A. G. Steel

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A. G. Steel
AG Steel c1895.jpg
Personal information
Full nameAllan Gibson Steel
Born(1858-09-24)24 September 1858
West Derby, Liverpool, Lancashire, England
Died15 June 1914(1914-06-15) (aged 55)
Hyde Park, London, England
BowlingRight arm fast-medium / slow-medium
Relations Allan Ivo Steel (son)
International information
National side
Test debut(cap  28)6 September 1880 v  Australia
Last Test17 July 1888 v  Australia
Domestic team information
1877–1893 Lancashire
1880–1890 Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC)
1878–1881 Cambridge University
Career statistics
Competition Tests First-class
Runs scored6007,000
Batting average 35.2929.41
Top score148171
Balls bowled136031,137
Wickets 29789
Bowling average 20.8614.78
5 wickets in innings 064
10 wickets in match020
Best bowling3/279/63
Catches/stumpings 5/–141/–
Source: CricketArchive, 23 September 2008

Allan Gibson "AG" Steel (24 September 1858 – 15 June 1914) was a Lancashire and England cricketer, who was reckoned by many in his day to be the equal of the legendary W G Grace.



Born 24 September 1858 in West Derby, Liverpool to Joseph Steel of Liverpool, and Kirkwood, Lockerbie in Scotland, he was one of seven cricketing brothers and three of his brothers Ernest (EE), Douglas (DQ) and Harold (HB), also played first-class cricket for Lancashire. After his school days at Marlborough College, where he played cricket superbly, he proceeded to Trinity Hall, Cambridge. [1] He was an instant star in the Cambridge University side of 1878 where he topped the bowling averages for the whole of England as a freshman. According to HS Altham, "it was unquestionably A.G. Steel's bowling that made the difference between a good and a great eleven".

Steel played in the first-ever Test Match in England at The Oval in 1880, then in the famous Test which England narrowly lost in 1882. The mock obituary was published in The Sporting Times saying "R.I.P. English Cricket...the body will be cremated and the Ashes will be taken to Australia."

Soon after Steel set off for Australia with his Cambridge University friends Ivo Bligh and the Studd brothers George and Charles, and a team they had put together. They toured Australia in 1882–1883 and won the agreed series 2–1, thus being given a small urn. They are commemorated by the poem inscribed on the side of the urn:

When Ivo goes back with the urn, the urn;
Studds, Steel, Read and Tylecote return, return;
The welkin will ring loud,
The great crowd will feel proud,
Seeing Barlow and Bates with the urn, the urn;
And the rest coming home with the urn.

Steel scored 135 at the Sydney Cricket Ground in a Fourth Test match arranged as an "extra" on that tour, in 1883. Over the whole tour, he topped both the batting and the bowling averages.

Steel, who was known by his initials to differentiate him from his brothers, then made his highest Test score, of 148, in 1884 which was the first-ever Test match century scored at Lord's. [2] His name still heads the Honours Board. These efforts led him to achieve the number 1 ranking in ICC Test Batsman Ranking in 1884 (he retained it in 1885 as well). He captained England in 1886 winning all three times – whitewashing the Australians 3–0. His last Test was in 1888, again as captain but losing this one.

Steel wrote the chapter on bowling in the cricket volume of the Badminton Library (1888). [3]

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

In 1884, Steel became a Christian through Dwight L. Moody's preaching, after C. T. Studd invited him to attend Moody's campaign meeting. [4]

He died on 15 June 1914 in London and is buried there at Kensal Green Cemetery. [5]

See also

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  1. "Steel, Allan Gibson (STL877AG)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  2. "India's fairy-tale T20 triumph". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 25 September 2017.
  3. "Allan Gibson Steel – A tribute". Wisden Cricketers' Almanack . 1915.
  4. Pollock, J. C. (1955). The Cambridge Seven. p. 70.
  5. Paths of Glory. Friends of Kensal Green Cemetery. 1997. p. 93.
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Arthur Shrewsbury
English national cricket captain
Succeeded by
Arthur Shrewsbury