and temperament are the terminologies brought in during the W.G. Grace era

A captain by default for most of his playing days due to his understanding of the game, he became the symbol of modern techniques of batsmanship.

The 43-year Career

 Domestic Career

The 43-year Career

W.G. Grace played seasons of first-class from 1865 to 1908.

His long career also saw him playing for 28 different domestic teams which directly helped in spreading the game and the spreading of skills from this great player.

During this period, he played a total of 870 matches and scored first-class runs over 54000 with a career average of appx. 40. He made 124 domestic centuries and 251 domestic half-centuries.

His appetite for big runs while batting was evident in 1876 when he scored a mammoth 839 runs in 8 days.

His innings of 344 was the first triple-century scored in first-class cricket.

He broke the 56-year-old record of 278 held by William Ward to become the player to score the highest individual score in any class of cricket

His bowling was equally dominant as he took more than 2800 wickets in his first-class career at an average of around 18 with an economy of 2.45.

Grace holds the record for the most number of first-class matches played in a career with 870 appearances.

William Gilbert Grace is said to be the first player to score 100 centuries.

International Career

International Career

As cricket was still a county-level sport then, with the spread of cricket, W.G. Grace was able to play 22 international Test Matches.

In his 22 International Test matches, he scored 1098 runs at an average of 32.29 a feat very few could achieve at the time

His performances and visions laid the foundation for others to follow



Impact on the game – Building the rules of the game

W.G. Grace was instrumental in making many rules and regulations in the field of play in the initial days which made him the Father of Cricket

He was quick to realize that cricket was a technical game and may not be a natural sport and needs nurturing and long hours of practice to understand. This helped the game to sustain and grow over the years

He was instrumental to make it the gentleman game and hence did have a torrid relationship with the impetuous and audacious Australians. He insisted that the game should be played in the right spirit and honor. He was often ridiculed by the Australian press for wanting to play the game in a certain manner.

W.G. Grace was a walking encyclopedia of the game when he played and players studied the small nuances of the game by observing the great man play. How to have the right grip and stance and playing through the line of the ball made his batting technique polished and made it the batting style of cricket which we know today

Another great batsman of that era and who saw the father of cricket play from behind the stumps was the Indian Ranjitsinghji, who considered Grace’s game as the “The Bible of Batsmanship”

Impact on the game - Building the rules of the game

His bowling was as good as his batting. After starting as a very good line and length pace bowler, with age, he turned to slow bowling and developed the art of spin bowling including the leg breaks called the “leg tweaker” then.

W.G. Grace made and helped in the evolution of cricket making rules in the game which made the complex game of cricket to be easily understood by the viewers.



The popularity of the game of cricket is growing by the day in comparison to the declining graph of some of yesteryear’s popular games. While the game of cricket for many reasons took its own time to spread and become popular, today it is the second most popular sport in the World.  With a viewership of more than 2.5 billion viewers, it is second to only Football with 3.5 billion viewers

Cricketers today are household names and the game is no more the colonial sport it used to be known in the past.

The game of cricket has now spread to more than 150 countries and is rapidly growing in Europe and the American Continent.

W.G. Grace spent his entire life and career to make the sport great and make it professional.

He is still fondly remembered even in the modern era after 107 years after his passing away is testimony to the contribution he made to the game of cricket.

Fun Fact: W.G. Grace was a qualified full-time Doctor too.

W.G. Grace invested his time in reforming the rules of the game including the three stumps wicket becoming the norm.


  • Who is considered the God of Cricket

Sachin Tendulkar and Sir Don Bradman.

  • What is W.G. Grace Career Stats


FORMAT Mat Inns NO Runs HS Ave 100s 50s
Test 22 36 2 1098 170 32.29 2 5
FC 870 1478 104 54211 344 39.45 124 251


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