England Cricket Captains History

List of England’s Cricket Captains

This the list of England’s cricket captains, comprising all men, women, and youths who have captained England cricket at the international level.The international matches categories are Test,One-day international(ODI), T20 International(T20I).
International cricket began in 1877 when England men’s team played their first-ever Test match. England had played more Test matches, and have more captains than any other team in the world. In the 19th century, the captains for overseas tours were chosen by the promoters. The early tours were mostly organized by professionals especially James Lillywhite, Alfred Shaw, and Arthur Shrewsbury. Some amateur-led tours went abroad under Lord Harris and Lord Hawke.

The home captain was selected by the home ground authority, who often favored a local player. For over 73 years, commencing with the 1903-4 tour of Australia and ending with a centenary Test in 1977, Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) organized international tours and selected the England team. On these tours, the team was called MCC in non-international matches and England in international.MCC established a tradition of having amateur, rather than professional captains.

After, Shrewsbury in 1886-87, there wasn’t another professional captain until Len Hutton in 1952. The professional distinction was abolished in 1962, though some former amateurs captained England after that. In 1971, Ray Illingworth captained England in their first ODI. In 1971, the management of the England cricket team was taken over by former Test and County Cricket Board (TCCB) until 1 January 1997, and from then by England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB). England played their first T20 international under the captaincy of Micheal Vaughan.

The England under-19 cricket team began playing Test matches in 1974 and ODI matches in 1976. Their first captains were Nigel Briers and Chris Cowdrey respectively.

Test Match Captains:

This is the list of those cricketers who have captained England’s men’s team in at least one Test match.

James Lillywhite:

James Lillywhite (23 February 1842- 25 October 1929) was an English Test Cricketer and an Umpire. He was the first-ever captain of England Cricket team in a Test match, captaining two test matches against Australia in 1876-77, losing the first but winning the second. Lillywhite was born in Westhampnett in Sussex. He became a professional cricketer and played first-class cricket for Sussex for 1862 and 1883. And he played his final first-class match in 1885.Before the pre-Ashes Test-playing tour to Australia in 1876-77. Moreover, he also joined three further tours to Australia in teams led by Alfred Shaw in 1881-82,1884-85 and 1886-87.

Career Statistics:

CompetitionsTestFirst-Class
Matches2256
Runs scored165523
Batting average8.0014.30
100/50s0/02/12
Top score10126
Wickets81,210

George Harris,4th Baron Harris

George Robert Canning Harris,4th Baron Harris (3 Feburuary1851- 4 March 1932) generally known as Lord Harris, was a British colonial administrator and Governor of Bombay. He was also an English amateur Cricketer, mainly active from 1870 to 1889, who played for Kent and England as captain of both teams. He had a political career from 1885 to 1900 and was for much of his life a highly influential figure in cricket administration throughout the offices of Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC).

Cricket Career:

Harris made his first-class debut for Kent in 1870 after he left Eton. Owing to his position in society, he was immediately elected to the club committee and was associated with Kent cricket for the rest of his life. He went up to Christ Church, Oxford in September 1870 and played for the Oxford University team from 1871 to 1874. He was available to play for the kent latter half of each of these seasons and became county captain in succession to south Norton in 1871, although his appointment was not made official until he left Oxford. Harris held the Kent captaincy until 1889.

He led the England Cricket team in Australia and New Zealand in 1878-79 and was a central figure in the events of 8 Feburary1879 when a crowd riot erupted a match in Sydney. The had previously played a match against All-Australia-XI at Melbourne Cricket Club and this was later designated a Test status as the third-ever Test match. Harris was, therefore, the second England Test captain after James Lillywhite. Australia led by Dave Gregory won the match by 10 wickets.

