CRICKETER OF THE YEAR - 1906

Levi George Wright

MR. LEVI GEORGE WRIGHT, so honourably associated for more than twenty years past with the Derbyshire eleven, was born on the 15th of January, 1862, and must therefore, despite his unimpaired powers, be classed among the veterans of the cricket field. A few years back the batsman of over forty was very much in evidence, but with Shrewsbury dead, Abel, William Gunn, and W. L. Murdoch on the retired list, and even W. G. Grace himself dropping out of serious cricket, times have changed. Indeed, during the season of 1905, L. G. Wright, as representing the wrong side of forty, stood out as the best of a very small band of batsmen, Captain Wynyard, Mr. C. E. de Trafford, Lord Hawke, and Alec Hearne being his chief rivals. Curiously enough, Wright has with advancing years gone on improving and last summer found him better than ever-a far finer bat than he was in his young days. In another respect his position in the cricket world at the present time is still more remarkable. As a rule the man of forty and upwards, even when capable of getting an unlimited number of runs, shows only too plainly in his fielding the effects of time, but Wright has as yet found no difficulty in getting down to the ball. He is almost as quick and sure as he was ten years ago, and is, indeed, as has been said before this in Wisden, almost the only English cricketer who gives the public any idea of what an extremely important position point was in E. M. Grace's great days. For the most part point has become a person of little consequence, but Wright holds firmly to the old traditions. He stands reasonably close to the batsman, and acts on the theory that it is his business to bring off catches and not merely to save runs. As a batsman he is good to look at without possessing any special grace of style. The word businesslike perhaps best describes him. On a good wicket he generally strikes the happy medium between rashness and over-caution. An aggressive player who lets very few fair chances escape him, he has when necessary the patience to wait for his runs, though anything in the nature of stonewalling is foreign to his temperament. Like other batsmen who learnt their cricket before pulling and hooking were reduced to something like a science, he gets a large proportion of his runs on the off-side, his cutting being particularly fine. In one respect he is old-fashioned, using forward play for purposes of defence to a far greater extent than is at all customary among the high-class batsmen of this generation. His scores show that his method has served him well, but it sometimes costs him his innings when the wicket is not really fast. There was a notable instance of this in Yorkshire and England match in September, Rhodes bowling him with a ball that a back player would probably have stopped without much difficulty. In judging L. G. Wright's career, one must bear in mind that he has always been associated with a struggling and unlucky team. The task of playing for a side so often beaten as Derbyshire must at times have been, to say the least, dispiriting. However, Wright has never allowed himself to be affected by ill-fortune. He is, in the fullest sense of the words, a good sportsman, and everyone who has the pleasure of knowing him will wish success to the testimonial that is now being got up on his behalf in recognition of his invaluable services to Derbyshire.

© John Wisden & Co