South Africa news January 6, 2013

Neil Adcock dies aged 81

ESPNcricinfo staff
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Neil Adcock, the former South Africa fast bowler, has died at the age of 81 in Howick, KwaZulu-Natal. He had pneumonia and was also suffering from cancer for a long period of time.

Adcock played 26 Tests for South Africa between 1953 and 1962, and took 104 wickets at an average of 21.10. After he took 26 wickets in a Test series in England in 1960, Wisden honoured him as one of their five Cricketers of the Year in 1961. He played 99 first-class games, taking 405 wickets at 17.25 apiece. After retiring, Adcock became part of SABC's radio commentary team.

"Neil was one of the great fast bowlers during what was truly a golden era of fast bowling," Cricket South Africa's acting chief executive Jacques Faul said. "At that time England had Trueman, Statham and Tyson; Australia had Lindwall, Miller and Davidson; and the West Indies had Hall and Gilchrist. Neil was right up with the best of them.

"On behalf of the CSA family and fans around the country I extend our condolences to his wife, Maureen, his family and friends."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • DeckChairand6pack on January 6, 2013, 16:06 GMT

    RIP Neil Adcock. Condolences to your family during this sad time.

    It is easy to take for granted the culture of excellence that exists within SA fast bowling today, but these things do not happen by magic. It is great gentlemen and competitors like Neil Adcock who perform the feats and create the traditions for the next generation to aspire to. Your partnership with Peter Heine, sadly now also passed, was the stuff of legends and you were, simply, the fastest gun in town.

    Very nice piece Lillian. I was not aware of this tragic event but will certainly find the time to read up on this and the game.

  • Gevelsis on January 6, 2013, 15:20 GMT

    Brings a tear to hear of Neil's passing. I was at Ellis Park when he felled Sutcliffe, who was taken to hospital. With the rail crash in mind, it seemed things could get no worse for NZ as wickets tumbled. But Sutcliffe was heroic and fearless on his return, head wrapped in a big white bandage, and played a awesome, defiant knock. Tall, blond, wiry, Neil Adcock had a long, fluent run-up, his right arm straight at his side, ending in a circular whirl as he wound up to deliver. Unforgettable.

    Also remember Adcock and Heine peppering Richardson and Bailey on the first morning at the Wanderers in 1957, when the field seemed to shine like a mirror in the blazing summer sun. Richardson scored the slowest-ever century in Tests that day. Neil's peak though was in 1960, on the tour to England when he carried the attack in a weak Springbok team, taking 69 wickets at 22.57 in first class matches.

    Memories of Neil will never fade. RIP

  • LillianThomson on January 6, 2013, 11:42 GMT

    The passing of this magnificent fast bowler tugs also at our heartstrings in New Zealand.

    It was Adcock's fiery bowling in 1953-54 which was the driving force behind the legendary Christmas Test at Ellis Park. He battered NZ's batsmen, and the star player Bert Sutcliffe eventually returned after having retired hurt, swathed in bandages, to prop up the Kiwi innings. He was eventually partnered by the grieving Bob Blair, whose fiancee had been killed in our worst ever rail disaster immediately prior to the day's play. Blair had already withdrawn from the match, and his act of bravery in coming out to help his team-mates resist the rampant Adcock is a treasured national memory for us.

    So as soon as I heard of Adcock's passing my thoughts turned to the Tangiwai rail disaster. For Kiwis his name will always be a big part of our "Scott of the Antarctic" story of gallant defeat on the cricket pitch but also reminds us of the awful loss of life that day.

  • on January 7, 2013, 14:09 GMT

    RIP Neil. What a great team SA had in those days. Brings back memories of Jackie McGlew, John Waite, Roy McClean, Hugh Tayfield, Peter Heinie, Ken Funston and Trevor Goddard.The greatest test cricket was played against the MCC with Dennis Compton, Ted Dexter, Colin Cowdery, Godfrey Evans, Len Hutton, Fred Tyson, Fred Trueman, Staham, Loader, Jim Laker ,Tony Locke and the great Peter May. What great teams they were.

  • on January 7, 2013, 12:11 GMT

    Gutted. Neil Adcock is one of my favourite all-time bowlers. He was simply blindingly deadly and accurate. He now go and bowl in the greats matches up in the sky. RIP Neil, you will be missed.

  • Hammond on January 7, 2013, 9:09 GMT

    My old man told me about this bloke in a way that made me shiver. Sheer pace and frightening bounce. Gone to play in that big test match in the sky. RIP.

  • B.C.G on January 7, 2013, 7:17 GMT

    A very underrated bowler.Even Neil Harvey;South Africa's previous tormentor struggled to face him.He was on par with Trueman,Statham,Hall,Davidson.Yet he barely gets a mention.

