Wisden Cricketers' Almanack 2008

Obituaries index: N-S

Cricinfo staff

McGREGOR, SPENCER NOEL, died on November 21, 2007, aged 75. Noel McGregor was an adventurous batsman and a member of the first New Zealand team to win a Test, after 26 years of trying - his catch in the deep, to dismiss Everton Weekes, was an important part of that victory over West Indies at Auckland in March 1956. Five months earlier, McGregor had made his only Test hundred, 111 against Pakistan at Lahore. That was also the maiden first-class century of a curious career: he eventually made three more for Otago, two of them in a week in January 1968, when he was 36. By then a chequered 25-Test career was over: he suffered from inconsistent selection, and never made it to England - he just missed out in both 1949 and, surprisingly, 1958, after he had done reasonably well in Pakistan and India in 1955-56. McGregor did even better in South Africa in 1961-62, with an important 68 in New Zealand's first Test victory overseas. "We used to call him Snicker," said his captain on that tour, John Reid, "because he did flirt with the slips a bit." Another team-mate, Bert Sutcliffe, was kinder: "This little batsman, as light on his feet as a dancer, and absolutely full of shots, has been the wonder and worry of New Zealand cricket for years." McGregor continued in club cricket until his late fifties, and also played a lot of bowls.

McGUIRE, DAVID VICTOR, who died on February 26, 2007, aged 75, recovered so well from a five-year battle with childhood polio that he represented Tasmania four times in the 1950s as an all-rounder who bowled seamers with verve and accuracy. He took five for 43 against Victoria at St Kilda in the second of these games, and subsequently became one of his state's leading coaches.

McKINNA, GORDON HAYDEN, who died on July 1, 2007, aged 76, was a medium-pacer whose five games for Oxford University included the 1953 Varsity Match, when he bowled tidily to take two for 14 in 17 overs in the first innings. One of his victims was Gerry Alexander, the future West Indies wicketkeeper. Alexander had been McKinna's partner at full-back in the Pegasus soccer side which a few months earlier had won the FA Amateur Cup final in front of a full house at Wembley. McKinna played for the Combined Services while doing his national service in the RAF, but work in the City put paid to regular cricket after that.

McLEAN, ROY ALASTAIR, died on August 26, 2007, aged 77. An aggressive but inconsistent batsman who could be either exciting or exasperating, McLean was a regular in South Africa's middle order throughout the 1950s. He was a powerful puller and cutter, and could murder any bowling on his day. Too often, though, it wasn't his day: his 40 Test appearances produced five memorable centuries, and 11 less memorable ducks. McLean started with Natal in 1949-50, but had still not scored a hundred when he was taken to England in 1951, in a team led by his provincial captain Dudley Nourse. He played in three of the Tests, making 67 at Headingley, but had to wait until the following January, and Natal's match against Eastern Province, for that elusive century. Next season, 1952-53, South Africa went to Australia for what had been expected to be a mismatch, but the supposedly outclassed tourists went into the Fifth Test at Melbourne only 2-1 down, and eventually needed 295 to square the series. McLean, who had scored 81 in the first innings - and given himself a black eye when he edged a ball into his face - went in at 191 for four. He had to walk past the next man in, his nervous captain Jack Cheetham, on the way out to bat: "Don't worry, Pop," he said, "I'll get them for you." Cheetham's nerves were further shredded when McLean blasted his first ball, from Richie Benaud, straight to midwicket, but Arthur Morris dropped a hard chance. Things improved after that: McLean made 76 of the next 106 runs, and won the match. At this time, McLean was also playing top-class rugby, but he gave it up not long after kicking the drop goal that enabled Natal to beat the 1953 Wallabies. Later that year he scored his first Test century, against New Zealand, and in 1955 he hit a defiant 142 at Lord's, where South Africa lost, and a quickfire 50 - including some hair-raising hooks off Frank Tyson, then close to his peak - in the next Test, which they won. When England visited South Africa in 1956-57, McLean made 100 in the Third Test at Durban, following it with 93 at Johannesburg. Although he had a quiet series against Australia the next season - being dropped for the final Test - he was back for a third tour of England in 1960. He started with a double-century at Worcester and added the fastest hundred of the season (75 minutes) in a festival match at the end of what was otherwise a disastrous tour all round. McLean, though, did enough to be chosen as one of Wisden's Five, after he "enriched a defensive side with a power of stroke and aggressive attitude equalled by few of his predecessors". In 1961 McLean skippered the Fezelas, an unofficial South Africa A team containing several promising youngsters, on a more successful visit to England, and he made his final Test century against New Zealand the following winter. After missing the 1963-64 tour of Australasia, McLean was recalled for the next season's home series against England. But he did not look happy batting down the order at No. 6, was dropped after two matches, and promptly announced his retirement from Tests. Jackie McGlew, his skipper in 1960, thought this was a mistake, as he was well placed to captain the side to tour England in 1965. But there was no comeback, other than two subdued matches for Natal a year later. McLean became an insurance salesman, and devoted himself to family life: he was married for 51 years.

