BATSMAN OF THE YEAR - 1890

Robert Abel

ROBERT ABEL, of Surrey, was born on November 30, 1859, and his present high position among professional cricketers may be described as a triumph of perseverance. When he was first tried for Surrey in the season of 1881, he certainly gave little indication of the ability as a batsman he has since developed, his chief recommendation being his smartness in the field. He had learned his cricket, such as it was, at Southwark Park , without the advantage of any particular coaching, and naturally it took him some time to accustom himself to first-class company. He steadily improved, however, and the Surrey executive, in retaining him through a period of comparative ill fortune, were not long in finding an adequate reward. 1883 was his first noteworthy season for the county; in twenty-four matches that year he scored 765 runs, with an average of 21.9. Since then his career, as everyone knows, has been one of constant success, and in the season of 1888 he had the honour of coming out first amongst the professional batsmen of the year, scoring in first-class matches 1,323 runs, with an average of 31.21. This performance, a remarkable one in any season, was little less than extraordinary when we remember that the season of 1888 was one of the wettest and worst that English cricketers have ever experienced. Abel visited Australia as a member of Mr. Vernon's eleven in the winter of 1886-87; and batted with splendid success for Major Wharton's team in South Africa in 1888-89.

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