Arthur William Carr
May 21, 1893, Mickleham, Surrey
February 07, 1963, West Witton, Yorkshire, (aged 69y 262d)
Right hand Bat
Right arm Medium
Arthur Carr, who died at Leyburn, Yorkshire, on February 7, personified the South countryman's idea of a Northern cricket captain. This, however, was a matter of character rather than heredity, for he was the son of a London stockbroker, was born in Surrey and went to school at Sherborne. Tall, wide-shouldered, with a high forehead, eyes constantly narrowed - as if in appraisal - strong mouth and firm jaw, he took his cricket grimly, as though it satisfied some hugely combative streak in him. Unwavering once he had taken a decision, he was never one to suffer fools gladly, nor a believer in the soft answer to turn away wrath. He went out of first-class cricket rather than change his opinion. Arthur Carr was one of the three finest batsmen ever produced by Sherborne: oddly enough, he was captain of every game there except cricket;
but he was good enough batsman to be given a match for Nottinghamshire in 1910, a year before he left school. He scored his first county century in 1913, but his effective first-class cricketing career began when he became captain of Nottinghamshire in 1919. His captaincy had the firm foundation of playing ability. He was a fierce straight driver, at his most spectacular
against pace bowling. He would step down the wicket to hit men as fast as
J. M. Gregory and Maurice Tate back over their heads: indeed, Maurice
Tate once said that Arthur Carr hit him consistently harder than any
other batsman he ever met. But, unlike many who excel against pace,
Carr was sound against flight and spin, and regularly made good scores
against the best spin attacks of his day. He had, moreover, a sound defence,
for he played very straight and used his feet well. In a career spread over
twenty-five years, he scored 21,100 runs with 45 centuries, made a thousand
runs in each of eleven seasons and averaged, overall, 31.58. Fielding with
hostile concentration near the wicket - slip, gully or short-leg - he took 316
catches. But it is as a captain that Arthur Carr is most memorable. Decisive,
relentless, compelling respect from his own players and from his opponents.
During the sixteen years of his captaincy, Nottinghamshire won the Championship for only the second time since 1886, were nine times in the first four
and never held a double-figure position. They have not approached that standard
since Carr went. Wisden once referred to his Notts team as `Mr. Carr and the professionals who support him so well'. For years the only amateur in the side, he had either to remain aloof, in the manner of Lord Hawke, or, cutting across
the etiquette of the time, mix in completely with his professionals. Carr
took the latter course, proved as hard, and as hard a drinker, as any of them, but never lost a scrap of his authority. He was an aggressive captain. He
was fortunate that, throughout his career, he had invariably had three
fast bowlers - of Matthews, Barratt, Larwood, Voce, Butler and Flint -
in the side. He used them in short spells, flat out, to attacking fields,
with immense effect. Carr played for England throughout the series in South Africa, 1922-23 and, in 1926, captained England in the first four Tests against Australia. At Leeds, where the selectors - not Carr - left out Charles Parker on a wet wicket, he won the toss and put Australia in to bat. Bardsley was
caught at slip, off Tate, from the first ball of the match: off the fifth
ball of the same over, Carr dropped Macartney, or Australia would have
been 2 for 2 wickets. In the event, Macartney scored a century before lunch and the second wicket put on 235. During the fourth - Old Trafford - Test, Carr became ill with tonsilitis: although he had recovered in time for the final Test - in which England recovered The Ashes - the captaincy was given to Percy
Chapman. Carr was bitterly disappointed at being deposed and, although he was
made a Test selector in 1928 and captained England in two Tests with
South Africa in 1929, he threw his main energies into driving Nottinghamshire up the Championship table. Neither Douglas Jardine nor Arthur Carr are alive to relate precisely the genesis of the tactic variously described as `fast leg-theory', `direct attack' or, as it is now remembered, 'bodyline'. But certainly it was a product of a discussion between those two, for, under Arthur Carr's direction, Voce and Larwood employed - and perfected - the method in English county cricket during 1932, before the controversial tour which effectively ended the career of more than one of the participants. In 1934, a section of the crowd at Trent Bridge demonstrated against the Australians, on behalf of their two local bowlers, whom they believed to have been ill-treated. Arthur Carr stood, uncompromisingly, with Larwood, Voce and their supporters.
Bitter dissention within the club led to the captaincy being taken from
him. He accepted membership of the committee and declared himself available for the county in 1935: but he never played for Nottinghamshire again. Instead, he moved to Yorkshire and turned to his other major interest, horse-racing: for some years he had horses in training at Middleham. Arthur Carr virtually cut himself off from the cricket world until recent years, when the old bitterness had grown less sharp, and he would turn up at Trent Bridge, as a welcome
guest, at Test Match time. There is little doubt that he enjoyed himself,
but he maintained a public front of tight-lipped and cold-eyed withdrawal:
he never believed in showing sentiment.
John Arlott, The Cricketer
Arthur William Carr, who collapsed and died after shovelling snow at his home at West Witton, Yorkshire, on February 7, aged 69, was a celebrated Nottinghamshire and England captain. Born at Mickleham, Surrey, he was educated at Sherborne where he was captain of every game except cricket. Nevertheless he earned an early reputation as a cricketer. He headed the School averages in 1910 with 638 runs at 45.47 per innings and took with fast bowling 32 wickets for 15.06 runs each; the following year, with the aid of an innings of 224, he averaged 62. While still at school he made a few appearances for Nottinghamshire and in 1913, at the age of 18, he gave a display of that strong-driving, attacking play which always characterised his cricket when he hit 169 against Leicestershire at Trent Bridge. He and G. M. Lee (200 not out) shared in a stand of 333 in just over three hours.
Not till he took over the captaincy in 1919--a position he occupied till 1934, when he gave up, following a heart attack--did he occupy a regular place in the county eleven. Then, with improved judgement allied to his forcing methods, he became a highly valuable batsman. In each of eleven seasons he exceeded 1,000 runs, his most successful being that of 1925 when, with the help of seven centuries, including his highest--206 against Leicestershire at Leicester--he aggregated 2,338 runs with an average of 51.95. That summer he hit no fewer than forty-eight 6's. During his first-class career he made 21,884 runs, average 31.12, took 28 wickets at 38.17 apiece and, an exceptionally alert fieldsman anywhere near the wicket, held 361 catches.
Carr played for England on eleven occasions. He toured South Africa under F. T. Mann in 1922-23, taking part in all five Test matches; he led his country in four games against Australia in 1926 till he was superseded by A. P. F. Chapman at the Oval--a decision which aroused much controversy--and in 1929 he was recalled to the leadership for the last two matches with South Africa, replacing J. C. White, captain in the first three. In thirteen Test innings he hit 237 runs, with a top score of 63 at Johannesburg, average 19.75. He made a number of appearances for Gentlemen against Players between 1919 and 1929.
Of somewhat stern appearance, but kind and generous at heart and a lover of cricket, Carr was a man of forthright views. He was specially outspoken in defence of H. Larwood and W. Voce, his team-mates who were principals in the body-line tour of Australia in 1932-33. During his long reign as captain he led Nottinghamshire to first place among the counties in 1929--the last time they headed the Championship.
Wisden Cricketers' Almanack
Batting & Fielding