John Hanbury Human
January 13, 1912, Gosforth, Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumberland
July 22, 1991, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, (aged 79y 190d)
Right hand Bat
Repton; Cambridge University
John Human was an outstanding natural games-player; a brilliant attacking middle-order batsman as well as a useful legspinner. Good judges at Repton, where he was in the XI for five years, maintained that John Human, younger brother of Roger, played better cricket in school matches than had been seen there for many years. In 1929, his third year, he shared in a great partnership of 253 with C. C. Clarke against the Pilgrims, his 136 being his first century for the school. Appointed captain for the following year, he was in devastating form, making 704 runs for an average of 78.22 and obtaining three centuries and four fifties by bold, aggressive strokeplay. Keeping up his reputation in 1931 with three consecutive hundreds for Repton, and some useful innings in Schools Week at Lord's, he was expected to enjoy a smooth passage into the first-class game when he went up to Cambridge.
Events, however, were to follow a strange course. Human played well enough for his 39 in the Freshmen's Match, but his claim for a further trial was disregarded by the captain, A. G. Hazelrigg, until the tour was well under way - and then only by chance. During the University's match with Surrey at The Oval, a member of the team noticed in a newspaper that Human had made 231 for Berkshire against Hertfordshire in the Minor Counties Championship. He was summoned by wire to Eastbourne for the next match, against H. D. G. Leveson Gower's XI, and an innings of 158 not out, even if not against the strongest of attacks, was good enough for him to be invited to play against Oxford with no more ado. He justified his selection with scores of 35 and 28 at Lord's. Yet none of this would have happened if the Hertfordshire mid-on had not dropped him off a sitter early in his double-century innings.
In 1933 Human finished top of the Cambridge averages, making 812 runs at 45.11 with two separate hundreds (110 and 122) to his credit against Surrey at The Oval. This was also his best season with the ball, and in taking 29 wickets at 32.37 he showed greater control over his leg-spin than hitherto. Against Lancashire at Fenner's he took seven for 133 in a total of more than 400, and the following year he improved on these figures with seven for 119 at Cardiff. In 1933-34 he toured India with MCC under D. R. Jardine, only to suffer early on from an attack of malaria. However, he had fully recovered in time for the 1934 season, when he captained Cambridge and in all first-class matches made 1,399 runs for an average of 53.80, including five centuries. His best was an unbeaten 146 at Worcester, where the University squeezed home by three wickets.
In 1935, the year of the "leather jackets" that made the Lord's square a graveyard for batsmen, Human played a full season for Middlesex. Little went right for him until August, when he scored two hundreds in successive innings as he shared in two splendid partnerships with Hendren: 285 at The Oval and 189 at Trent Bridge, facing Larwood and Voce. That winter he was a member of E. R. T. Holmes's side which toured Australia and New Zealand, and helped by 87 at Adelaide, 118 against Queensland at Brisbane, and 97 in an unofficial "Test" against New Zealand in Dunedin, he averaged just over 30. Back home he graced the 1936 season with 115 for MCC against the Indians in his only first-class innings, reaching three figures with a six into the Pavilion, and the following year he occasionally captained Middlesex when Robins was on Test duty. In 1938 he struck such good form in his several games for the county that his absences were a matter for general regret. By now, however, he had married the daughter of the mayor of Sydney and had decided to settle in Australia. In 105 first-class matches, Human's forceful methods brought him 5,246 runs for an average of 35.68, including fifteen hundreds, and he twice reached 1,000 runs in a season. His leg-breaks earned him 73 wickets at 34.23 apiece and he held 66 catches, being a magnificent fielder in any position.
Wisden Cricketers' Almanack
John Human Career Stats
Batting & Fielding
Debut/Last Matches of John Human