Melville James McInnes
August 30, 1915, Prospect, Adelaide, South Australia
July 23, 1996, Adelaide, South Australia, (aged 80y 328d)
Former Test umpire Mel McInnes attracted an inordinate amount of controversy during his career of 16 Test matches between 1951 and 1959 (including all five in the 1954-55 Ashes series). Rightly or wrongly, the English press following the 1958-59 tour of Australia blamed McInnes for not stamping out what they perceived as illegal bowling actions among the ranks of Australia's bowlers - and gross infringements by long-striding, dragging fast bowlers. The poor man had a bad Adelaide (fourth) Test and was seen no more at that level. His most embarrassing error was to be wrongly positioned when Colin McDonald's runner, Jim Burke, was run out. Sensing he was short of the crease, McInnes gave him out, then realised he could hardly give a man out if he was behind him and thus out of sight ( Burke, for some reason, was running on the off side). He reversed his decision, but McDonald (170) threw his wicket away shortly afterwards. It was a sad end to what had been an impressive career, even if some thought the tall McInnes rather too authoritarian at times. A close friend of Sir Donald Bradman, he served as South Australian Cricket Association treasurer from 1969 to 1979, was a delegate to the Australian Cricket Board, and a SACA truste.
Wisden Cricketers' Almanack
Umpire & Referee