June 30, 2003

South Africa's Russell Endean dies at 79

Wisden CricInfo staff

Russell Endean, the former South African Test cricketer, died at his home in England on Saturday, aged 79.

Endean, who was born on May 31, 1924, played in 28 Tests between August 1951, when he opened the batting against England at The Oval and kept wicket for the one and only time, and March 1958. He made three centuries, with a highest score of 162 not out against Australia at the MCG in 1952-53.

That series was the zenith of his career. He scored 438 runs at 48.66 in the five Tests, to secure South Africa a 2-2 share of the series. It was the first time that South Africa had avoided defeat by Australia in eight rubbers.

"Russell had such a huge heart," said Roy McLean, South Africa's attacking middle-order batsman, and a team-mate and friend of Endean's. "He was a complete cricketer and played an integral part in South African cricket in the fifties."

The current South African side, on tour in England, expressed their condolences to the Endean family on hearing the news. "It's always sad when a highly respected player passes away," said coach Eric Simons in Kent.

"Russell Endean was part of a wonderful era when South Africa was a major force in Test cricket." Endean, whose wife Muriel died two years ago, is survived by his brother Howard, a daughter and two sons as well as three grandchildren.