MAGNUSSON, MAGNUS, who died on January 7, 2007, aged 77, was perhaps one of the most talented of all Icelandic cricketers. Born in Reykjavik, he moved with his family to Edinburgh where his father had business interests and would become Iceland's consul-general. At Edinburgh Academy, Magnusson won the prizes for both best academic and best sportsman. He was picked for the First XI in 1946 as a left-arm bowler but during his three seasons in the team his bowling deteriorated and his batting improved. The school magazine for 1948, when he was vice-captain, said he played "two most attractive and valuable innings"; his fielding at cover point was described as "typically brilliant but erratic". Magnusson made his name in Britain as a prolific author, translator of the Icelandic sagas, documentary-maker and, above all, presenter of the BBC TV quiz Mastermind from 1972 to 1997. The programme was devised by a producer who had been interrogated by the Gestapo. Magnusson lived in Scotland but never renounced his Icelandic citizenship. He was made an honorary KBE.

MANJURAL ISLAM, QAZI, was killed in a road accident in Khulna, Bangladesh, on March 16, 2007. He was 22. His motorcycle was in collision with his pillion passenger, his Khulna team-mate Sajjadul Hasan, died on the way to hospital. Only two months earlier Manjural had emerged unscathed from another motorbike crash. The Bangladesh team in the West Indies were distraught at the loss of a player who had just missed out on selection for the World Cup, and dedicated their match against India the following day to his memory: they did him proud by winning it, virtually assuring themselves of progression to the Super Eights. Manjural, whose nickname "Rana" was often added to scorecards to distinguish him from another player of the same name, played six Tests and 25 one-day internationals. One of Bangladesh's platoon of left-arm spinners, he proved economical in one-dayers, and dismissed Michael Vaughan with his third ball in internationals. Manjural could also bat handily, and made four first-class centuries. He took seven for 82 for Khulna against Dhaka in December 2002, and also claimed nine Dhaka wickets in a match that finished the day before his fatal accident. Manjural was the youngest Test cricketer to die: the previous youngest were the Australian Archie Jackson, who died of tuberculosis aged 23 in 1933, and Ben Hollioake of England, who was killed in a car crash in 2002 at 24. In all, 23 Test players have died before reaching 30.

MALFAIT, JOHN CYRIL, MBE, who died on January 27, 2007, aged 72, was a coach of skill and immense passion who worked with generations of young players in Northamptonshire. Malfait was on the MCC coaching staff from 1986 to 1994, finishing as senior staff coach. "John could appear a hard man, but that was far from the truth," said his colleague Ken Blair. "When he watched [Northamptonians] Mal Loye and Russell Warren open the batting for England Under-19 there were tears rolling down his cheeks."