Career Statistics:

CompetitionsTestFirst-Class
Matches4224
Runs scored1459,990
Batting average29.0026.85
100/50s0/111/55
Top score52176
Wickets075

Alfred Shaw

Alfred Shaw (29 August 1842- 16 January 1907) was an eminent Victorian cricketer and rugby footballer, who bowl the first ball in Test cricket and the first one to take five wickets in ann Test innings. He made two trips to North America and four to Australia, captaining the England cricket team in four Test matches on the all-professional tours to Australia in 1881/82, where he’s lost and drew two each. He was also, along with James Lillywhite and Arthur Shrewsbury,co-promoter of the tours.

Cricket Career:

Alfred Shaw was one of the few cricketers of his time whose Christian name was used most frequently than the initials. Shaw’s first-class career extended from 1864 to 1897, and most of his matches were for Nottinghamshire. He had the unusual distinction for professional of frequently captaining that county, and this was vindicated when he took Notts to four successive championships from 1883 to 1886. Moreover, he was a natural leader with a powerful persona. But his connections with Notts all but ended after that last triumph. As his team-mates observed, the county went into the rapid decline upon his departure.

Sometimes during Shaw’s early career, he was suggested that the creases should be made by whitewash and this was gradually adopted through the 1870s. The origin creases uncertain but they were in use at beginning of the 18th century when they were created by scratching, the popping crease is 46 inches in front of the wicket at each end of the pitch. With time, the scratches became cuts which were an inch deep and an inch wide. The cut was in use until the second half of the 19th century when whitewashing replaces it.

Career Statistics:

CompetitionsTestFirst-Class
Matches7404
Runs scored1116,585
Batting average10.0912.44
100/50s0/00/12
Top score4088
Wickets122,027

A.N. Hornby:

Albert Nielson Hornby, nicknamed Monkey Hornby(10 February 1847- 17 December 1925) was one of the best -known sportsmen in England during the nineteenth century in both rugby and cricket. He was the first of only two men to captain the county at both rugby and cricket. But he also remembered as the England Cricket Captain whose side lost the Test match which gave rise to the Ashes, at home against Australia in 1882. Additionally, he played football for Blackburn Rovers.

Cricket Career:

He first played cricket for that county in 1862 and played 20 matches between then and 1876. His club cricket was for the East Lancashire club, Blackburn. And he was the first tried for the Lancashire county cricket club in 1887. It was with his county that he was to play his finest cricket. He went to play for Lancashire for 33 years. For many years he provided an ideal attacking foil to the careful defense of opening partner, Dick Barlow. With whom he was immortalized in one of the best known of all cricket poems.

Career Statistics:

CompetitionsTestFirst-Class
Matches3437
Runs scored2116,109
Batting average3.5024.07
100/50s0/016/74
Top score9188
Wickets111

Ivo Bligh,8th Earl of Darnley

Francis Walter Bligh,8th Earl of Darnley(13 March 1859- 10 April 1927), styled Hon. Ivo Bligh until 1900, was a British noble parliamentarian and a Cricketer.

Bligh captained the England team in the first-ever Test match series against Australia with The Ashes at stake in 1882/83

Cricket Career:

Although the history of Test cricket between England and Australia dates from 1877. It was after an English team led by Monkey Hornby lost to Australians at The Oval in 1882, that the Sporting time newspaper wrote on the mock obituary to English cricket, nothing that the body would be cremated and The Ashes sent to Australia. The following winter’s tours to Australia was billed as an attempt to reclaim The Ashes. Bligh’s team was successful, winning the three-match Ashes series two-one. Although the fourth game not played for the Ashes, and a matter of great dispute was lost.

A small terracotta urn was presented to the Hon. Ivo Bligh, as England captain, by a group of Melbourne Women after England’s victory in the Ashes. The urn is reputed to contain the Ashes of a ball, symbolizing “The Ashes of England Cricket”.While the urn has to come to symbolize The Ashes Test series the term “The Ashes” predates the existence of the urn. Since the 1998/99  Ashes series, a Waterford crystal trophy is represented to the winners.

