CRICKETER OF THE YEAR - 1908

A Ernest Vogler

A. ERNEST VOGLER, who, in the opinion of Mr. R. E. Foster and many other batsmen who have played against him, is the best bowler in the world at the present time, was born at Swartwater near Queenstown, in Cape Colony, on November 28th, 1876. He spent his boyhood at Durban and, as one learns from the South African Cricketers" Annual, first made a name for himself when he went with the Natal team to Johannesburg in November, 1903. A few months later he went to live in Pretoria where he steadily improved. In 1905 he made up his mind to adopt cricket as a profession, and in that year he came to England with the intention of qualifying for Middlesex. He obtained an engagement on the M.C.C."s ground staff at Lord"s, and in the season of 1905 played in three of the Club"s first-class matches. He took nine wickets for 21 runs each, but little did anyone dream at that time of the position that was in store for him. However, in 1906 he made a distinct mark, bowling on several occasions for the M. C. C. with brilliant success. Taking part in ten matches out of eleven he obtained 58 wickets. Between his two seasons for the M. C. C., he went back to South Africa and played in the Test Matches against the English team. In these games, however, he was not specially successful, being overshadowed as a bowler by Schwarz, Faulkner, and S. J. Snooke. There was some feeling in 1906 about his qualifying for Middlesex, that county having already two Colonial players in Trott and Tarrant. Happily any friction that might have arisen was avoided, a position being found for him at home by Mr. Abe Bailey. It thus happened that he returned to England with the South Africans in 1907 and, as everyone knows divided the bowling honours of the tour with Schwarz. He proved himself a bowler of the highest class, and earned golden opinions from all the batsmen who met him. He can bowl the off-break with a leg-break action, but upon the leg-break he places his chief reliance. It is, however, the skill with which he can put on the reverse break, combined with his variations of pace, that makes him so extremely difficult and deceptive. He has gained immensely in command over his pitch since he played for the M. C. C. in 1906. Over and above his bowling he is a fine punishing bat and a first-rate field.

© John Wisden & Co
 
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