CRICKETER OF THE YEAR - 1904

AE Knight

A.E. KNIGHT.-To no batsman, perhaps, did the season of 1903 bring such an increase of reputation as to A. E. Knight. Recognised for several years as a first-rate county player, he took a great step in advance and earned a place among the leading batsmen of the day. On the strength of his consistently good play for Leicestershire, in the early part of the summer, he was picked by the M. C. C. Committee to appear at Lord's in July for Players against Gentlemen-the old match which for generations past has proved such an unfailing test of individuals merit. It was a splendid opportunity and Knight made the most of it, playing an almost faultless innings of 139. Possibly the importance of the occasion caused him to be a little over-cautious, but no one could blame him for that. It was the first chance he had ever had of proving himself something more than a county batsman, and he could not afford to run risks. He gave a thoroughly characteristic display, waiting with the utmost patience for the balls he could safely hit, and rarely or never making any bad stroke. Above everything else the innings was remarkable for fine cutting-very hard and perfectly safe. Knight is essentially an orthodox batsman. Not for him are the wild delights of the daring puller. The off-side is his battle ground, and he can utilise the greater part of it. His cut-beyond question his best hit-is of the square variety, the ball generally going past or very near the place where in old days point used to stand. By the way the famous old position in the field is in some danger of being abolished, There is no E. M. Grace among English cricketers to-day, and in his place we see a timid person standing fully twenty yards from the wicket. L. G. Wright, of Derbyshire, is almost alone in keeping up the old tradition. This, however, is a digression. Knight does not often attempt the very late cut through the slips, of which J. T. Brown is such a master. Knight was born of the 8th of October 1873, and has thus been rather slower than most first-class batsmen in getting to his best. He was always ambitious, however, sparing no pains to improve himself, and his present position may be said to be due rather to study and practice than to any exceptional natural gifts. It is told of him that when he first came out he much amused some of the Lancashire professionals by asking them if they thought he played Mold properly. He is a good batsman to look at, but his style would be prettier if it were less of an effort to him to play with a perfectly straight bat. His left elbow is always a little too much in evidence for his method to be really graceful.

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