Bligh is also played for Cambridge University and Kent county cricket club in the first-class cricket career which lasted from 1877 to 1883. He was elected the President of Marylebone Cricket Club for 1900/01 and of Kent in 1892 and 1902.

Career Statistics:

CompetitionsTestFirst-Class
Matches484
Runs scored622,733
Batting average10.3320.70
100/50s0/02/12
Top score19113
Wickets     —      —

Arthur Shrewsbury:

Arthur Shrewsbury (11 April 1856 -19 May 1903) was an English cricketer and a rugby football administrator. He was widely rated as competing with W.G Grace for the accolade of best batsmen of the 1880s. Grace himself, when asked who he would most like in his side, replied simply “Give me Arthur”.Arthur is an opening batsman. Shrewsbury played his cricket for Nottingham County Cricket Club. And played 23 Test matches for England, captaining them in 7 games. With a record of won 5 and lost 2.He was the last professional cricketer to be the England captain since Len Hutton was chosen in 1952. He was the Wisdom Cricketer of the year in the 1890s.

Cricket Career:

An Expert on sticky wickets, Shrewbury topped the first-class batting averages seven-time including in 1902, in his final session. Shrewsbury missed his season in 1874 due to rheumatic fever. And did not make his first-class debut until   May 1875 for Nottinghamshire against Derbyshire. He ended the season with 313 runs at an average of 17.38, with a top score of 41.

Shrewsbury finished the season with an innings 65 against Surrey in a low scoring match. In May 1877, he made 119 at The Oval for the players of North against the players of South. He also scored four fifties and finished the season with 778 runs at an average of 19.94.

Career Statistics:

CompetitionsTestFirst-Class
Matches23498
Runs scored127726,505
Batting average35.4736.65
100/50s3/459/115
Top score164267
Wickets      —        —

A.G. Steel

Allan Gibson Steel (24 September 1856- 15 June 1914) was an English Cricketer and plays for Lancashire domestically. Who was reckoned by many in his day to be equal to the legendary W.G. Grace?

Cricket Career:

Steel played in the first-ever Test match in England then the famous Test match which England has narrowly lost in 1882. The mock obituary was published in The sporting Time saying “R.I.P England Cricket” the body will be cremated. And The Ashes will be taken to Australia.

Steel who was known by his initials to differentiate from his brothers then made his highest Test score of 148 in 1884. It was the first-ever Test century scored at the Lord’s. Steel’s name still heads the Honors boards. These efforts led him to achieve the number 1 Test batsman in the ICC Test ranking 1884. He captained England cricket team in 1886 winning all the three-match and whitewashing Australians 3-0. His last was in 1888 again as a captain but losing this one.

Steel was the president of Marylebone Cricket Club for 1902 and his son Allan Ivo Steel played a handful of first-class matches for MCC and Middlesex but was killed in the first World War.

Career Statistics:

CompetitionsTestFirst-Class
Matches13162
Runs scored6007,000
Batting average35.2929.41
100/50s2/08/36
Top score148171
Wickets29789

Walter Willaim Read

Walter Willaim Read ( 23 November 1855- 6 January 1907) was an English Cricketer. He was a right-handed batsman and an occasional bowler of lobs, he sometimes switched to overarm deliveries. He captained England cricket team in two Test matches and winning both. Read was named as the Wisdom Cricketer of year in 1893.

Cricket Career :

He also played for Surrey from 1873 to 1897 and scoring 338 runs for them against Oxford University in 1888. At the time, it was the second-highest first-class score ever made. He was a member of the side that won the county championship in 1890-2,1894 and 1895. After W.G Grace he was the most prolific armature of his day.

He became the first cricketer to score a Test hundred against Australia at The Oval in 1884. His match-saving innings remains the highest score by a No.10 in Tests. He reached his century in 113 minutes with 36 scoring strokes. His partnership of 151 runs with Willaim Scotton remains England’s highest for the ninth wicket against Australia.

