Eiulf Peter Nupen
January 01, 1902, near Alesund, Norway
January 29, 1977, Johannesburg, Transvaal, (aged 75y 28d)
Right hand bat
Right arm fast medium
Although in a Test Match career for South Africa which extended from 1921 to 1935, Buster Nupen's 50 wickets cost him 35.76 runs each, he was regarded at his best as one of the greatest bowlers on a mat there has ever been. So ineffective however was he on turf that when the MCC were in South Africa in 1930-31, although in the first Test he took 11 for 150 and in the second innings of the fourth, when admittedly the English batsmen were hitting recklessly in a vain endeavour to force a win, 6 for 46, he was omitted from the third and fifth Tests, the first two ever to be played on grass in South Africa.
Similarly in this country in 1924, when, after his record at home, he was expected to be one of the main match-winners, he was a complete failure. It is true that he was handicapped by injury, but the general impression was that, even when fit, he was not formidable. He never toured abroad again. What he could do in his own country was shown against the Hon. L. H. Tennyson's unofficial side in 1924-25, which was at least a strong England A side: in four Representative matches he took 37 wickets at 11.45.
In Currie Cup matches Nupen had the extraordinary record for the Transvaal of 184 wickets at 12.75. In nine of his 28 matches for them he took over ten wickets and against Griqualand West in 1931-32 took 9 for 48 in an innings and 16 for 136 in the match. He first attracted attention by taking six for 89 for the Transvaal against the great Australian side of 1921. Handicapped by having lost an eye at the age of four, he was not normally regarded as a serious batsman. However in the third Test against England in 1927-28, he made 51 and 69, he and his captain, H. G. Deane, putting on 95 for the eighth wicket in the first innings and 123 for the seventh in the second.
Tall and strongly built, he bowled fast-medium right-hand round the wicket and on the mat his off-break spun prodigiously, came off very quick and lifted sharply. The leg-cutter, with which he varied it, was more obvious and less accurate than George Geary's, but none the less got many wickets.
When England were in South Africa in 1930-31, Deane, a great captain, had retired, and though, under pressure, he reappeared, did not feel himself in good enough practice for the first Test. Nupen captained the side admirably, besides achieving his biggest performance in Tests. Deane captained in the next two matches and then resigned, being dissatisfied with his form, and for the fourth the job was given to Cameron, doubtless because it was felt that Nupen would not be required for the fifth on a grass wicket.
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