Obituary

Arthur Mailey

MAILEY, ARTHUR A., who died in hospital in Sydney on December 31, three days before his 82nd birthday, played as a leg-break and googly bowler in 21 Test matches for Australia between 1921 and 1926. In that time he took 99 wickets for his country, including 36 in the 1920-21 series against J. W. H. T. Douglas's England team. That, like his nine wickets for 121 runs in the second innings of the fourth Test at Melbourne, remains a record for an Australian bowler against England.

Though sometimes paying the penalty for uncertainty of length, Mailey at his best was a difficult bowler to play. He spun the ball considerably and was always prepared to "buy" his wickets. As Wilfred Rhodes said of him: "He never gave up. He would have nought for 100 and might finish with six for 130."

Mailey visited England twice with Australian sides. Under W. W. Armstrong in 1921, he took in all matches 146 wickets at an average cost of 19.61 and when H. L. Collins was captain in 1926 and the leg trouble suffered by the fast bowler, J. M. Gregory, thrust extra work upon him, Mailey dismissed 141 batsmen for 18.70 runs each. His most noteworthy achievement outside Tests was the taking of all ten wickets for 66 runs in the Gloucestershire second innings at Cheltenham in 1921, a performance which inspired the title of his autobiography in 1958: Ten for 66 And All That.

His slight physique did not prevent him from bowling for long spells and in 1926 his feats included 9 wickets for 86 runs v. Lancashire at Liverpool and 7 for 74 and 4 for 81 in the second meeting with Lancashire at Old Trafford; 7 for 110 and 8 for 83 v. Nottinghamshire; 6 for 45 and 5 for 86 v. Hampshire and 5 for 29 and 5 for 58 v. Northamptonshire. Mailey also toured South Africa in 1921, taking in the three Test matches 13 wickets for 11.76 runs apiece.

Mailey began his working life as a labourer, but became a writer on cricket of note and humour, a cartoonist and, late in his life, a painter in oils. After his playing days he made frequent visits to England, South Africa and New Zealand with touring Test teams.

© John Wisden & Co
 
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