MARNER, PETER THOMAS, who died on May 16, 2007, aged 71, was a cricketer of enormous talent which was never entirely fulfilled. He was Lancashire's youngest-ever player, making his debut as a 16-year-old schoolboy in 1952, and developed into a powerful man, a seriously hard hitter, a sturdy seamer and a brilliant second slip. Some contemporaries believe he might have been the Botham or Flintoff of his generation. But though he would be a force in county cricket until 1970, for Lancashire then Leicestershire, his bowling was affected by knee trouble, and a hint of Bothamesque truculence soured his relations with officialdom. A combination of National Service, meningitis and the knee injury - sustained playing rugby - delayed his development. But he burst to prominence as a bar-emptier in 1958 when he was Lancashire's leading batsman, and hit eight sixes in 95 against the New Zealanders at Blackpool. He would make 1,000 every year (barring a near miss in 1969) until his retirement, but consistency was never his strong point, and it was not until 1962 that his bowling started to emerge as a serious asset. At that time Lancashire were thoroughly unsuccessful, which enabled Marner to achieve an indelible piece of history as the first ever Gillette Cup man of the match: in the inaugural competition in 1963 the two bottom counties from the previous year's Championship were obliged to play off in the preliminary round, where Marner made 121 against Leicestershire in two hours and received £50 and a gold medal from Frank Woolley. However, the club's failures made them more devoted to internal politics than cricket, and the next year they decided that Marner was, overall, a liability. Following a bizarre performance in a Gillette Cup semi-final when Lancashire seemingly made no effort to win, he was released, along with Geoff Clayton, because "their continued retention was not in the best interests of the playing staff or the club". Leicestershire an ambulance, and then hit a telegraph pole. Manjural was killed instantly, and snapped him up happily and, under the strong-minded captaincy of Tony Lock then Ray Illingworth, he flourished with bat and, for a time, ball. Later he became professional at Todmorden, and then manager of the Timperley Conservative Club. Arguably, Marner had too many sporting gifts to maximise his potential: several rugby league clubs were anxious to sign him in his youth, and he was a formidable golfer. "I think he may have been one of the finest strikers of a cricket ball there has been," said his Leicestershire team-mate Barry Dudleston.

MARSHALL, NORMAN EDGAR, died on August 11, 2007, aged 83. A parsimonious off-spinner and attacking batsman, Marshall played one Test for West Indies in April 1955, against Australia in Georgetown, conceding only 62 runs from 46.3 overs and dismissing Richie Benaud and Arthur Morris. Marshall was told he was playing, more than two months after his previous first-class match, on his return from a fishing trip. Four years earlier he had made his highest score of 134 on the same ground, for Barbados. He also represented Trinidad, and played club cricket while working in Peru and Venezuela. After returning to Barbados, he carried on for Bridgetown's Wanderers club until his mid-fifties. His late brother Roy played with great distinction for Hampshire after winning four Test caps for West Indies in 1951-52.

MAZHAR-UL-HAQ, who died on October 15, 2007, aged 78, was a fast-medium bowler who played three first-class matches in Pakistan. In his first, for Railways against North West Frontier Province at Peshawar in 1953-54, he returned overall match figures of 20-11-20-0, but he finished his brief career with only two wickets. His brother, Zafar-ul-Haq, also played first-class cricket. MEULI, EDGAR MILTON, died on April 15, 2007, aged 81. Ted Meuli made 154, his highest score, for Central Districts against Auckland, his former province, at Palmerston North in January 1953. In the previous match he had taken six for 67 with his leg-breaks against Otago. This purple patch propelled him into the national side against the touring South Africans - but the next Test was six weeks away, and he had no first-class cricket in between. A rusty Meuli struggled when the Test came, making 15 and 23 in an innings defeat at Wellington, and was not selected again, although his stand of 63 with Gordon Leggat had been the highest of the follow-on.

MILLER, NOEL KEITH, who died on September 26, 2007, aged 94, opened the batting once for New South Wales in 1935-36, when he scored 21 and nine against Queensland at the Gabba. He became an accountant.

