Robert Neil Harvey
October 08, 1928, Fitzroy, Melbourne, Victoria
Left hand bat
Right arm offbreak
One of Australia's all-time favourite cricketing sons, Neil Harvey was a gifted left-hand batsman, brilliantly athletic fielder, and occasional offspin bowler. On account of the richness of his talents, he served Victoria, New South Wales and Australia with great distinction during a first-class career which spanned the 16-year period between 1946-47 and 1962-63.
In short, Harvey was an electrifying batsman who thrilled spectators with the splendour of his strokeplay. He possessed a masterful technique as well as a full range of shots and he displayed to cricket followers a superbly steadfast temperament right from the moment, as a teenager, that he played his opening first-class innings. Throughout a career which ultimately netted him in excess of 20,000 first-class runs, bowlers rarely found a way of disrupting his concentration or curbing his attacking instincts. He also possessed disarming power for a man of relatively short height. There will be many performances for which he will be remembered but foremost among them were his 153 against India in his second Test (an innings which made him the youngest-ever Australian to score a Test century); his 112 in the celebrated Leeds Test of 1948; his 151 in Durban in 1949-50; and his highest Test score of 205 against South Africa in Melbourne in 1952-53. Most discussions of Neil Harvey's career are also considered to be incomplete without mention of his achievement in amassing six centuries in his first 13 Test innings alone.
In later times, Harvey continued to play a role at the forefront of Australian cricket as a national selector for a period of 12 years, and it was during the middle of this period (namely, the mid-1970s) that the country fielded one of its most successful ever sides at international level. In recognition of his string of outstanding achievements in the game, he was inducted into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame in early 2000. He was also selected in the Australian Cricket Board's official Test Team of the 20th Century.
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