August 1 down the years

Captain extraordinaire

Birth of the classy Frank Worrell

Frank Worrell (left): a charismatic captain © Getty Images

One of the great cricketing men is born. A stylish batter of the highest class, Frank Worrell was the first black player to captain West Indies on a regular basis, including on the 1963 tour of England, which they won 3-1, and the famous 1960-61 series in Australia. West Indies and Australia now play for the Sir Frank Worrell Trophy. The 1950 tour of England was a personal triumph for Worrell, who topped the Test batting averages with 539 runs at an average of 89.83. He also made his best Test score, 261, that year at Trent Bridge. He was knighted in 1964 and was a senator in Jamaica when he died at 42 of leukemia; he was honoured with a memorial service in Westminster Abbey.

The last day England held the Ashes for more than 16 years. Australia's win at Old Trafford gave them a 3-0 lead in the series. At the start of a forgettable day for English cricket, a 16-man squad for a lucrative rebel tour of South Africa was announced. Nine had appeared in that summer's Ashes series, and three had captained England. One of them, John Emburey, almost saved this Test, adding 142 in four hours with Jack Russell, who made his first Test hundred, after England had been 59 for 6.

England's premier batter of his era, Graham Thorpe, was born. He showed he was made of the right stuff from the start, scoring a century on Test debut, against Australia at Trent Bridge in 1993. A batter whose performances transcended statistics, Thorpe seized countless initiatives with his resourceful counterattacks. Throughout the 1990s, England's sporadic victories bore his stamp: Bridgetown 1993-94, The Oval 1994, Adelaide 1994-95, Old Trafford 1995, and Edgbaston 1997, when he added 288 with his old mate Nasser Hussain as England thrashed Australia. Thorpe's finest moment was in Colombo in 2000-01, when he made 113 and 32 - both not out - as England sealed a famous series victory. But in 2002 his career reached crisis point when his marriage crumbled in view of the tabloids, leading him to announce his retirement from one-day cricket and take an indefinite break from all forms of the game. He returned in 2003, and was a vital part of England's plans in their rout of West Indies in 2003-04 and their whitewash of New Zealand a few months later. He eventually retired after not being picked for the 2005 Ashes.

An attacking Zimbabwean allrounder is born. Andy Blignaut returned the best figures by a Zimbabwean on Test debut - 5 for 73 in Bulawayo in April 2001. He was an asset with his aggressive lower-order hitting to go with his pace bowling, but his career stalled in 2001-02 amid reports of disputes with administrators and fellow players. He pursued a number of lines of employment, including, briefly, modelling. In his return match, late in 2002, he claimed 5 for 79 against Pakistan. His career suffered yet another setback when he joined 14 rebel players in the standoff with the Zimbabwe board in 2004, and was ultimately sacked. He returned briefly the following year but took part in another strike before leaving to play for Lions in South Africa. In early 2010, Blignaut made yet another return, along with several former players who came back to the Zimbabwe fold.

India's first lethal pace bowler is born. Mohammad Nissar could swing and cut the ball with verve, and he had genuine speed. Nissar's partnership upfront with Amar Singh was as legendary as it was successful. In India's maiden Test, at Lord's in 1932, he plunged the England innings into disarray by knocking over the stumps of Holmes and Sutcliffe. On that trip Nissar grabbed 71 wickets at 18.09 to head the averages. Against the Australians on their tour of India in the winter of 1935, he took 32 wickets in four "Tests" at 13 runs apiece. On his final tour of England, Nissar departed the Test scene with a devastating spell that yielded four wickets in five overs.

South African allrounder Trevor Goddard was born. He is remembered for leading South Africa to a draw in the series against Australia in 1963-64 after he had become captain virtually by default and his team had been described as no-hopers by the media in both countries. He hit a captain's century against England in Johannesburg in 1964-65 and took a wicket with his last ball in Test cricket, against Australia on the same ground in 1969-70. A left-hander of classically correct technique with bat and ball, Goddard was renowned for analysing opponents' strengths and weaknesses with uncanny accuracy and speed. He became an evangelist preacher after retirement.

England won the women's World Cup for the first time since the inaugural tournament of 1973 (see July 28). In the final at Lord's, the opener Janette Brittin top-scored with 48 in a 67-run victory over New Zealand.

Geoff Pullar, born today, started as a middle-order batter, but his solid technique and phlegmatic temperament persuaded the England selectors to try him as an opener in 1959. He responded with 75 against India at Headingley, followed by 131 at Old Trafford - the first Test century scored by a Lancastrian on his home ground. Pullar withstood the West Indian fast bowlers calmly and successfully in 1959-60, but his form fell away in the latter part of his international career. He played the last of his 28 Tests in 1963.

Born today, Arun Lal was an opener who played 16 Tests for India between 1982 and 1989. While he piled up runs in domestic cricket, Lal got few chances in Tests as he competed for a spot alongside Sunil Gavaskar with Kris Srikkanth, Anshuman Gaekwad and Ravi Shastri. Summoned for a Test call-up against Sri Lanka in 1982 at the relatively late age of 27, he responded with 63 in his debut innings. In 1987, he got a chance to play in his adopted hometown, Calcutta, when Gavaskar pulled out. Lal made two half-centuries, and following Gavaskar's retirement, he made 11 successive Test appearances. After retirement, he became a television commentator.

On the last day at Old Trafford, Richie Benaud went round the wicket to bowl a famous spell of 5 for 12 that destroyed England, who had looked in command, to help retain the Ashes.

At Headingley, New Zealand won a Test in England for the first time. Lance Cairns took ten - which included a career-best 7 for 74 - and Ewen Chatfield six to bowl England out for under 260 twice. That set up a target of 103 for New Zealand but Bob Willis gave them some jitters by taking five early wickets; this was the match in which he became the fourth man to take 300 Test wickets.

Birth of Yajurvindra Singh. Playing for India against England in Bangalore in 1976-77, he equalled a world record by taking five catches in an innings.

Birth of unlucky John Beck. Playing for New Zealand against South Africa in Cape Town in 1953-54, he was run out for 99 - and never did make a Test hundred.

Birth of Sammy Jones. The last survivor of the original "Ashes" Test of 1882, he died in 1951. His unsporting run-out by WG Grace inspired the Australians to their sensational win. On his third England tour in 1888 he survived a bout of smallpox.

Other birthdays
1856 George Coulthard (Australia)
1857 John Harry (Australia)
1900 Otto Nothling (Australia)
1940 Mervyn Kitchen (England)
1961 Mike Watkinson (England)
1966 Ganesh Mylvaganam (United Arab Emirates)
1972 Maqsood Rana (Pakistan)
1973 Ben Johnson (Australia)