MILTON, CLEMENT ARTHUR, died on April 25, 2007, aged 79. Arthur Milton was the 12th and last man to represent England at both cricket and soccer. There will never be another. And it seems unlikely there will be anyone else who quite so readily represents the schoolboy ideal of sporting excellence, in his looks, athleticism, grace and modesty. John Woodcock thought he was the most natural games player he had ever seen, surpassing even Denis Compton. Milton was at Cotham Grammar School in Bristol, the same school as two other future Gloucestershire and England players, David Allen and John Mortimore, when Arsenal recruited him; he was in their reserve team before being called up in 1946. Over the next three years his sport was inevitably limited, though he was able to play his first two games for Gloucestershire in 1948, making an unbeaten 58 in the second match, against Combined Services, and adding 50 with another youngster, Tom Graveney, who reached his maiden century. Soon Milton was a regular run-getter, though it would be 1951 before he made a century himself. By then he was Arsenal's first-choice right-winger, and that autumn - after only a dozen first division matches - his team-mate Jimmy Logie wandered over at a training session to tell him Tom Finney was injured and that he was playing for England against Austria at Wembley. Milton took his boots, caught the bus and went to the team hotel. It was a strange experience, he said later, playing in front of 98,000 people, in stiff new socks. He set up an early opportunity for Ivor Broadis to his left but saw little of the ball after that. He told the story to journalist Grahame Lloyd, for the book One Cap Wonders. It was his only soccer international, and soon he even lost his Arsenal place and was left out for the FA Cup final. Milton did play at least half the time over the next two seasons and occasionally encouraged hopes of an international recall, as in a 3-1 win over Spurs ("A light, lean chap with buttercup hair and looking like the 69,000 crowd's kid brother was the top attraction of the topping afternoon." - Daily Graphic). He won a League Championship medal in 1953, before being transferred to Bristol City in 1954-55, and winding down his football to concentrate on cricket. In 1952, he was Gloucestershire's leading batsman, and in 1953 his outstanding close catching was obvious enough for him to be used as a reserve fielder in the Ashes Tests. Milton improved steadily (until he missed much of 1957 through injury), developing into an opener at the urging of his Gloucestershire mentors, George Emmett and Jack Crapp, who suggested it offered his best chance of a Test place. They were right, and in 1958 he got his chance at Headingley. In contrast to Wembley, he grabbed it - against an admittedly poor New Zealand side he became the first Gloucestershire player since W.G. to score a century on his England debut. England overcame the loss of the first two days to rain, declaring when Milton reached his century and bowling New Zealand out for 67 and 129. Milton was on the field throughout. "The impression one gained was of a player with a firstrate temperament and a placid disposition," said The Times. He performed respectably at The Oval, made another hundred on his debut for the Players, was named as one of the Wisden Five, and won his place in the Ashes party. As a predominantly back-foot player, he might have been expected to succeed in Australia. But, after a promising start, he broke a finger twice and failed in both the Brisbane and Sydney Tests. He was picked to open with Ken Taylor of Yorkshire in the first two matches against India in 1959, but missed out again. After seven low scores in a row, he was dropped, and the emergence of Geoff Pullar and then Raman Subba Row put paid to a recall. Milton actually had his best season yet that hot summer, finishing 16 short of his 2,000. Throughout the 1960s he remained one of the most admired and best-loved of cricketers. In 1967, aged 39, he did reach 2,000, almost carrying a weak team as he continued to open, though he insisted he would rather bat at No. 5. "I was much better at 20 for three than 200 for three," he recalled later. "I always needed a kick up the arse to get me concentrating." The following year he was finally made captain, but it had come too late, and he soon resigned. Milton carried on playing for another six seasons, until he was 46, and even then he was good enough to score a farewell 76 on a fiery pitch at Worcester. Still in love with the open air, he became coach at Oxford University and then a postman in Bristol, and when he reached retirement age he took on a paper round over the same route, cycling seven miles a day for £30 a week. "I'd do it for nothing," he said. When asked if he envied the money available to modern cricketers, he said that, riding over the Downs with his postbag in the early morning sun, he felt like a millionaire. With a solid marriage and three fine sons, Milton seemed the most mellow and contented of men. His regret was not going to university, which was no idle fancy. He brought a precise mathematical mind as well as a ball-player's eye to his cricket, and would even quietly observe and record greyhound time trials at the old Eastville track, a task for only the most meticulous punter. The greatest honour of all perhaps came when Bristol University awarded him an honorary MA.

