A tale of two paths
A career of two halves for the lean and gangling Australian Ian Redpath, who was born today. In his first 33 Tests he made one century and averaged 36. In his last 33 he hit seven centuries and averaged 50. Redpath started out as a bit of a dasher but soon turned himself into something of a stonewaller - his one-day international average was a mere 9 - and he didn't hit a six until his penultimate Test, against West Indies in Adelaide in 1975-76, when he got so giddy that he immediately cracked another one. Redpath was later awarded an MBE, and upon retirement resumed a career in antique-dealing and went on to coach Victoria.
The younger Benaud is born. John Benaud was always going to be overshadowed by his older brother Richie, but he forged a good career for himself as a muscular, destructive batsman for New South Wales. He played three Tests too, all in 1972-73; in his second appearance he thrashed 142 against Pakistan at the MCG, a furious innings played in the knowledge that he had already been left out of the next Test. He was also once banned for two matches for wearing the wrong shoes. An astute captain of his state, Benaud later became a national selector during Australia's renaissance under the captaincy of Allan Border.
Australia's first wicketkeeper is born. Jack Blackham's presence in the inaugural Test, in Melbourne in 1876-77, meant that Fred Spofforth did not play, in protest - he wanted Billy Murdoch behind the stumps instead - but Blackham soon established himself as a keeper of rare subtlety and class. He frequently stood up to the quicker bowlers without a long stop, and only Bert Oldfield, Ian Healy and Adam Gilchrist have made more than his 24 Test stumpings for Australia. Blackham could scrap down the order, too, and made a couple of fifties in Australia's win over England in Sydney in 1882-83. In all, he played in seven different Test series in England, once as captain, in 1893. He died in Melbourne in 1932.
More problems for Herschelle Gibbs, who was fined along with four of his team-mates and the team physiotherapist Craig Smith after admitting to smoking marijuana in a hotel room in Antigua during their West Indies tour. It completed a bad 12 months for Gibbs: as well as being banned for six months for his part in the match-fixing scandal, he was given a suspended sentence for going to a nightclub on the eve of a one-day international against Australia.