Full name James Hugh Sinclair
Born October 16, 1876, Swellendam, Cape Province
Died February 23, 1913, Yeoville, Johannesburg, Transvaal (aged 36 years 130 days)
Major teams South Africa, London County, Transvaal
Batting style Right-hand bat
Bowling style Right-arm fast-medium
|Test debut||South Africa v England at Port Elizabeth, Feb 13-14, 1896 scorecard|
|Last Test||Australia v South Africa at Sydney, Mar 3-7, 1911 scorecard|
|First-class span||1892/93 - 1911/12|
Jimmy Sinclair did more than anyone to put South African cricket on the map. Tall and powerfully built, he liked nothing more than to hit the ball hard or bowl as fast as he could. In 1898-99 he scored 86 (as an opener) at Johannesburg and followed with a brilliant 106 at Cape Town (South Africa's first Test hundred) against the all-conquering England side led by Lord Hawke. At Cape Town he also took 6 for 26 and 3 for 63. In 1901 he toured England and cemented his reputation as a big hitter but failed to put together many innings of substance - the same could be said of his visits in 1904 and 1907. But as a bowler he excelled on the green wickets, with his high action to the fore, and he took 107 wickets in 1901 and 100 in 1904. He was fortunate to make the 1901 tour - he was captured by the Boers (the Boer war was taking place) and had to escape from a POW camp and make his way to safety behind the British lines. At home his form remained breathtaking. In 1902-03 he scored back-to-back centuries against Australia at Johannesburg and Cape Town - his second hundred taking 80 minutes - and in 1905 grabbed 21 wickets against England. By 1907 South Africa were dominated by their quartet of googly bowlers, and he was largely marginalised, although his slogging continued to thrill. Against England in 1909-10 and Australia the following winter he struggled to impose himself with either bat or ball, and he died in 1913, aged 36. Sinclair not only excelled at cricket; he played rugby for South Africa and England, and was also a skilled hockey and football player.
Jimmy Sinclair, who died at Yeoville on February 23rd, was one of the first men who made South African cricket famous. He came into prominence during the tour of Lord Hawke"s team in South Africa in the winter of 1898-99. In that tour the Englishmen played seventeen matches, of which they won fifteen and drew two. A couple of defeats at Matjesfontein and Cape Town were suffered in scratch games outside the regular programme. Little in the cricket of the South African players at that time suggested the rapid development that followed, but Sinclair met with brilliant success. Playing for South Africa at Johannesburg in February, 1899, he scored 86, and at Cape Town in April he did even better, playing a brilliant innings of 106, and taking nine wickets - six for 26 runs and three for 63. These two matches established his reputation as the best all-round man in South Africa. Coming to England with the South African team in 1901, he fulfilled expectations as a bowler, but his batting was disappointing. Despite his great hitting powers he made only 742 runs during the tour, with an average of 19.5. On his next visit to England, with the South African team in 1904, Mr. Sinclair again bowled very well, taking 100 wickets, but it became evident that as a batsman he was little more than a big hitter. His last visit to England, was with the famous side of 1907. This time he was not wanted much as a bowler, being quite overshadowed by Schwarz, Vogler, Faulkner, and Gordon White. In batting, too, he had quite a modest record, but on occasions his hitting was tremendous, notably in a remarkable match against Sussex at Brighton. The South Africans won by 39 runs after starting the game with a paltry score of 49. In their second innings they made 327, Sinclair hitting up 92 out of 135 in an hour and forty minutes. As a bowler Sinclair, at his best, was excellent, combining a nice variety of pace with a very high delivery. Among his best feats with the ball in this country may be mentioned:-
|8 for 32||London County v. Derbyshire, at the Crystal Palace||1901|
|7 for 98||South Africans v. Surrey, at the Oval||1901|
|13 for 153|
|7 for 54||South Africans v. Yorkshire, at Harrogate||1901|
|7 for 20||South Africans v. Gloucestershire at Clifton||1901|
|13 for 73|
|8 for 69||South Africans v. Oxford University at Oxford||1904|
|7 for 75||South Africans v. Gloucestershire, at Bristol||1904|
In Test Matches against England and Australia he made 1069 runs, with an average of 23.23, and took 63 wickets at a cost of 31.68 runs each. His hundreds were 106 v. England at Cape Town in 1898-9, and 101 and 104 v. Australia, at Johannesburg and Cape Town respectively, in 1902-3. In making the last-mentioned score he hit ten 6"s and eight 4"s. In February, 1897, he scored 301 not out for Villagers v. Roodeport, at Johannesburg, an innings which still ranks as the record for South Africa.
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