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Gilbert Jessop | One of the most attacking batsmen of his era

Gilbert Jessop, who was born on 19th May 1874, was one of the most attacking batsmen of his era and early cricketing superstar. He developed a cult following among the fans thanks to his aggressive batting and big shots.

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Last updated: 19.05.2019
Gilbert Jessop | Sports Social Blog

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Gilbert Jessop, who was born on 19th May 1874, was one of the most attacking batsmen of his era and early cricketing superstar. He developed a cult following among the fans thanks to his aggressive batting and big shots. Despite playing in the late Victorian era, Jessop’s ability to hit the ball and stroke play had been compared with modern greats like Viv Richards. Jessop did not play many tests but had a successful county career where he contributed with some wonderful attacking innings, very unlikely for his time.


He debuted for Gloucestershire at the age of 20. It was an auspicious beginning as he came to bat after two consecutive wickets and to stop the hat-trick. Instead, he hit the first delivery he faced in first class to the boundary. He played some special innings in very quick time. In 1903, his highest first-class score of 286 came under three hours against Sussex. Another special knock was 157 against West Indies in the year 1900, scored inside an hour.


But the most memorable of his centuries came in a test match. It was a tricky condition in the Oval test match against Australia in 1902. In a relatively poor pitch, England conceded a big first innings lead and despite bowling out Australia for 121 in their second innings, England had to chase 263 for a win in the fourth innings. They were in trouble when Jessop came to bat at 48 for 5. Despite the situation, he played his normal game, played shots around the wicket and reached his century in 77 minutes. He scored 104 of total 139 scored during his presence and despite his fall at 187, English tail-enders kept their cool and finished the match with one wicket to spare.

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His legacy in English county cricket was everlasting. Along with being a ferocious hitter, he was also a genuinely quick bowler and a sharp fielder. He was named after WG Grace and one of the superstars of the cricket before the First World War.  


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