CRICKETER OF THE YEAR - 1922

JM Gregory

J.M. GREGORY, the greatest match-winning force among the cricketers now before the public, was literally discovered during the tour of the Australian Imperial Forces Team in this country in 1919. Though a member of a famous cricket family, he did nothing in his young days in Australia to foreshadow the fame that has come to him. In fact, he was not seen at all in matches of public interest. However, the tour of 1919 quickly revealed him as an all-round player of limitless possibilities. In the course of the summer he took 131 wickets for just over 16½ runs each, and scored 942 runs with an average of 29. English cricketers were impressed at once with the exceptional pace of his bowling. He was certainly faster than anyone else that season, and with his great height and long run he intimated batsmen to an extent not seen in this country since Knox was at his deadliest in 1906. As a right-handed bowler and left-handed batsman he was rather an unusual combination. He wound up the tour with some remarkable bowling at Scarborough and made such an impression that one member of C.I.Thornton's Eleven described him as probably a Test match winner. This opinion has been verified up to the hilt. When the Imperial Forces team played a series of matches in South Africa on their way home Gregory met with wonderful success as both batsman and bowler, having a batting average of 40 and taking forty-seven wickets for 12 runs apiece. He more than confirmed his form when he got back to Australia, scoring 122 and 102 for the Imperial Forces team against New South Wales, and bowling with great effect not only in that match, but also against Victoria. His position was assured as the best all-round man in Australia, and not for a day has he looked back. There was some idea of his giving up cricket and taking to farming, but happily for Australia he altered his plans. He had a chief share in bringing about the downfall of the M.C.C's team in Australia, and what he did here last summer everybody knows. To him, more than anyone else, is due Australia's unapproachable record of eight Test match victories in succession. Gregory was born on August 14th, 1895.

© John Wisden & Co