Frank Mooney 1921-2004 March 9, 2004

Frank Mooney dies aged 82

Wisden Cricinfo staff

Frank Mooney, who played 14 Tests for New Zealand between 1949 and 1953-54 and went on to become a national selector, has died in Wellington at the age of 82.

On the field Mooney was taciturn, almost never smiling and rarely speaking; but away from the middle he was the life and soul of the party, and his endless socialising and tireless dancing earned him the nickname "Starlight".

A neat, undemonstrative wicketkeeper, he made his debut for Wellington in 1941-42, and in 1943-44 played for a New Zealand XI against the NZ Services side. But his batting was limited, and he was generally considered to be second or third choice for the national side.

His selection as first-choice wicketkeeper for the 1949 tour of England was, therefore, a surprise - dockside workers in Dunedin went on strike, preferring the claims of Otago's George Mills - but he enjoyed a successful trip, playing in all three Tests and scoring a hundred against MCC at Lord's.

He played against England at home in 1951, West Indies in 1951-52 and South Africa in 1952-53, and did well enough to keep rivals out of the reckoning. In 1953-54 he toured South Africa, and despite being hampered by a finger injury sustained while exercising on the voyage from New Zealand, he played in all five Tests. He retired at the end of the 1954-55 domestic season.