RIP former Kent and England batsman March 1, 2005

Brian Luckhurst dies aged 66

Cricinfo staff

Brian Luckhurst: 1939 to 2005 © Getty Images
Brian Luckhurst, the former Kent and England batsman, died on Tuesday at the age of 66. Luckhurst, who was associated with Kent County Cricket Club for 51 years and ended up as their president, had been suffering from cancer of the oesophagus for some time.

Luckhurst's international career began with five unofficial Tests against the Rest of the World XI in 1970, after which he made the first of 21 appearances for England, against Australia on the Ashes tour of 1970-71. As Geoff Boycott's opening partner, he marked the occasion with 74 in the first innings, and made four centuries in 41 innings, including a top-score of 131, in the second Test at Perth. He had guts as well - two of his hundreds were made with a broken hand.

Primarily a dependable batsman who knew his limitations and stuck to them, Luckhurst was also a part-time left-arm spinner, whose solitary international wicket was the notable scalp of Gundappa Viswanath, and an outstanding allround fielder. His fleet-footedness against spin earned him a century apiece against India and Pakistan in 1971, although he was unlucky to be omitted from the subsequent tour of the subcontinent in 1972-73.

His final Test appearances came at the age of 35, against Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson on the ill-fated Ashes tour of 1974-75. After that, he concentrated his efforts on Kent's fortunes, a club he had joined at the age of 15, and was a member of a side which dominated county cricket in the 1970s, winning nine trophies outright and sharing the County Championship in 1977. In all, he played in 335 first team matches from 1958 to 1976 before retiring to become captain of the 2nd XI, club coach and later, the manager of the Ames Levett Sports Centre.

In 1985, he made an unexpected return to first-team duty when Kent suddenly found themselves one short against the Australian touring team. The 2003 Canterbury Cricket week was the 50th he had attended, and to mark the occasion he was presented with an inscribed silver salver by the club's chairman, Carl Openshaw.

"He was a great buddy and a loyal servant," Mike Denness, who captained Luckhurst in the Kent and England sides, said. "In cricketing terms, he probably didn't have a lot of natural gifts, but with the gifts he had, he worked so hard at it that he deserved to reach the top which he did by opening the batting for England."

His funeral will take place at Alkham Parish Church, Alkham, near Dover on Monday, March 14 at 1.30 pm, followed by a private cremation at Barham Crematorium at 3.00 pm and a reception at the St Lawrence Ground, Canterbury.