Robert John Inverarity
January 31, 1944, Subiaco, Perth, Western Australia
Right hand Bat
Slow Left arm Orthodox
Almost throughout his long career John Inverarity was a good batsman, but a great captain and theorist, and Australian Test history might be significantly different if Inverarity had been entrusted with the national captaincy during the World Series Cricket schism. Instead the armband passed from 40-year-old Bob Simpson to the rookie Graham Yallop. Mike Brearley's England slaughtered Yallop's lambs 5-1, and many international careers were ended before they should have begun. Yallop himself, a potentially great batsman, never quite recovered. Meanwhile Inverarity, instead of locking intellectual horns with Brearley, was quietly racking up runs and trophies for Western Australia - in five years as captain he won the Sheffield Shield four times. When schoolteaching took him from Perth to Adelaide he just kept on playing, being seen as something of a freak in Australian first-class cricket as he continued, grey-haired and ghostly, into his forties. South Australia duly won the Shield in 1981-82, with Inverarity contributing 348 runs and 30 wickets. By the time he finally retired, in 1985, he had crept past Don Bradman's Shield-record run-aggregate. A brief Test career was long over by then - six matches, the first in 1968 as an opening batsman (he was the last man winkled out by Derek Underwood in that year's Oval epic), and the last in 1972, by which time his slow left-arm bowling was being increasingly used. A couple of inspirational stints as Kent's coach briefly interrupted his career as a headmaster, and he resumed his coaching with Warwickshire in 2004. Inverarity's father was a first-class cricketer too, and his daughter Alison was an Olympic high-jumper.
In 2011, Inverarity was appointed as Cricket Australia's full-time national selector, following the Australian Team Performance Review that was implemented in the aftermath of that year's Ashes debacle.
Batting & Fielding