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Thursday 24 April 1997

He was the best of the lot

By J J Warr (Former Middlesex captain, England bowler and former president of MCC)

ENGLAND have been served by some great batsmen - Sir Len Hutton, Peter May, Colin Cowdrey and others - but Denis was the best of the lot. He was a genius, blessed with a sixth sense, who was put on this earth to play sport and entertain those who delight in sport.

I will never forget the sheer joy Denis conveyed in those tough post-War years when he lit up our lives with his brilliant batting and sense of fun.

Just watching him, or reading about his exploits the following day, gave everybody a wonderful boost and helped restore a feeling of getting back to normality.

He loved a crowd, an audience, if you like, and considered it his duty to entertain, though he was also very competitive and loved to win. He was also an under-rated slow left-arm bowler, a fine footballer and a single-figures golfer, despite suffering knee and hip injuries.

Above all, he was a kind, loyal and generous friend. He was a star but he wore the mantle lightly. He could be untidy in the changing-room and very forgetful but we loved him for it.

It was my great fortune to be a close neighbour and, until his illness, we met regularly down our local, the Belgian Arms, to talk cricket and yarn. Even then he would never fail to brighten your day.

Source :: The Electronic Telegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/)

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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