November 22, 1953, Roxton, Bedfordshire
Right hand Bat
Right arm Medium
Top order Batter
Bushmead, Eaton Socon, Huntingdon
A sublimely natural talent, with cavalier curls and a bustling moustache, Wayne "Ned" Larkins was an exasperation to spectators, but an inspiration to his team-mates, who could only marvel at the audacity of some of his strokeplay. Larkins was the type of batsman who could happily hoist the second ball of a day's play for six over extra cover, but his attacking instincts were never fully appreciated or properly utilised during his 13-match, 11-year Test career. In hindsight, he was invariably selected when he should have been ignored, and ignored when he should have been selected, although his decision to go on the rebel tour of South Africa in 1982 meant he was unavailable for England for three prime years of his cricketing life. In keeping with his contradictory nature, Larkins proved to be a personal favourite of the austere and autocratic Graham Gooch, despite his reputation as a smoking, drinking chancer. He twice toured under Gooch's leadership, to the Caribbean in 1989-90 and Australia the following winter, but he met with limited success. Nevertheless, at Sabina Park in March 1990, he had the honour of scoring the winning runs as England beat West Indies for the first time in 16 years. In Australia, however, he was best remembered as the worst-possible room-mate for the young and impressionable larrikin-in-the-making, Phil Tufnell.
Batting & Fielding