Francis Alfred Tarrant
December 11, 1880, Fitzroy, Melbourne, Victoria
January 29, 1951, Upper Hawthorn, Melbourne, Victoria, (aged 70y 49d)
Right hand bat
Left arm slow medium
Frank Tarrant was a genuine allrounder - an excellent left-arm spinner, a patient middle-order batsman and a good fielder. Born in Australia, he played a few times for Victoria before heading to Europe where he was on the MCC staff while he qualified for Middlesex, which he did in 1915, representing them for the decade before the Great War. Although he did return to Australia occasionally, his connection with Middlesex ruled him out of international consideration.
Initially a bowler, his batting improved in leaps and bounds. In 1906 he passed 1000 runs, the first of nine consecutive summers he did so. In that year he took 91 wickets, but in every one of the next nine years he took over a hundred to secure the much-coveted double. In 1907 he took 183 wickets - including 9 for 59 against Nottinghamshire - and scored 1552 runs.
His form continued when he returned to Australia that winter, scoring 762 runs at 76.20 and in 1911 he passed 2000 runs and 100 wickets for the only time. His greatest all-round performance in a match came in August 1914 when he took 16 for 176 and made an unbeaten 104 against Lancashire. In May he had scored a career-best 250 not out against Essex and followed with another double hundred in the next game.
During the War he played cricket in India, and in August 1918, playing for Lord Willingdon's XI against Maharaja of Cooch-Behar's XI he took 10 for 90 and followed up with an unbeaten 182. His links with India were maintained after the war and he remained there on and off for more than two decades, organising trips. At the age of 57 he was still good enough to score 78 and open the bowling (taking four wickets) for Europeans against Hindus.
In 19933-34 he umpired in England's first two Tests in India, although as he was employed by the Maharajah of Patiala, whose son played in the last Test of the series, he had to stand down. In one tour match he stood along with his son. He was also responsible for laying the turf at the Brabourne Stadium, a remarkable feat given that much of the work took place in the monsoon season.
It was said that Tarrant made more money from horses and horse racing than he ever did as a cricketer.
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