  • Cpt.Meanster on January 6, 2013, 20:38 GMT

    I don't know much about Neil Adcock BUT a life lost is always depressing. R.I.P and condolences to his family.

  • LazloWoodbine on January 6, 2013, 20:08 GMT

    @Lillian... My late dad was at that Ellis Park Test and never spoke about Bob Blair's courage without having a tear in his eye. As a personal friend of the late Peter Heine my dad also met Neil (I'm named after him, in fact) and was hugely impressed by his generous spirit and wonderful nature. We've lost a true gentleman.

  • Beertjie on January 6, 2013, 18:35 GMT

    Sadly never saw the great bloke - he wasn't in the team which I saw in my first test 51 years ago (also v NZ), but played in the next two (his final tests). Somewhere between Peter Pollock and Procter I think. Truly worthy point you make about fast bowling in SA, @DeckChairand6pack on (January 06 2013, 16:06 PM GMT) RIP Neil Adcock.

  • DeckChairand6pack on January 6, 2013, 16:06 GMT

    RIP Neil Adcock. Condolences to your family during this sad time.

    It is easy to take for granted the culture of excellence that exists within SA fast bowling today, but these things do not happen by magic. It is great gentlemen and competitors like Neil Adcock who perform the feats and create the traditions for the next generation to aspire to. Your partnership with Peter Heine, sadly now also passed, was the stuff of legends and you were, simply, the fastest gun in town.

    Very nice piece Lillian. I was not aware of this tragic event but will certainly find the time to read up on this and the game.

  • Gevelsis on January 6, 2013, 15:20 GMT

    Brings a tear to hear of Neil's passing. I was at Ellis Park when he felled Sutcliffe, who was taken to hospital. With the rail crash in mind, it seemed things could get no worse for NZ as wickets tumbled. But Sutcliffe was heroic and fearless on his return, head wrapped in a big white bandage, and played a awesome, defiant knock. Tall, blond, wiry, Neil Adcock had a long, fluent run-up, his right arm straight at his side, ending in a circular whirl as he wound up to deliver. Unforgettable.

    Also remember Adcock and Heine peppering Richardson and Bailey on the first morning at the Wanderers in 1957, when the field seemed to shine like a mirror in the blazing summer sun. Richardson scored the slowest-ever century in Tests that day. Neil's peak though was in 1960, on the tour to England when he carried the attack in a weak Springbok team, taking 69 wickets at 22.57 in first class matches.

    Memories of Neil will never fade. RIP

  • LillianThomson on January 6, 2013, 11:42 GMT

    The passing of this magnificent fast bowler tugs also at our heartstrings in New Zealand.

    It was Adcock's fiery bowling in 1953-54 which was the driving force behind the legendary Christmas Test at Ellis Park. He battered NZ's batsmen, and the star player Bert Sutcliffe eventually returned after having retired hurt, swathed in bandages, to prop up the Kiwi innings. He was eventually partnered by the grieving Bob Blair, whose fiancee had been killed in our worst ever rail disaster immediately prior to the day's play. Blair had already withdrawn from the match, and his act of bravery in coming out to help his team-mates resist the rampant Adcock is a treasured national memory for us.

    So as soon as I heard of Adcock's passing my thoughts turned to the Tangiwai rail disaster. For Kiwis his name will always be a big part of our "Scott of the Antarctic" story of gallant defeat on the cricket pitch but also reminds us of the awful loss of life that day.

  • on January 7, 2013, 14:09 GMT

    RIP Neil. What a great team SA had in those days. Brings back memories of Jackie McGlew, John Waite, Roy McClean, Hugh Tayfield, Peter Heinie, Ken Funston and Trevor Goddard.The greatest test cricket was played against the MCC with Dennis Compton, Ted Dexter, Colin Cowdery, Godfrey Evans, Len Hutton, Fred Tyson, Fred Trueman, Staham, Loader, Jim Laker ,Tony Locke and the great Peter May. What great teams they were.

  • on January 7, 2013, 12:11 GMT

    Gutted. Neil Adcock is one of my favourite all-time bowlers. He was simply blindingly deadly and accurate. He now go and bowl in the greats matches up in the sky. RIP Neil, you will be missed.

  • Hammond on January 7, 2013, 9:09 GMT

    My old man told me about this bloke in a way that made me shiver. Sheer pace and frightening bounce. Gone to play in that big test match in the sky. RIP.

  • B.C.G on January 7, 2013, 7:17 GMT

    A very underrated bowler.Even Neil Harvey;South Africa's previous tormentor struggled to face him.He was on par with Trueman,Statham,Hall,Davidson.Yet he barely gets a mention.

  • Cpt.Meanster on January 6, 2013, 20:38 GMT

    I don't know much about Neil Adcock BUT a life lost is always depressing. R.I.P and condolences to his family.

