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Full name George Edmead Hart
Born January 13, 1902, Harlington, Middlesex
Died April 11, 1987, Raleigh Park, Barnstaple, Devon (aged 85 years 88 days)
Major teams Middlesex
Batting style Right-hand bat
Bowling style Right-arm medium
George Hart may well, in the course of a fourteen-year career for Middlesex have been twelfth man more often than any other cricketer. For good measure, he had also acted as twelfth man for England in three Tests at Lord's, a position for which his faultless fielding admirably qualified him. Traditionally Middlesex had relied on a small staff of professionals supported by an apparently endless supply of talented amateurs, few of whom could play regularly. If in the 1920s and 1930s there was little sign of this supply drying up, the amount of time that the amateurs could give decreased rapidly. Hence the value of a professional such as Hart, who was always available to fill a vacancy, could field anywhere, and might make a few valuable runs at a crisis. Moreover, he was a good cutter and off-driver and was constantly raising hopes of developing into something better; hopes that were never fully realised.
In 1928 he appeared in twenty matches and made 68 badly needed runs against Surrey at Lord's, but his aggregate was only 316 and his average 13.73. At last in 1934 he seemed to have made the grade. In consecutive matches at Lord's he scored 121 against Hampshire and 80 and 107 against Sussex, and though he had many failures later, he made 976 runs with an average of 24.40. He would doubtless have reached his thousand but for missing the last three matches through injury. By now he was regularly opening the batting, frequently with Price, the wicket-keeper, who a few years before had been No.11. In 1936 he again topped 900 runs, but after that, with Edrich and Compton available, he reverted once more to being a regular twelfth man. In 1937 he made an admirable 118 against Kent at Lord's and in 1938 scored his fourth and last hundred, 105 against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge. In 1939 he and Hulme received a joint benefit and were not re-engaged, and from 1940 to 1964 he was the professional at Shrewsbury. Altogether, in 198 matches, 194 of them for Middlesex, he scored 5,786 runs with an average of 20.81.
Wisden Cricketers' Almanack
Pataudi Jr caught a young English fan's fancy for his princely ways and his heroic batting