Vic Wilson 1921-2008 June 6, 2008

Vic Wilson dies aged 87

Cricinfo staff


Vic Wilson and Fred Trueman on the way to winter nets at Headingley at the start of the 1952 season © Getty Images
 
Vic Wilson, who was Yorkshire's captain between 1960 and 1962, has died at his home at Yedingham. He was 87.

Wilson took charge of the side from Ronnie Burnet, who had led the county to the Championship the previous year, ending Surrey's seven-year domination. Yorkshire's first professional captain since 1882, under him they retained the title in 1960 and regained it in 1962, after which he stood down in favour of Brian Close.

"Wilson caused a sensation in the first Championship match of the season against Sussex by declaring with all ten first-innings wickets intact and finally his side lost the game after he had instructed his players to go for runs," Wisden noted, adding that the reason for the ultimate success was simple. "Every player pointed first and foremost to the skipper. He never lost faith in himself or his team."

After playing league cricket in the war, he started playing for Yorkshire's 2nd XI in 1946 and made his first-team debut in 1947. In 1948 he made his maiden hundred, against Surrey, and was awarded his county cap. Dropped in 1949, he did not gain a regular place until 1951, and that coincided with him being identified as a close fielder.

Wilson went on to make 21,650 runs at 31.33, including 29 hundreds. He was also a superb close fielder, holding 520 catches, a total only exceeded by four other players.

Such was England's strength in the 1950s that Wilson was never called on by England, although he did tour Australia in 1954-55 under his county team-mate, Len Hutton. However, so good was his reputation as a close fielder that he was 12th man in all five Tests.

"Vic was one of those sort of players that you would want in the trenches with you," Ray Illingworth said. "He was totally reliable, a man who gave 100% and never gave up fighting. If he was beaten by five balls in a row he would lose none of his determination when facing up to the sixth."

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