Tommy Greenhough 1931-2009 September 16, 2009

England legspinner Tommy Greenhough dies

Tommy Greenhough, who played four Tests for England between 1959 and 1960, has died at the age of 77 at a Rochdale nursing home.

Greenhough had the misfortune of being a legspinner with a decent googly in an era when the art was increasingly considered unfashionable. He extracted considerable turn, all coming at the end of a lengthy approach, and twice took 100 wickets in a season. His Tests, all played at home, came relatively early - three against India in 1959 and one the following summer against South Africa. In his second Test, at Lord's, he took 5 for 35 in India's first innings, and in all his 16 wickets cost only 22.31.

In between he temporarily - and briefly - retired after questions were asked about his tendency to follow through down the pitch. He went away and remedied his action, returning with the problem resolved.

Greenhough toured the West Indies in 1959-60 without making the Test team, and was included in the MCC squad against the Australians in 1961. But defensive finger-spinners were the vogue, and that, and his poor batting, meant he was considered a luxury. His claims were not helped by finger injuries.

He was taken on by Lancashire in 1950 as a 16-year-old but his career almost did not happen because he broke both ankles while working in a cotton mill the following winter. Lancashire decided not to renew his contract but he persuaded them to sign him on a pay-as-you-play contract. Greenhough made his debut in 1951, only to break a finger soon after in a Lancashire League match. He eventually played 255 first-class matches and taking 751 wickets at 22.37.

After retiring at the end of 1966 he worked for Rochdale Council and coached a local club side.

Martin Williamson is executive editor of Cricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and Africa