  • LazloWoodbine on January 6, 2013, 20:08 GMT

    @Lillian... My late dad was at that Ellis Park Test and never spoke about Bob Blair's courage without having a tear in his eye. As a personal friend of the late Peter Heine my dad also met Neil (I'm named after him, in fact) and was hugely impressed by his generous spirit and wonderful nature. We've lost a true gentleman.

  • Beertjie on January 6, 2013, 18:35 GMT

    Sadly never saw the great bloke - he wasn't in the team which I saw in my first test 51 years ago (also v NZ), but played in the next two (his final tests). Somewhere between Peter Pollock and Procter I think. Truly worthy point you make about fast bowling in SA, @DeckChairand6pack on (January 06 2013, 16:06 PM GMT) RIP Neil Adcock.

  • edgie on January 6, 2013, 15:44 GMT

    aggree tommytucker, one of the few pieces Lillian has written which makes sense, and has facts in it. Was not alive when Neil played, but have heard and read enough bout him to know he was a really good and talented cricket. Rest in Peace Neil, and for Lillian, hope this is a start of some fact-based, balanced writing from you. No-one is saying the proteas are god-like in their current status, but they aer playing better cricket than any other test playing nation at present.

  • TommytuckerSaffa on January 6, 2013, 15:22 GMT

    Lillian, one of your best pieces of writing, especially as its not battering SA.

    RIP Neil Adcock, swifty journey to heaven.

  • on January 6, 2013, 12:51 GMT

    Well written Lillian. I was not old enough to have witnessed he tragedy or the match, however I have read the excellent literature on it many times over, and each time brings a tear to the eye. Sutcliffe well gone, Adcock sadly passing today, Bob Blair has outlived them both. RIP Neil Adcock.

  • on January 6, 2013, 12:51 GMT

    Well written Lillian. I was not old enough to have witnessed he tragedy or the match, however I have read the excellent literature on it many times over, and each time brings a tear to the eye. Sutcliffe well gone, Adcock sadly passing today, Bob Blair has outlived them both. RIP Neil Adcock.

  • TommytuckerSaffa on January 6, 2013, 15:22 GMT

    Lillian, one of your best pieces of writing, especially as its not battering SA.

    RIP Neil Adcock, swifty journey to heaven.

  • edgie on January 6, 2013, 15:44 GMT

    aggree tommytucker, one of the few pieces Lillian has written which makes sense, and has facts in it. Was not alive when Neil played, but have heard and read enough bout him to know he was a really good and talented cricket. Rest in Peace Neil, and for Lillian, hope this is a start of some fact-based, balanced writing from you. No-one is saying the proteas are god-like in their current status, but they aer playing better cricket than any other test playing nation at present.

  • Beertjie on January 6, 2013, 18:35 GMT

    Sadly never saw the great bloke - he wasn't in the team which I saw in my first test 51 years ago (also v NZ), but played in the next two (his final tests). Somewhere between Peter Pollock and Procter I think. Truly worthy point you make about fast bowling in SA, @DeckChairand6pack on (January 06 2013, 16:06 PM GMT) RIP Neil Adcock.

  • LazloWoodbine on January 6, 2013, 20:08 GMT

    @Lillian... My late dad was at that Ellis Park Test and never spoke about Bob Blair's courage without having a tear in his eye. As a personal friend of the late Peter Heine my dad also met Neil (I'm named after him, in fact) and was hugely impressed by his generous spirit and wonderful nature. We've lost a true gentleman.

  • Cpt.Meanster on January 6, 2013, 20:38 GMT

    I don't know much about Neil Adcock BUT a life lost is always depressing. R.I.P and condolences to his family.

  • B.C.G on January 7, 2013, 7:17 GMT

    A very underrated bowler.Even Neil Harvey;South Africa's previous tormentor struggled to face him.He was on par with Trueman,Statham,Hall,Davidson.Yet he barely gets a mention.

  • Hammond on January 7, 2013, 9:09 GMT

    My old man told me about this bloke in a way that made me shiver. Sheer pace and frightening bounce. Gone to play in that big test match in the sky. RIP.

  • on January 7, 2013, 12:11 GMT

    Gutted. Neil Adcock is one of my favourite all-time bowlers. He was simply blindingly deadly and accurate. He now go and bowl in the greats matches up in the sky. RIP Neil, you will be missed.

  • on January 7, 2013, 14:09 GMT

    RIP Neil. What a great team SA had in those days. Brings back memories of Jackie McGlew, John Waite, Roy McClean, Hugh Tayfield, Peter Heinie, Ken Funston and Trevor Goddard.The greatest test cricket was played against the MCC with Dennis Compton, Ted Dexter, Colin Cowdery, Godfrey Evans, Len Hutton, Fred Tyson, Fred Trueman, Staham, Loader, Jim Laker ,Tony Locke and the great Peter May. What great teams they were.