Arthur Shrewsbury

ARTHUR SHREWSBURY, who may without the least reservation be described as the greatest professional batsman of the day, was born on April 11, 1856, and made his first appearance on Lord's ground for the Colts of England against the Marylebone Club on the 12th of May, 1873 being then only a little more than seventeen years old. Even at that early age his method of batting-obviously modelled on that of Richard Daft-was thoroughly formed, and it was at once made evident that Notts had discovered a colt of exceptional promise. At the start of his career, however, he was handicapped by ill-health, and did not come to the front quite so soon as he otherwise would have done. At the age of nineteen, however, he appeared in the Nottingham county eleven, and a year later he was chosen for Players against Gentlemen. Finely as he played on many occasions it was not until after his visit to Australia in the winter of 1881-2 that he took his present position at the head of professional batsmen. Just before he went to the Colonies his health was so delicate as to cause considerable anxiety, but a winter in the warmer climate of Australia did wonders for him; and his batting during the last few years, as all cricket readers are well aware, has been some of the most remarkable in the history of the game. Indeed, on performances he can claim superiority over all English batsman save and except Mr. W. G. Grace. In the season of 1887 his batting average in first-class matches was 78, which, curiously enough, just tied the highest average that Mr. Grace had ever obtained. Certainly no batsman has ever equalled Shrewsbury in mastering the difficulties of slow wickets, and his supremacy in this direction is freely admitted by all cricketers. Subsequent to his first visit to Australia, Shrewsbury assisted in taking out cricket teams to the Colonies in the winters of 1884-5, 1886-7, and 1887-8, and as on this last occasion he remained behind to look after the interests of the English football team whose visit he had been largely instrumental in promoting, his services were lost to Nottingham during the summer of 1888. His return to England had no doubt a great deal to do with the wonderful improvement shown by the Notts eleven last season, and, though he was handicapped at different times by an injured hand and a sprained wrist, he yet came out second to Gunn in the county averages. We can only once remember having seen Shrewsbury bowl-in the famous England and Australia match at Kennington Oval in 1884-but there is, perhaps, no better or safer field at point in the kingdom.

© John Wisden & Co