BATSMAN OF THE YEAR - 1920

Elias Hendren

ELIAS HENDREN, the Middlesex batsman, will always have the pleasantest memories of the season of 1919. He was a first-rate cricketer before the war--a very dangerous bat and about the best outfield in the kingdom--but last summer he felt all his previous form far behind and took rank as an England batsman. In a Test Match team he would have been sure of his place. He was born on February 5th, 1889, so that he has still plenty of time before him. He began to play cricket as a child, with the nearest tree for a wicket, and at the age of fifteen he appeared for Turnham Green, a club that has a history going back sixty years. His first chance came when he played for a local eighteen at Chiswick Park against a team of England players got together by J. T. Hearne. Then through the influence of Mr. George Beldam and Mr. MacGregor he went to Lord's and the due course began his connection with Middlesex cricket by playing in colts' and second eleven matches. He made an encouraging start in 1909, though he did not kept his form up all through the season, and even then he was almost worth his place in the team for his fielding. His first big score for Middlesex was 134 not out against Sussex at Lord's in 1911, and in that year, for a side extremely rich in run-getters, he had an average of 35, scoring nearly 1,000 runs in 21 matches. The following year, without doing quite so well, he held his ground, and in 1913 and 1914 he had two capital seasons, his highest point so far in his career being reached in 1914, when he scored hundreds against Notts, Surrey and Yorkshire, and averaged 38. Long before this Mr. C. B. Fry had predicted that he might become the Tyldesley of Middlesex. The prophecy came true last summer, when Hendren led off in sensational style, making scores of 135 against the Australians and 214 against Yorkshire. In the nature of things he could not keep up this scale of run-getting, but he was in fine form all the summer.

Hendren cannot be described as quite a classic batsman. As Mr. Warner has pointed out, his bat in back play is not perfectly straight, but this criticism would have applied in times past to many men short in stature. Hendren has abundant gifts, combining with his fine hitting great patience and self-control. He is very modern in his methods, using the pull and the hook at every opportunity. So sure is his eye, however, that he is not often at fault. He has worked very hard for his position and is now beyond question one of our representative cricketers. An ardent footballer, he is one of the most prominent members of the Brentford team.

© John Wisden & Co