Kenneth John Wadsworth
November 30, 1946, Nelson, Nelson
August 19, 1976, Nelson, Nelson, (aged 29y 263d)
Right hand bat
Kenneth John Wadsworth, died in Nelson, New Zealand, on August 19, aged 29. He had been New Zealand's regular keeper since 1969, playing in thirty-three Tests, the last of them against India at Wellington in February 1976: in these he dismissed 95 batsmen and made over a thousand runs. He toured England in 1969 and 1973. As a keeper, he was always brilliant and as time went on became more consistent: perhaps even when he died he had not reached his best. He was primarily an aggressive bat, whose impetuosity often cost him his wicket, but he could defend doggedly enough when the situation demanded. His highest Test innings was 80 against Australia at Melbourne in 1974: in the same season he made a century against them in the one-day Test at Christchurch.
At Kingston, Jamaica, in 1972, coming in to join Turner at 108 for five, he helped to put on 220, still* a New Zealand Test record for the sixth wicket. Above all he was a determined cricketer who loved winning, meant to win and was sure he could, and who equally hated losing. His outlook was more typical of an Australian or a Yorkshireman than a New Zealander and this made proportionately more valuable to his side, who found his courage and confidence an inspiration. His early death is a tragic loss not only to New Zealand Cricket but to world cricket in general.
Wisden Cricketers' Almanack *First broken a decade after Wadsworth's death, in 1986-87, by Jeff Crowe and Richard Hadlee, who put on an unbroken 246 against Sri Lanka at Colombo's CCC
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