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Wisden Cricinfo staff
January 6, 2004
The former Test umpire Charlie Elliott died on New Year's Day, at the age of 91. Elliott played 275 matches for Derbyshire, mostly as an opening batsman, between 1932 and 1953, featuring in 19 games in their only Championship-winning year of 1936. He was at his best after the war, when he topped 1000 runs in a season in six consecutive summers (1947-52).
But it was as an umpire that Elliott really excelled. He joined the first-class list in 1956, and within a year stood in the first of his 42 Tests.
His first match - the first Test between England and West Indies at Edgbaston in 1957 - was steeped in controversy as Peter May and Colin Cowdrey repeatedly padded away Sonny Ramadhin to earn a draw. Ramadhin was never the same bowler again, and he always claimed that he should have had both batsmen leg-before dozens of times.
And his last - the second Test between England and Pakistan at Lord's in 1974 - was no less controversial, but not because of anything Elliott had done. Water leaked under the covers, and Pakistan were left fuming as Derek Underwood wreaked havoc with 13 for 71. Justice was done when rain washed out the final day with England on the brink of victory.
Following his retirement as an umpire at the end of that season, Elliott was appointed as an England selector, a post he held until 1981. He also retained his links with Derbyshire, serving as chairman of the cricket committee and then as their president in 1993 and 1994.
Elliott was also a useful footballer, representing Coventry City in 101 league and cup matches, as well as acting as caretaker-manager for six months in the 1954-55 season.
Until shortly before his death Elliott ran a guest-house in Nottingham, which was festooned with cricket memorabilia and popular with itinerant journalists.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.