Career Statistics:

CompetitionsTestFirst-Class
Matches18467
Runs scored72022,349
Batting average27.6932.06
100/50s1/538/113
Top score117338
Wickets0108

W.G. Grace

Willaim Gilbert Grace (18 July 1848 -23 October 1915) was an English armature cricketer and is widely considered as one of the greatest players ever. He was also important in the development of sports. Moreover, he was universally known as “W.G.”.However, he played his first-class cricket for a record of 44 seasons from 1865 to 1908. During this time, he captained England team, Gloucestershire and Gentleman, Marylebone Cricket Club, the United South of England Eleven and several other teams.

He is a right-handed batsman and also a right-arm bowler. Grace dominated sports during his career. He is an outstanding all-rounder. His technical innovations and enormous influence left a lasting legacy. Moreover, he excelled at all the skills of batting, bowling, and fielding, but it is for his batting that he was most renowned. He is led to have invented modern batsmanship. Usually, an opening batsman he was particularly admired for his strokes.

Grace came from a cricketing family.E.M. In 1880 they were the member of same England team. The first time three brothers played together in Test cricket. Grace also took part in other sports, he was a champion of 440-yard hurdles and played football for Wanderers.

Cricket Career:

Although it is controversy among the cricket statistics about the details of W.G. Grace’s first-class career. It is generally agreed that its span was 44 seasons from 1865 to 1902 and one source list of 29 teams. One is the England national team and 28 other teams represented by Grace in the first-class cricket. In minor cricket, Grace represented upwards of 40 teams. Besides playing for England in Test cricket, the key teams in Grace’s first-class career were Gentlemen(1865-1906), Marylebone Cricket Club (1869-1904), Gloucestershire (1877-1899), United South of England Eleven (1870-76) and London County (1900-04).

Career Statistics:

CompetitionsTestFirst-Class
Matches22878(870)
Runs scored1,09854,896(54,211)
Batting average32.2939.55(39.45)
100/50s2/5126/254(124/251)
Top score170344(344)
Wickets92,864+12(2,809)

C.Aubrey Smith

Sir Charles Aubrey Smith was an English Cricketer who became a stage and film actor acquiring a niche as the officer and gentleman type. In Hollywood, he organized British actors into the cricket team much intriguing than local spectators.

Cricket Career:

As a cricketer, Smith was a right-arm fast bowler. He was also a useful right-handed lower-order batsman and a good slip fielder. His oddly curved bowling run-up which started from deep mid-off.becuase of this, he earned the nickname of “Round the corner Smith”.When he bowled round the wicket his approach was concealed from the batsman by the umpire until he has emerged leading W.G. Grace to comment “it is rather a starling when he suddenly appears at the bowling crease”.

He also played for Cambridge University and Sussex various times from 1882 to 1892. Moreover, In South Africa, he captained the Johannesburg English XI. However, he captained the England team to the victory in his only Test match against South Africa at Port Elizabeth in 1888 – 1889. taking five wickets of nineteen in the first innings. The English team who played were by no means representative of the best players of the time. And nobody at the time realized that the match would enter the cricket records as an official Test match.

Career Statistics:

CompetitionsTestFirst-Class
Matches1143
Runs scored32,986
Batting average3.0013.63
100/50s0/00/10
Top score385
Wickets7346

Monty Bowden

Montague Parker Bowden  (1 November 1865-19 Fe February 1892) was an English first-class cricketer and a wicket-keeper who played two Test matches for England against South Africa in 1888/89. Bowden became England’s youngest ever captain on 25 March 1888. When he captained England to the victory in the second of his two Test matches. Bowden stayed in South Africa to participate in Whitewater Gold Rush went to Rhodesia with the Pioneer Column and ended up smuggling liquor.

In 1892, he died in Umtali Hospital, Rhodesia officially he died of Uelipsey.