MITCHELL, COLIN GERALD, who died on September 13, 2007, aged 78, was a fast-medium bowler who played 30 matches for Somerset in the early 1950s. Most came in 1953 when he took 47 wickets, 11 of them in the match against Worcestershire at Frome, including his best figures of six for 62.

MITCHELL, WILLIAM MacFARLANE, collapsed and died in Westminster Abbey on November 8, 2005, while acting as an usher at Sir Edward Heath's memorial service. He was 76. "Bill was always capable of a dramatic gesture," observed Mike Kirkman, an old friend. A leg-spinner who spent four years in the Dulwich XI, captaining the Southern Schools at Lord's in 1948, Mitchell won Blues for Oxford in 1951 and 1952, but missed out in his final year. He took five for 107 on his first-class debut against Middlesex in the Parks in 1951, but never improved on those figures.

MORROW, GEOFFREY THOMAS DANIEL, died of cancer on September 27, 2007, aged 55. Geoff Morrow umpired 28 first-class matches in Australia between 1996-97 and 2005-06, and was third umpire for the Boxing Day Test against England in 1998-99. He was also a well-known Australian Rules umpire.

MOTZ, RICHARD CHARLES, was found dead in his flat on April 29, 2007, aged 67. In the 1960s when New Zealand were regularly beaten up by other Test teams, Dick Motz represented their best means of retaliation. He was a big strong outswing bowler with an easy action and ferocious energy. "He gave it heaps all the time," said his friend and Test skipper Graham Dowling. "He was a captain's dream." Motz was chosen for Canterbury as a 17-year-old, and took three wickets in his first three overs: a few weeks later he was talked about as a possible for New Zealand's 1958 tour of England. At 21, he was spearheading the attack in South Africa when the team won their first Tests overseas and drew the series 2-2; Motz took 81 wickets on that tour. He came to England in 1965 and took five for 108 in the opening innings of the series, at Edgbaston (with the help of the keeper, Artie Dick, c Dick b Motz was his standard mode of dismissal that summer). Motz had little support from the batsmen but, though they lost the series 3-0, he was named as one of the Wisden Five. His best Test performances came later, at Christchurch in 1967-68, when he took six for 63 as New Zealand beat India for the first time, and six for 69 a year later at Wellington in a win over West Indies, Sobers and all. In England in 1969 he twice dismissed Geoff Boycott for nought, and signed off at The Oval by becoming the first New Zealander to take 100 Test wickets. Motz was still only 29, but by then he was a martyr to back trouble: New Zealand being unable to afford a full-time physio in those days, Dowling would often kneel on Motz's back and pummel him himself. Motz could still delight the crowds with his tail-end hitting, which was sometimes more exciting than his bowling - he once hit 62 off three eight-ball overs from Ian Chappell for a New Zealand XI against South Australia, and his only first-class century, for Canterbury against Otago, came in 53 minutes. In retirement, however, he went rapidly downhill. He took a pub in Timaru, began drinking and allowed himself to balloon to well over 20 stone - 30 on some estimates. In 1989, his son Wayne was murdered in a random shooting in the centre of Christchurch, and Motz's decline inevitably worsened. He didn't blame anyone: "It's me not getting on with my life," he said. "Mostly being too bloody soft and letting things happen." For a time, he drove a taxi, but struggled to get in and out of the cab. An operation to staple his stomach was a failure. He died of an apparent heart attack, living alone in a small council flat; his friend Dowling found the body.

