Obituary, 2006

Peter Heine

ESPNcricinfo staff

HEINE, PETER SAMUEL, who died on February 4, 2005, aged 76, was a 6ft 4in brawny fast bowler who formed a potent new-ball attack for South Africa with Neil Adcock in the 1950s.

Peter Pollock, a later Test spearhead himself, observed that "Adcock was quicker, but Heine put the heat into the operation." Heine came late to cricket, only taking it up seriously at the age of 19 after colleagues in the fire service told him he had the build for fast bowling. He first made a mark in 1953-54, with seven for 29 for Orange Free State against the touring New Zealanders, and started his Test career - and the partnership with Adcock - in England in 1955. On his first day in international cricket he grabbed five for 60 at Lord's, ripping out Graveney, May, Compton, Barrington and Evans.

Opponents said Heine was not only interested in taking wickets. Jim Laker, in his 1960 book Over To Me, remembered how Trevor Bailey's forward-defensive prod particularly irked him: "Half-way between a sneer and a growl, Heine said `I want to hit you, Bailey... I want to hit you over the heart.' He meant every word of it. It was 100% pure malice." Laker himself did not escape: after hitting him on the shoulder, Heine menacingly enquired "Have I hurt you?" His team-mates called him Solly, insisted he was a kindly soul, really ("full of fun and nonsense", said Trevor Goddard), and pointed out that the essence of the operation was the ability of both Heine and Adcock to make the ball rear off a length. "They didn't have to bowl it halfway down the pitch to try and hit your head off," said Goddard. "When you played against Adcock and Heine your bottom hand was sore because it jarred against the bat all the time."

Heine played only 14 Tests, at a time when South Africa's commitments were few, and took 58 wickets. After the England tour, he joined Adcock at Transvaal, and played on for them until 1964-65, when he claimed five for 110 in his final match, against M. J. K. Smith's MCC team. "Age and a long lay-off had tamed Heine," wrote Charles Fortune, "but still left him his fine free action and good control." There was time for one last controversy, too: after receiving treatment in the dressing-room for an hour he returned to the field, came straight back on to bowl - to the displeasure of the tourists, who grumbled to the umpires - and took three wickets with the new ball.

© John Wisden & Co.