Fred Trueman First Test Bowler to 300 Wickets
Fred Trueman – ‘Fiery Fred’ – was one of England’s greatest cricketers, becoming the first English bowler to take 300 test wickets when he dismissed Australian batsman Neil Hawke in the Oval test of 1964, Colin Cowdray taking the catch at slip. Typically of his career he was coming back after having been dropped for the previous match (at Old Trafford ). This was doubtless partly as he was past his very best – though a mediocre Trueman was better than many subsequent England quicks at the top of their game - partly as he rarely found favour with the gentleman amateurs who still had a major say in the sport both at Yorkshire and in the England set-up. Had he perish the thought been subservient he would probably have played another dozen tests or so.
There was little that was conventional about Fred Trueman , except perhaps his classically smooth bowling action. Through his career he regularly managed to get on the wrong side of many blazer-bedecked committee types who ran cricket “In my day” as he would have said with his favourite post-career phrase. As a summariser on Test Match Special he continued to annoy some of the playing establishment, never one to water down deserved criticism, especially of lack of effort, thought or heart – “I don’t know what’s going off” his exasperated response to such moments. Trueman was indefatigable, and achieved his 300 wickets by bending his back – not like some by bending his arm.
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