Roger William Tolchard
June 15, 1946, Torquay, Devon
Right hand bat
Right arm offbreak
Wolborough Hill Prep School; Malvern College
Born in Torquay in 1946, Roger Tolchard made his Leicestershire debut in 1965, winning his county cap just a year later. A middle-order batsman and wicketkeeper, he toured India and Pakistan with the MCC in 1972-73, performing well. A good keeper, he was unfortunate to be a contemporary of Alan Knott and Bob Taylor. His first-class career batting average (31.13) was actually better than Knott's, and there was a suspicion that he could have become a Test-class batsman had he been unfettered by wicketkeeping responsibilities.
Tolchard never kept wicket for England in a Test, winning selection instead as a specialist batsman while on tour in India in 1976-77. He made a defiant, five-and-a-half-hour, 67 in his debut innings and with Tony Greig and put on 142 crucial runs to help England to victory for the first time in a Test in Calcutta. He played in all four Tests in the series, fielding brilliantly, but having little further fortune with the bat. He received what Henry Blofeld described as "the worst decision he ever saw," when dismissed lbw by Chandrasekhar at Bangalore. Good enough to win selection on the following year's Ashes tour (1978-79) he was close to winning further Test recognition when a bouncer fractured his cheek bone and forced him back to England.
Tolchard was made for one-day cricket, where he was particularly adept at
stealing singles and improvising strokeplay, however he only represented
England in a single one-day international, and that was ruined by rain
within an hour. He was made Leicestershire captain in 1981, and oversaw a revival in the fortunes his team, leading them to second place in the Championship in 1982. He retired in 1983, playing Minor Counties cricket before he returned to his old school, Malvern College, where he became cricket professional and led the old boys to success in the Cricketer Cup on two occasions. Short, dark-haired and of wiry build, he never lost his Devon accent, and was an excellent squash and racquets player. His nephew is Roger Twose, the New Zealand player, while his brother, Jeff also represented Leicestershire.
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