Arthur Brian Sellers
March 05, 1907, Keighley, Yorkshire
February 20, 1981, Eldwick, Bingley, Yorkshire, (aged 73y 352d)
Right hand Bat
Right arm Offbreak
Though admirers of Surrey's Stuart Surridge and Percy Fender may dispute it, there is a fairly widespread opinion in this country, and not only in the north, that Brian Sellers, who died on February 20 at the age of 73, was the finest tactician and leader of men among county captains. A disciplinarian with a fruity sense of humour, he guided his team of many talents and independent thought to six Championships in eight seasons up to the Hitler war (acting in F. E. Greenwood's stead for much of 1932), and had his batting been stronger he must have been given command of the Test team. He was certainly Test class as a close or cover fieldsman.
Born at Keighley on March 5, 1907, son of Yorkshire amateur Arthur Sellers, Arthur Brian Sellers attended St Peter's School, York, and played in the Bradford League, where he developed the art of captaincy. Although his father was by now a Yorkshire committeeman, Sellers junior refuted any suggestion that he was given favourable treatment, and with Greenwood's withdrawal through business, 25-year-old deputy Sellers had suddenly begun his glorious reign, which was to extend just into the post-war period with a further Championship in 1946 before he handed over to Norman Yardley in 1948.
The first of his four centuries was against the 1934 Australians, and his 204 in 1936 against Cambridge University is the only double-century by a Yorkshire amateur. He captained the Gentlemen the following year. His two other centuries also came in 1937, against Kent and Notts. Altogether he scored 9273 runs at 23. He was one of Wisden's Cricketers of the Year in 1940, and served as a major in the Royal Artillery during the war, winning the MBE.
He sat on half-a-dozen committees at Lord's in the ensuing years, and was a Test selector, and from 1959 he was Yorkshire's chairman for 13 years, becoming embroiled in the controversial release of first Illingworth and then Close. The latter event led to his resignation after pressure from a reform group. It was a sad ending for Brian Sellers, 'Crackerjack', the leader whose pride in Yorkshire cricket had blinded him at times to the sensibilities of others. A further case in point was his criticism of Hammond during the 1946-47 tour of Australia after serving on the selection panel which chose him.
In a letter to the Editor early in the winter - in appreciation of Bill Bowes's
article on him in the July issue - Brian Sellers took the opportunity to express
pride in his players of the 'thirties, while feeling regret at having to forego visits to the cricket nowadays: 'Sir Arthur Itis', he rued, was giving him some stick.
David Frith, Wisden Cricket Monthly
Batting & Fielding