Kenneth Colin Bland
April 05, 1938, Bulawayo, Rhodesia
April 14, 2018, London, (aged 80y 9d)
Right hand Bat
Right arm Medium
Bulawayo-born Colin Bland will go down in cricket history as one of the greatest cover fielders. He combined speed, perfect balance and a quite exceptional throwing arm, and thrilled spectators and intimidated opposing batsmen in equal measure. Even in the modern era, when outstanding fielders are more commonplace, Bland would have stood out. He honed his skills by endless practice throwing at a single stump, and later on he used this to show off his skills to the public during team fielding sessions . Much as was the case with Jonty Rhodes in the 1990s, even if Bland did not perform with the bat, he was worth an extra 20-30 runs for his fielding alone. But he could bat, even if he was often undone by a tendency to try and loft the ball bacl over the bowler's head. In 1963-64 in Australia he scored 126 at Sydney, ending the series with 367 runs at 61.16, and followed with 207 runs at 69.00 in New Zealand. Against England in 1964-65 he was again at his best, hammering 144 at Johannesburg and his 572 runs came at 71.50. In England the following summer he made 906 runs, including 286 at 47.66 in the three Tests. On that tour, which was South Africa's last series against England for 29 years, Bland's fielding was a revelation wherever he went, and his run-outs of Ken Barrington and Jim Parks at Lord's turned the match. His Test career ended tragically at Johannesburg against Australia in 1966-67, when he crashed into a boundary fence while chasing the ball, badly damaging his left knee. In domestic cricket he was no less popular, and equally effective. In 1967-68 he smashed 197 in three hours for Rhodesia against Border in a low-scoring match on a poor wicket which highlighted his class. He was also a very useful medium-fast right-arm bowler who was probably underused.
Batting & Fielding