Kim John Barnett
July 17, 1960, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire
Right hand bat
Leek High School, Staffordshire
Born in Stoke-on-Trent in 1960, Kim Barnett was a youthful prodigy who matured into a senior pro. He represented Northamptonshire and Warwickshire 2nd XIs aged 15, as well as Staffordshire, as a legspinner, often batting at No. 11. He toured with English Schools to India in 1977-78, and England Young Cricketers to Australia in 1978-79.
He made his debut for Derbyshire in 1979, by then batting at No. 5, and won his county cap in 1982. The following season he became the club's youngest-ever captain, aged just 22, a post he held until 1995. Tipped as a future England captain, he was made vice-captain of England B in Sri Lanka (1985-86), but contracted a serious illness and was forced home early, losing two stone.
An idiosyncratic stance at the crease (he took guard several inches outside the leg-stump), an exaggerated shuffle as the bowler delivered and a thick moustache under a shiny, bald head (ironic considering his name) made Barnett one of the most recognisable figures on the county circuit. Usually an opening batsman, he represented England in the middle order. One of few batsmen to prosper on the seam-friendly Derby pitches (as illustrated by a career tally of over 26,000 runs with more than 50 first-class centuries), he led Derbyshire to the Sunday League title in 1990, and the Benson and Hedges Cup in 1993. He remained an important figure at the club after relinquishing the captaincy, although disagreements with Dean Jones and Chris Adams caused some unrest.
Barnett worked on his game assiduously between 1982-83 and 1987-88 when he represented Boland in South Africa. A prolific English summer in 1988 (during which he led Derby to the Benson and Hedges Cup final) saw him score over 1,600 first-class runs, including a career-best 239* against Leicestershire. Such form won him a Test call-up as well as a Wisden Cricketer of the Year award. He made his Test debut at Lord's against Sri Lanka, hitting 66 in his first innings, but 0 in the second. He made his one-day international debut shortly afterwards, against the same opposition, struck an attractive 84 and won the Man-of the-Match award. He was never selected again. His performances were enough to win selection on the tour to India in 1988-89, but the trip was subsequently cancelled.
Beginning the next Test summer with a fine 80 against Australia at Headingley, he struggled thereafter and was dropped after failures at Lord's and Edgbaston. He surprised many by accepting a highly profitable offer of a place on Mike Gatting's rebel tour of South Africa the following winter. The tour was cancelled in its infancy, but Barnett was banned from Test cricket until 1992. But he'd had enough time to show his class by scoring 136 in a one-day 'international' at the Wanderers.
A useful legspiner with nearly 200 first-class wickets to his name, Barnett returned career-beat figures of 6-28 against Glamorgan at Chesterfield in 1991. In 1994 he finished on top of the national bowling averages. Though his fielding was not as sharp as it once was, he boasted a sharp pair of hands through his thirties and into his forties. A high profile feud at Derby, where Barnett stuck by skipper Dominic Cork in the face of a near mutiny, pushed him away from his county home of twenty years.
To the surprise of some, Barnett was not lured by lucrative offers by fashionable counties, and moved south west to Gloucestershire. Members were immediately impressed by his enthusiasm, work ethic and fitness. A key figure in Gloucestershire's success, Barnett's eccentric form of batting continued unabated. He was on top of his game in the club's one-day finals, regularly forging good opening stands with Tim Hancock, peppering the cover boundary with regularity.
Barnett finally retired at the end of 2002 when Gloucestershire did not offer him a contract, even though he was keen to continue. He moved into league cricket, appretite undiminsihed, and in April 2004 entered the record books when he smacked nine successive sixes in the North Staffordshire/South Cheshire League.
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