CRICKETER OF THE YEAR - 1940

Brian Sellers

ARTHUR BRIAN SELLERS stands out as the most successful county captain of all time. Elected second in command of the Yorkshire eleven in 1932 he soon found himself virtual leader, because F. E. Greenwood could play very seldom. The honour seemed to come naturally; he was in charge in 25 matches without knowing defeat. From that happy experience Brian Sellers went on from strength to strength; now he can look back and see his name fully described "captain" with championship honours rewarding Yorkshire five times in seven seasons. Nothing like such a run of success has come to any county and, therefore, never has a captain known reward like this. Usually a captain, if figuring prominently in the public eye, has shown previous attractive powers with bat or ball, like W. R. Hammond, D. G. Bradman and S. M. J. Woods of high renown. Sellers may be overlooked in this class, but he holds records of his own. In 1934 he made the only century ever hit by an amateur for Yorkshire off Australian bowling, and his 204, two years later at Cambridge, stands as the only score of two hundred by a Yorkshire amateur.

Content with a place in the lower half of the batting order, Brian Sellers can put up a dogged defence or force the game according to the needs of his side. In 1937 he played for the Gentlemen at Lord's; next season he scored 1,143 runs with an average of 27.41. These facts indicate that Sellers can bat; but fielding gives him chief claims to fame on the practical side of the game. Near the wicket he is without a superior, and, if fancying exercise, he can judge a catch or "chase her" in the deep with certainty and vigour.

Tribute is paid to these characteristics in the Yorkshire section of the Almanack. It is of interest here to trace the route traversed by Brian Sellers to his present exalted position. Born at Keighley on March 5, 1907, he is the younger son of Arthur Sellers, a batsman with beautiful style and effective methods who first played for Yorkshire in 1893 and retains a keen interest in the county club as a vice-president and chairman of the cricket committee.

Inheriting the parental ability, Brian Sellers soon made a name at St. Peter's School, York, where such a noted Yorkshireman as Frank Mitchell, a captain of Cambridge and South Africa, learned his cricket. When sixteen Sellers captained the school eleven. This experience in boyhood was enlarged when in 1931 he led his town club in the Bradford League. So he entered the sterner fray of county cricket well versed in responsibility and knowledge of leadership.

Sellers has expressed the opinion that a clever bowler with ten good fieldsmen can "shut up the game" except when such batsmen as Bradman, Woolley, Leyland or Hammond take command. His contention is that such a bowler, rather than the watchful batsman, causes slow cricket. About Yorkshire he has spoken candidly--"We are out to win; if we cannot do so; good luck to our opponents, but we are not going to give them a chance if we can help it." That is the determined tone required to merit victory, and his true English character made Brian Sellers a welcome addition to the Test Selection Committee in March 1938.

© John Wisden & Co