August 26, 2003

A champion captain

Wisden CricInfo staff

All Today's Yesterdays - August 26 down the years

August 25 | August 27

Birth of the Yorkshire left-hander David Byas, who captained them to their first Championship since 1968, one of the longest gaps between titles. In 1995 Byas was the first batsman to reach 1000 runs, scored 1913 in all, and was made 12th man against West Indies at The Oval. But 2001 was his proudest year. The title was clinched against Glamorgan at Scarborough, so Byas's century in the match was a kind of triumphant homecoming: he was once the Scarborough club's youngest-ever captain. The 2001 triumph appeared to provide a fitting finale to Byas's illustrious career and he retired to his remote Yorkshire farm. But the story doesn't end there: the spring of 2002 saw an extraordinary twist when Byas joined Yorkshire's Roses rivals, Lancashire, for one final farewell season.

Death of the man who captained West Indies to their first series win in England. John Goddard led the famous side of 1950 (Rae and Stollmeyer, Ramadhin and Valentine, the three Ws), which won 3-1 after losing the first Test. Goddard had less success when he was recalled as captain in England in 1957: West Indies lost 3-0, and he didn't play Test cricket again.

Another 3-1 win for West Indies in England - under an even more famous leader. Frank Worrell, the first black player to captain West Indies on a regular basis, led them to an eight-wicket victory at The Oval which gave them the series 3-1. It was Worrell's final Test: within four years he had died, universally mourned, from leukaemia. West Indies and Australia now play for the Sir Frank Worrell Trophy.

Birth of West Indies batsman Joe Solomon, whose superb long-range throw, with only one stump to aim at, ended the famous Tied Test at Brisbane in 1960-61. In the next Test at Melbourne, he was out hit wicket when his cap fell on his stumps. Although he scored only one Test century (100 not out at Delhi in 1958-59), his lower-order runs were often crucial.

Four days after his 28th birthday, the inimitable PGH Fender scored the fastest authentic first-class century in terms of time spent at the crease: 35 minutes for Surrey v Northants at Northampton in 1920. Slim and moustachioed, Percy George captained Surrey imaginatively throughout most of the 1920s, and in many people's opinion should have done the job for England instead of playing in only 13 Tests.

Better known as a bowler, Robin Hobbs came close to matching Fender's record when he scored a century in 44 minutes for Essex against the Australians at Chelmsford. Hobbs was the last specialist legspinner to play for England (1967-71) before Ian Salisbury in 1992.

Playing against Middlesex at Bristol, Gloucestershire's spiky slow left-armer Charlie Parker took his second hat-trick of the match. The fourth of only seven players to have achieved this feat, he also took 10 for 79 against Somerset on the same ground in 1921. He would have played more than one Test for England (against Australia at Old Trafford in 1921) if he hadn't allegedly spoken his mind to one of the selectors. His 3278 first-class wickets put him third on the alltime list.

Gloucestershire v Middlesex at Bristol again - and Frank Tarrant finished with 13 wickets for 67 as the visitors won the match on the first day. Gloucestershire were all out for 33 and 81, and lost by an innings to a side that scored only 145.

Birth of a son who is matching his father by doing things his own way. Liam Botham, son of Ian, played cricket for Hampshire, forced his way into the England rugby union squad in 2001, and made his rugby league debut in 2003.

Other birthdays
1854 Arnold Fothergill (England)
1890 Tommy Andrews (Australia)
1908 Bill Hunt (Australia)
1909 Eric Davies (South Africa)
1970 Brett Schultz (South Africa)