NEWMAN, WILLIAM DEREK, died on July 21, 2007, aged 45. Derek Newman was a Cornish ambulanceman who collapsed after being struck on the chest while fielding on the boundary in a Cornish League match for Porthleven against St Just. The inquest found that he had an unknown heart condition, which was exacerbated by the blow. Newman was a popular figure both in the ambulance service at Helston and at the cricket club. "You couldn't meet a nicer man," said Porthleven secretary Andrew Bonnett.

NEWTON, HAROLD MAURICE, died in 2007, aged 89. "Mike" Newton played once as an amateur for Northamptonshire in 1938, making two and nought. The county had wanted him for the previous match, but could not contact him because he was on a fishing trip. Newton subsequently played cricket all over the world, while in the RAF and working for Shell: he was particularly proud of appearing for Shanghai v Hong Kong. He later became managing director of Sywell Aerodrome near Northampton.

OAKES, CHARLES, died on December 19, 2007, aged 95. Charlie Oakes belonged to the generation whose cricketing careers were savaged by war, but he still managed a long career for Sussex. He came from one of the county's cricketing dynasties: his father "Joker" was the groundsman at Horsham, and Charlie grew up in a white cottage by the ground, later hitting a six into the garden on his way to a century against Surrey in 1938. By then he was already a capped Sussex player, having made his debut in 1935, and was blossoming when war intervened. He was nearly 34 when he returned from the RAF in 1946 to pass 1,000 runs and 50 wickets, both for the first time. At The Oval he scored a rapid undefeated 133 against Surrey, backed up by eight wickets with an assortment of googlies and top-spinners. Robin Marlar, later Sussex's captain, explained: "He was one of many who injured his shoulder, so he couldn't deliver the leg-break properly any more - instead he bowled what you might call straighton leg-breaks, which were very effective sometimes." Oakes passed 1,000 runs in each of the next four seasons too, with a best of 1,607 in 1949, and took 72 wickets in 1950. He fell away after that, slowed by age and nagging injuries, and retired after playing only once in 1954 - his benefit match, against Yorkshire at Hove, which netted him around £4,000. For a time, he followed his father as groundsman at Horsham, and then coached at Stowe School. He was a popular figure everywhere - "a great laugher" according to Marlar. Oakes's younger brother, Jack, also had a long career with Sussex: they shared all ten first-innings wickets against Somerset at Taunton in 1950. Though in a care home and blind, Charlie heard with delight, on what he called the wireless, news of Sussex's first Championship in 2003.

OLIVIER, MARC, died in a motorcycle accident in December 2006. He was 19, and had played three matches as a left-arm fast-medium bowler for Namibia in the Under-19 World Cup in Sri Lanka earlier in 2006.

O'SHAUGHNESSY, BARNEY, who died on May 27, 2007, aged 95, was a fast bowler from Wiluna, 600 miles north-east of Perth, who played for Western Australia in the first match of the 1932-33 Bodyline tour, taking the wicket of Les Ames in the second innings. He returned to Wiluna to manage the family hotel.

PAL, RAMBABU NANKHU, was found hanging from the ceiling fan of his house in Allahabad on October 13, 2007. He was 34, and had apparently been teased at the bank in which he worked. Pal played one Under-19 Test in 1991-92, under the captaincy of Rahul Dravid, and opened the batting in six Ranji Trophy matches for Uttar Pradesh without conspicuous success, although he did make 100 in a one-day game against Railways at Delhi in December 1993.

PEARSON, LAWRENCE IVOR, died on October 1, 2007, aged 85. A left-hander, "Jack" Pearson played two Championship matches for Derbyshire in 1946: in the first, against Glamorgan at Cardiff Arms Park, he was one of seven wickets for Peter Judge as Derbyshire were all out for 40.

