Obituary, 2001

Phillip Carrick

CARRICK, PHILLIP, who died of leukaemia on January 11, 2000, aged 47, was captain of Yorkshire from 1987 to 1989. The highlight of his 24-year career with the club came when he led them to the Benson and Hedges Cup in 1987, perhaps Yorkshire's proudest day since they last won the County Championship 19 years earlier. "Fergie" Carrick was a slow left-arm bowler, all too acutely aware that neither he nor his teammates could live up to the club's great traditions. In 1975, he took 79 wickets, including eight in an innings. But though he could turn the ball quite sharply then, he was forced to become more and more defensive in his bowling, and his arm got lower and lower. He was also a robust late-order hitter with a good eye, once smashing 105 on a terrible Headingley pitch in the 1978 Roses match. A man with a passion for cricket, and Yorkshire cricket in particular, he spent much of his time as captain frowning and doing the double teapot when things went wrong - but it was a mark of his commitment rather than of any ill-nature. Even on the worst days, he was always ready to stay behind, chatting and theorising about the game and its strategies. In 1989, with the team struggling again, he wrote to the committee calling for the abolition of the policy of picking only Yorkshire-born players. He was turned down, and the affair was a factor in his loss of the captaincy, but his attempt helped pave the way for the end of the tradition three years later. Carrick played on until 1993, and was desperately keen to become the fifth player to reach 10,000 runs and 1,000 wickets for Yorkshire: he failed by just six runs. A Surrey player even dropped a catch to help him in the final match, but play had to be abandoned. He went on to captain Pudsey Congs in the Bradford League and was still playing in August 1999 when he became ill. By this time, he had reached the first-class umpires' reserve list as a prelude to possible full-time Obituary 1578 umpiring, the perfect job for such an enthusiast. Carrick's premature death came only two years after that of his predecessor as Yorkshire captain, David Bairstow. His funeral, in a packed Bradford Cathedral, was attended by five England captains. One of them, Mike Gatting, said: "There was never anywhere too far for Phil to go to see a friend, and we all felt the same about him." The coach, Ralph Middlebrook, said Carrick had helped hundreds of young players: "He may not have been as good a bowler as Wilfred Rhodes, but in terms of acumen I would put him in the same bracket."

© John Wisden & Co
 
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