Career Statistics:

CompetitionsTestFirst-Class
Matches286
Runs scored252,316
Batting average12.5020.13
100/50s0/03/7
Top score25189*
Wickets02

Andrew Stoddart

Andrew Ernest Stoddart (11 March 1863 -4 April 1915) was a cricketer who plays international cricket for England cricket team and rugby union for England and the British Isles. He was also the Wisdom Cricketer of the yeat in 1893. He has the unique distinction in captaining England in three distinct sports, cricket, rugby union, and Australian rules football.

Cricket Career:

Stoddart was born in Westoe, South Shields, County Durham England. He was the youngest son of the  Wine merchant who moved the whole family to Marylebone London. Stoddart made his reputation in Cricket Club and was playing for Middlesex in 1885. He was a right-handed batsman who bowls right-arm medium pace. He played 16 Test matches captaining England in 8 games of which he won three, and lost four and drew one. His 173 runs at Melbourne in 1894/95 were for 80 years’ highest score by Egland captain in Test cricket in Australia. Stoddart was also the first captain who ask Australia to bat first and a first to declare Test innings.

Career Statistics:

CompetitionsTestFirst-Class
Matches16309
Runs scored99616,738
Batting average35.5732.12
100/50s2/326/85
Top score173221171
Wickets2278

Sir Tim O’Brien,3rd Baronet

Sir Timothy Carew O’Brien,3rd Baronet (5 November 1861- 9 December 1948) was an Irish born Cricketer who played cricket for England in five Test matches. Tim O’Brien was born in Dublin and educated at the catholic school Downside in Somerset. He went to New Inn Hall, Oxford to play further his cricket career.

Cricket Career:

Tim O’Brien was a right-handed batsman, O’Brien won a Blue in 1884 and 1885. He went on to play 266 first-class cricket matches as an armature of Oxford University. And in fairly regular appearance for Middlesex through 1898. His 92 runs for Oxford University against Australians was instrumental in the University’s only victory over the Australians team in 1884. He also played for England against Australia at Old Trafford that year and again four years later at Lord’s.

He toured with Marylebone Cricket Club team twice in 1887-88. In County Cricket he was known as a hard-hitting inning. With the highest score of 202 scored as a part of a partnership with Robert Slade Lucas that put on 338 in 200 minutes against Sussex in 1895.

Career Statistics:

CompetitionsTestFirst-Class
Matches5266
Runs scored5911,397
Batting average7.3727.00
100/50s0/015/58
Top score20202
Wickets04

Martin Hawke,7th Baron Hawke

Martin Bladen Hawke,7th Baron Hawke (16 August 1860 -10 October 1938) was an English armature cricketer active from 1881 from 1911 who played for Yorkshire and England. He appeared in 633 first-class matches including five Test matches. Scoring 16,749 runs with the highest score of 166 and held 209 catches. He also scored 13 centuries and 69 half-centuries.

Hawke’s third first-class appearance was his debut for Cambridge University on 12 and 13 June 1882. And when he played for Lancashire at old Trafford. He made 18 first-class appearances in 1882. Scoring 570 runs at an average of 18.38 with two half-centuries and the highest of 66. He played for Cambridge four times in June, including the University match against Oxford University at Lord’s. From July to September, he played 13 games for Yorkshire.

Career Statistics:

CompetitionsTestFirst-Class
Matches5633
Runs scored5516,749
Batting average7.8520.15
100/50s0/013/69
Top score30166
Wickets00

Archei Maclaren

Archibald Campbell Maclaren (1 December 1871- 17 November 19944) was an English cricketer who captained the England Cricket team at various times from 1898 to 1909. He is a right-handed batsman and played 35 Test matches for England team as captain in 22 of those matches. Moreover, he led the team to defeat in four Ashes Series against Australia. He played first-class cricket for Lancashire, captaining that county club for most of his career. As a batsman. He was one of the leading-cricketers of his time and had a reputation as a  fast-scoring style. In 1895, he scores 424 runs in an innings against Somerset which is the highest individual score in first-class cricket until 1923.