PEMBER, JOHN DEVEREAUX DUBRICIOUS, who died of cancer on January 25, 2007, aged 66, brought a whiff of old-fashioned amateurism into allprofessional cricket. Pember was a Northamptonshire club cricketer, landowner and crack shot who was picked up by neighbouring Leicestershire for intermittent appearances between 1968 and 1971. He was a large, aggressive cricketer, who hit the ball hard and bowled rather intimidatingly, if not all that quickly - Leicestershire found him especially useful in their early Sunday League games. He played a lot of social cricket, though not always sociably, and was a founder member of Northamptonshire Over-50s.

POULET, Dr ROGER JOHN, who died on August 29, 2007, aged 65, played one first-class match for Cambridge University in 1968. He was out first ball, the final victim of a hat-trick for Leicestershire's Jack Birkenshaw, but made six in the second innings. He was a chemist with particular interest in fluorine, and later chairman of the West London Meccano Society, much liked by fellow enthusiasts for his humour and zest - and for masterminding a brilliant Meccano window display at Dunhill's in Jermyn Street.

POUNTAIN, FRANCIS REGINALD, died on January 19, 2007, aged 65. "Bob" Pountain was a nearly man for Sussex in the early 1960s: a beefy all-rounder, he never quite established himself, never quite managed a century (although he did reach 96 against Somerset at Glastonbury in 1964), and never quite received his county cap - not until 2004, anyway, when Sussex presented all their surviving former players with numbered ones. He also missed out on their one-day glory, omitted from the first two Gillette Cup final sides in 1963 and 1964 after playing in both semis. Pountain first appeared in 1960, a week past his 19th birthday and scored 16 out of a ninth-wicket stand of 128 with Graham Cooper. He played 21 matches the following year, returning modest figures, and had four more moderate seasons before he was released, and went to work for the Post Office.

PRASAD, THAPLIYAL GYANESHWAR, died on November 25, 2007, aged 69. An off-spinning all-rounder, Gyaneshwar Prasad played for Delhi from 1958-59 to 1973-74 (with one season for Southern Punjab), and later became a state selector and team manager. He took nine for 34 - a record for Delhi at the time - as Jammu and Kashmir were bowled out for 47 in 1961-62, and also made four firstclass centuries.

PRIOR, IAN DAVID, who died on November 12, 2007, aged 77, was a schoolteacher who played for Suffolk as a wicketkeeper-batsman (and latterly captain) from 1956 to 1968. He played one first-class match, for Minor Counties against the 1967 Pakistanis at Swindon. Prior taught at Ipswich School for 35 years, and was senior master for 11 years until his retirement in 1991.

RAJAH, AHMED, died of cancer on January 19, 2007, aged 57. Rajah played 33 matches for the non-white Transvaal side in the Dadabhay Trophy and Howa Bowl matches which were belatedly given first-class status in the late 1990s. A tenacious opener who occasionally captained the side, he made two half-centuries, both against Western Province - 83 in 1983-84, and 63 two seasons later. His older brother, Goolam, has managed South Africa on several overseas tours, and the national side wore black armbands in Ahmed's memory during the Second Test against Pakistan at Port Elizabeth.

RAMPERSAD, CAPIL RABIN, who died of a heart attack on April 13, 2007, aged 46, was a batsman and occasional wicketkeeper for Trinidad & Tobago in the 1980s, scoring 61 against the 1983-84 Australians. Leg injuries ended his first-class career, but he continued playing and coaching in club cricket.

ROTHWELL, JOHN WILSON, who died on May 22, 2007, aged 93, was a flamboyant batsman who played four times for Tasmania in 1933-34. Two of these matches were against the 1934 Australian team en route to England. In the first game, at Launceston, he hit 62, while at Hobart he made 47, besides taking four for 92 with his leg-breaks. Rothwell served in New Guinea with a signals and psychology unit, and later practised as a psychologist in Perth, where he won a number of state titles for bowls.

