CRICKETER OF THE YEAR 1928

Roger Blunt

ROGER CHARLES BLUNT, the best all-round Cricketer of the New Zealand team, although born at Durham on November 3, 1900, can fairly claim to be a New Zealander, for he was taken out to that country when only six months old. He went to school at Christ's College, Christchurch, and was under T. C. Lowry's captaincy in the school eleven for two years. Originally he played as a slow leg break bowler, but when after two seasons tried as one of the opening pair of batsmen he, to a large extent, dropped his bowling. In 1925-26 he went to Australia as a member of the New Zealand team visiting that country. As there was no slow bowler in the side he again took up bowling and with such success that he obtained more wickets than anyone else in the course of the tour. In the field he for some time stood in the slips, but in England last summer his chief work in that department was at cover-point and longfield.

Blunt's reputation as a batsman had preceded him to this country, and if he did not reach three-figures in a first-class match until nearly the end of the tour, he at any rate played so well as to establish himself as one of the leading run-getters of the side. Scores of 52 and 51 in the opening first-class match against the M.C.C. at Lord's gave clear indication of his ability, and he finished the tour in great style with 131 and 63 not out against H. D. G. Leveson-Gower's eleven at Scarborough. He wound up with an aggregate of over 1,500 runs in first-class matches, and a total of 78 wickets.

His action in bowling leg breaks and googlies was not as easy as might have been desired, but he could maintain an excellent length with a deceptive flight. Moreover, on many occasions his concealment of the googlie was so clever that this particular delivery became much more effective than if he had exploited it to a greater extent. Those who bowled against him in this country expressed the opinion that he was one of the hardest men on the side to get out, for he followed the flight of the ball so closely that he was rarely troubled by change of pace. Anything in the nature of an overpitched ball he could hit with great power and, while he had many strokes at his command, driving was probably the best feature of his work as a batsman. His methods, sound and orthodox, were such as to encourage the belief that he will achieve even greater success in the future.

© John Wisden & Co