Herbert Strudwick

HERBERT STRUDWICK was born on 28th January, 1880, and is not the least distinguished of the many fine cricketers that Mitcham has provided for the Surrey eleven. When Strudwick first played for Surrey, the county had quite a good wicket-keeper in Stedham, but it was soon seen that there could be no comparison between the two men. Stedman was excellent so far as he went, but he could rise to no great heights, whereas Strudwick had from the first a touch of genius. The result was that Stedman gradually dropped out, and Strudwick in 1903 took up the position which he has since held with such distinction. Comparison with the great wicket-keepers of the past is unnecessary. For the most part Strudwick conforms to the modern practice of going back to fast bowling, but those who have seen him stand up close to Rushby know very well that he would be quite equal to the old style if fashioned changed. In one respect he is unique. I cannot remember any wicket-keeper who was so marvellously quick on his feet. One catch that he made last season in the Leicestershire match at the Oval, flinging himself down full length in front of the wicket, was the most remarkable thing of its kind I have ever seen. Strudwick bubbles over with an energy that sometimes carries him over too far. I can see no advantage in his habit of leaving his post and chasing the ball to the boundary. The practice is simply the result of over-keenness, but as it does no good it ought to be checked, and I would suggest to the Surrey captain a system of modest fines, the amount being increased by each offence. Considering the length of his career, Strudwick has not been very fortunate in his chances of distinction outside county cricket. I think he ought to have kept wicket for England in the Test Matches of 1909, but Lilley stood in his way. When he went to Australia for the first time in the winter of 1903-4 he was merely Lilley's understudy, and did not appear in the Test Matches. Last summer he seemed to have won an unquestioned place as the representative English wicket-keeper, and was one of the first men to be asked for the Australian tour. Whether he has now found a serious rival in the new Warwickshire wicket-keeper E. J. Smith, remains to be seen. In his early years for Surrey, Strudwick was not much of a batsman, but he improved to a remarkable degree last summer, and played many useful innings.

© John Wisden & Co