Since the inception of cricket sport, it has been touted as a gentleman’s game. Cricket is one of the few sports in the world that requires individual heroics as well as unflinching team efforts to hoist the victory flag in a game. Every sport has a pioneer, a godfather, or better say a flag bearer, and cricket is no exception.
Whenever we talk about the god of cricket, there is only one name that emerges every single time – Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar. A name so towering and influential that it sometimes eclipses the individual pride of the sport. Widely referred to as the god of cricket, there is barely any record left in the cricket book that has not been conquered by him. In a career spanning over more than two decades, Sachin Tendulkar has smashed as well as created records that once seemed to be unbelievable.
He is the highest run scorer in both ODI and test cricket. He holds the record of 100 centuries in the international cricket. He also holds the record of playing the most one-day international matches and the test cricket matches. You name the record, he has it. Despite being the biggest name in the cricket realm, Sachin Tendulkar is not the godfather of cricket. Then the question lingers here is who is the godfather of cricket? Who is the pioneer of one of the most popular sports on the planet?
To answer this pertinent question, we have carved this blog post that unveils the name of the godfather of cricket along with his cricketing journey.
William Gilbert Grace – The Real Godfather of Cricket
You might not have heard this name but the former English cricket local legend William Gilbert Grace is the real godfather of cricket. But why is he the godfather despite being one of the most unknown faces in cricket? It’s because of William Gilbert Grace’s unparalleled contribution to the establishment and advancement of the cricket game.
Let alone contribution, he played a record-breaking 44 consecutive seasons in the first class cricket and captained captained England, Gloucestershire, the Gentlemen, Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), the United South of England Eleven (USEE), and several other teams.
William was widely praised and acknowledged by his peers and the cricketing fraternity because of his cricketing genius, tactical formation, ability to play all strokes perfectly, and all-rounder performances. His first-class cricket records can put any modern-day great to shame. William played an astonishing 874 first-class matches in his career and scored a monumental 54000 runs with 124 centuries and 251 half-centuries. Even the combined international and first-class cricket record of Sachin Tendulkar can’t match up the tally of William Gilbert Grace.
Forget about the batting part for a moment, William was equally dexterous and exemplary with bowling. He took 2809 wickets in his first-class career with a brilliant bowling average of 18.14. Willia’s contribution to cricket is not fettered only up to his outstanding batting and bowling skills. In 1845, Henry Grace also established the Mangotsfield Cricket Club with the sole aim of representing multiple nearby villages that were deprived of fine cricket facilities, including Downend. In the following year, a merger took place between this club and West Gloucestershire Cricket Club, a union that retained the latter’s name until 1867. Accounts suggest that the Grace family exercised significant influence over West Gloucestershire, essentially running it as if it were a private club. Henry Grace successfully orchestrated cricket matches against Lansdown Cricket Club in Bath, a prominent club in the West Country at that time.
Additionally, Grace also used to provide coaching to emerging talents who just need direction to arrive big on the map of cricket sport. He influenced numerous generations to play cricket like a gentleman and enjoy it thoroughly. He believed cricket must be played with a completely free mind rather than with the sole aim of winning or scoring runs or taking wickets.
William Gilbert Grace’s immeasurable contribution to the development of the cricket game will never be forgotten and his name is etched permanently in the golden pages of history book.