CRICKETER OF THE YEAR - 1899

Albert Trott

It was during the tour in Australia of Mr. Stoddart's first team during the winter of 1894-95 that Albert Trott's name first became familiar to cricketers in this country. His success against the English players in that memorable trip was nothing less than astonishing. In the eleven-a-side matches, with four not outs to help him, he scored 331 runs, with an average of 66, and as a bowler he came out fourth, taking nineteen wickets with an average of 24. In bowling he enjoyed only one conspicuous triumph, obtaining eight wickets in the second innings of the Englishmen in the test match at Adelaide, and contributing in a very marked degree to an overwhelming victory for the Australians by 382 runs. As a batsman, however, he was consistently successful. In the match at Adelaide he scored 38 and 73, both times not out, and in other games-two for All Australia and two for Victoria-his scores included 86, not out, 46 and 44. After the brilliant form he had shown, his inclusion in the team for England in 1896 was regarded in this country as certain but, for some reason which has never been properly explained, his claims were overlooked. In the light of what he has since done, there is something comical in the idea of his being passed over in favour of Graham, Eady, or even Donnan. Disappointed of a place in the Australian team, he came over to England in 1896, with the idea of qualifying for Middlesex, and was at once attached to the ground staff at Lord's. In half-a-dozen matches or so for the leading club he did fairly well, scoring 246 runs and taking twenty-six wickets. His doings, however, in 1896 gave only a mild suggestion of his true powers. In 1897 he bowled superbly for the M. C. C., taking forty-eight wickets in first-class matches with an average of 14 and meeting with extraordinary success, especially at Lord's, in matches of smaller importance. In the month of August everybody at Lord's was talking about his bowling, and the most sanguine hopes were entertained as to what he would do for Middlesex when, in 1898, he became qualified by residence for the county. As everyone knows, expectation was for once more than fulfilled, Trott's bowling, in conjunction with that of J. T. Hearne, being chiefly instrumental in gaining for Middlesex second place amongst the counties. His first appearance in county cricket was delayed for some time by a painful injury to his hand, sustained at Cambridge-though no in actual play-during the progress of a match between the University and the M. C. C., and when he was at last able to assist Middlesex he could not do himself justice. Gradually however, he regained the full use of his bowling hand, and thence forward he met with nothing but success. As a bowler Albert Trott is a true Australian, commanding as he does every variety of pace and device. Though his action is not at all like George Palmer's, he reminds one of that great bowler in the skill with which he will give a batsman several entirely different balls in the course of one over. He says that in bowling his curly ball he owes much to the practice he obtained as a pitcher at baseball. As a pitcher is allowed to throw as hard as he can at sixteen yards, it says a good deal for Trott that, despite his experience of base-ball, his bowling action should be unimpeachably fair. Born on the 6th of January, 1873, he is just now in the very prime of his cricket, and as he seems to have definitely thrown in his lot with Middlesex he is likely to play a very important part on our cricket grounds for a good many seasons to come.

© John Wisden & Co