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John Wisden
England in North America 1859.jpg
John Wisden (seated left)
in the England team to North America in 1859
Personal information
Full name John Wisden
Born 5 September 1826(1826-09-05)
Brighton, Sussex, England
Died 5 April 1884 (aged 57)
Westminster, London, England
Height 5 ft 6 in (1.68 m)
Batting style Right-handed
Bowling style Underarm right arm slow
Role Bowler
Occasional wicket-keeper
Founder of Wisden Cricketers' Almanack
Domestic team information
Years Team
1845 – 1863 Sussex
1859 – 1863 Middlesex
1854 Kent
Career statistics
Competition FC
Matches 187
Runs scored 4140
Batting average 14.12
100s/50s 2/9
Top score 148
Balls bowled 24205
Wickets 1109
Bowling average 10.32
5 wickets in innings 111
10 wickets in match 39
Best bowling 10/58
Catches/stumpings 169/1
Source: CricketArchive, 5 April 1884

John Wisden (5 September 1826 – 5 April 1884) was an English cricketer who played 190 first-class cricket matches for three English county cricket teams, Kent, Middlesex and Sussex. He is now best known for launching the eponymous Wisden Cricketers' Almanack in 1864, the year after he retired from first-class cricket.


Early life

Wisden was born at 15 Hampden Place, Brighton, but moved to London after his father Thomas died.

Cricket career

Although of moderate height (5 ft 6 in), Wisden was said to be the best all-rounder of his day. He made his first-class debut for Sussex in 1845 aged 18, weighing only 7 stone. Initially a fast round-arm bowler, his pace slowed in later years. While bowling fast, he took on average nearly 10 wickets in every game. In 1850, playing for the South against the North at Lord's, he took all 10 wickets in the second innings, all clean bowled (still the only instance of all ten wickets being taken "bowled" in any first-class match).

In all, he took 1,109 first-class wickets with a bowling average of 10.32 He was also a fine batsman (4,140 first-class runs with a batting average of 14.12, an average which was very good for the time). He scored only two centuries, the first in 1849 and the second was the only century scored in 1855.

He played almost all of his cricket in England, including many games in the County Championship, but he travelled with a touring team led by George Parr to Canada and the U.S. in 1859, where eight matches in Montreal, Hoboken, Philadelphia, Hamilton and Rochester were won easily. Since 1855 Wisden had been in partnership with Fred Lillywhite, who organised the North American tour. They ran a tobacconist and sports outfitting business in London's West End, but this did not survive the trip.

Publishing career

Wisden retired from cricket in 1863 at the relatively early age of 37 as a result of rheumatism; he started publishing his annual cricketers' almanac the next year. In later years, he began selling cricket equipment in Leamington Spa in 1850 and opened a "cricket and cigar shop" near The Haymarket in 1872.

Later life

Wisden died of cancer in Westminster, aged 57. He is buried in Brompton Cemetery, London.[1]


He was posthumously selected as Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1913, 50 years after his retirement from first-class cricket.

Funerary monument, Brompton Cemetery, London

External links

Further reading

  • H S Altham, A History of Cricket, Volume 1 (to 1914), George Allen & Unwin, 1926
  • Derek Birley, A Social History of English Cricket, Aurum, 1999
  • Rowland Bowen, Cricket: A History of its Growth and Development, Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1970
  • Arthur Haygarth, Scores & Biographies, Volumes 3-9 (1841-1866), Lillywhite, 1862-1867
  • John Major, More Than A Game, HarperCollins, 2007 – includes the famous 1859 touring team photo taken on board ship at Liverpool


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