Cricket Career:

Maclaren returned home via Japan, missing the start of the 1895 season. He was also named as the “Young batsman of the year” and Wisdom Cricketer of year for his performance in 1894.

In 1899, he joined a private tour cricket tour to America and Canada organized by the Cricket-playing Indian prince Ranjitsinji. The following March he was appointed as assistant secretary at Lancashire. His main responsibility was to coach the first-eleven which effectively meant that he was paid to play cricket.

Career Statistics:

CompetitionsTestFirst-Class
Matches35424
Runs scored1,93122,236
Batting average33.8734.15
100/50s5/847/95
Top score140424
Wickets01

Pelham Warner

Sir Pelham Francis Warner (2 October 1873 -30 January 1963) was an English cricketer and Cricket administrator, better known as Pelham Warner or “The Grand Old Man” of English Cricket.

Cricket Career:

Pelham was a right-handed batsman. He played his first-class cricket for Oxford University, Middlesex and England. Pelham played 15 Test matches, captaining in 10 of them with a record of won 4 and lost 6 matches. He was also succeeded in regaining the Ashes in 1903-04 winning the aginst Australia 3-2. However, he was less successful when toured South Africa in 1905-06  suffering a resounding defeat by1-4. The first time England lost to South Africa in a Test match. Moreover, he was also to have captained England on the 1911-12 tour to Australia but fell ill and was not able to play in any Test match.

Pelham was also named for Wisden Cricketer of the year in 1904 and also in 1921, making him one of two to have received this award twice. The second award marked his retirement in the 1920 season in which he captained Middlesex to the County Championship title.

Career Statistics:

CompetitionsTestFirst-Class
Matches15521
Runs scored62229,028
Batting average23.9236.28
100/50s1/360/149
Top score132*244
Wickets015

Stanley  Jackson

Sir Francis Stanley Jackson (21 November 1870 – 9 march 1947) was an English cricketer, Soldier, and Conservative party politician. He played in 20 Test matches for England from 1893 to 1905.

Cricket Career:

Jackson played for Cambridge university Yorkshire and England. He captained England team n five Test matches in 1905 winning two and drawing three to retain The Ashes from Australia. Captaining England Cricket team for the first time he won all five tosses and topped the batting and bowling averages on both sides with 492 runs at an average of 70.28 and 13 wickets at an average of 15.46. These were the last of his 20 Test matches and all played at home as he could not spare the time to tour. Stanley Jackson still holds the Test record of most catches in a career without playing away from home.

He was the first batsman to be dismissed on Nervous ’90s on Test debut. He was selected as the president of the Marylebone Cricket Club in 1921.

Career Statistics:

CompetitionsTestFirst-Class
Matches20309
Runs scored1,41515,901
Batting average48.7933.83
100/50s5/631/76
Top score144**160
Wickets24774

R.E Foster

Reginald Erskine Foster (16 April 1878 – 13 May 1914) nicked Tim Foster was an English first-class cricketer and football player. He is the only sportsman to have captained England in both sports. He was a right-handed middle-order batsman. In 1903 he scored 287 runs on his Test debut and setting the world record of highest Test score in the world.

Cricket Career:

Foster first played for Oxford Unversity Cricket Club in 1897. He was also represented Oxford football. He was one of the finest batsmen of his time. Moreover, He had played for Worcestershire while they were still a minor county cricket in 1899 he and his brother both scored two hundred in a match. In 1900, as a captain of Oxford, he scored 171 runs and set the record of the highest individual score in a varsity match. Foster also scored 102 not out and 136 runs for the Gentlemen against the players at the Lord’s.

Because of these performances, Foster was named as the Wisden Cricketer of the year in 1900. In total, he scores 930 runs at an average of 77.05 for Oxford University Cricket Club in the 1900 season.

Updated: September 21, 2019 — 3:24 am

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