John Ronald Burnet
October 11, 1918, Saltaire, Shipley, Yorkshire
March 06, 1999, Yorkshire, (aged 80y 146d)
Right hand Bat
BURNET, JOHN RONALD, OBE, died on March 7, 1999, aged 80. Ronnie Burnet was a central figure in Yorkshire strife over two generations. The last of Yorkshire's amateur captains, he was plunged - aged 39 and rather portly - from the Bradford League and captaincy of the county Second Eleven into the shark-infested waters of the Yorkshire dressing-room in 1958. Sort things out, were his battle orders, and they were duly sorted. He lasted only two seasons: in the first, Yorkshire finished out of the top ten in the Championship for only the second time ever; in the second, they ended Surrey's seven-year dominance and won the title. Most observers of the period gave Burnet the credit for rebuilding a team that would go on to dominate the 1960s. He was a great man who took on a dirty job, said Fred Trueman. Factionalism had been rife under the previous captain, Billy Sutcliffe, but Burnet rapidly established his authority - with dramatic consequences when Yorkshire announced in July 1958 that Johnny Wardle, the senior pro and chief dissident, would be sacked. Yorkshire lost three other Test players that year, but had enough young talent to compensate. Burnet, who averaged 12.63 with the bat over the two seasons, then had the sense and grace to retire. He was brought back to centre stage nearly a quarter of a century later as chairman of both Yorkshire's cricket committee and of a task force delegated to solve the crisis over Geoff Boycott. But Boycott was even more of an over-mighty subject than Wardle. Though Burnet insisted everything can be mended by frankness and understanding, this time the sorting proved more difficult. Burnet - like most of the old guard - was voted off the committee by Boycott's supporters. He was chairman of a chemical company for 23 years, and was awarded the OBE for his Sports Council work.
Wisden Cricketers' Almanack 2000
Batting & Fielding