SAJJADUL HASAN, MOHAMMAD, died on March 16, 2007, in the road accident that also claimed the life of Manjural Islam (see above). "Setu" was 28, and had played 50 first-class matches for Khulna, usually as an opener: the highest of his three centuries was 147 at Barisal in his fourth game, in December 2000.

SALEEM BAIG, who died on March 28, 2007, aged 67, was a wicketkeeper who played two first-class matches for Punjab University in 1958-59. In the first, he opened the batting against Sind University and scored 82, paving the way for

SARDESAI, DILIP NARAYAN, who died on July 2, 2007, aged 66, was an important player for India in an era when the team was becoming ever more competitive. An adaptable batsman, strong against both pace and spin, Sardesai won 30 Test caps, often as an opener before dropping down to bolster the middle order. He made 87 on his first-class debut, for Indian Universities against the 1960-61 Pakistan tourists, but took a while to establish himself in the mighty Bombay side, playing only four Ranji Trophy matches before his Test debut against England the following season. Three years later, facing the axe after India's embarrassing slump to 88 all out against New Zealand at Bombay's Brabourne Stadium, he made an undefeated 200 in the follow-on. That match-saving innings spanned 548 minutes, but Sardesai proved he could attack as well as defend in the next Test, when his hundred came up in little more than two hours. He was a fringe player for a while after his 1967 England tour was disrupted by injuries, but when Ajit Wadekar took over as captain for the tour of the West Indies early in 1971, he insisted that Sardesai be included, and his faith was handsomely repaid. That series is remembered now mainly for Sunil Gavaskar's dramatic emergence - but Sardesai got the ball rolling in the first match with a superb 212, which rescued his side from 75 for five. "He showed us how to play fast bowling," said Gavaskar, "and in doing so gave us the confidence we needed to beat the West Indies. One of his great strengths was that he was always very positive, and he spread that through the team." a total of 702. Sardesai made another hundred in the next Test, which India won, then contributed a back-to-the-wall 150 at Bridgetown as West Indies tried and failed to square the series. He also played his part on the England tour that followed, chiefly with two reassuring innings in the nervy final Test at The Oval, where victory gave India their first series win in England to follow their first in the Caribbean. He won only one more Test cap before retiring aged only 32, at the end of the 1972-73 home season. During his entire career, which spanned 13 seasons, Bombay never lost a Ranji Trophy match with Sardesai in the side: he played in ten finals, scoring 199 against Rajasthan in 1966-67, and they were champions every year. His son, Rajdeep, was an Oxford Blue, and later became a senior editor with the CNN news channel.

SARKAR, ANIL, died on June 18, 2007, aged 67. A former secretary of the Kenya Cricket Association, he was the first Kenyan umpire to feature in the World Cup, acting as the TV official for two matches in 1995-96. He also stood in several ICC Trophy matches.

SARKAR, JHUMA, killed herself on November 29, 2007, aged 24, apparently because she was depressed at not being selected for the Bengal women's team, having earlier played in the Under-15 and Under-19 sides. Her mother found her hanging in her bedroom near Krishnanagar.

SHACKLETON, DEREK, who died on September 28, 2007, aged 83, was one of the most admired cricketers of his generation. Along with Tom Cartwright and Les Jackson, who also both died in 2007, "Shack" left his contemporaries awestruck, opposing batsmen mesmerised and Test selectors almost completely cold. They played 14 Tests between them; Shackleton's share was seven, and he took 18 wickets at 42. In all first-class cricket, though, he took 2,857 wickets, a figure surpassed by only seven men in history, at 18.65. Of these, 2,669 were for Hampshire, with whom his name will be for ever inextricably linked. Normally eloquent men struggle for original words to describe his success. They tend to get repetitive, like Shackleton himself. Of the 159,001 balls he delivered in firstclass cricket, the overwhelming majority landed precisely where he intended, which was normally on line just back of a length. John Arlott put it best: "shrewdly varied and utterly accurate medium pace bowling beating down as unremittingly as February rain". Shackleton came from the strange Pennine border town of Todmorden; he grew up thinking he was a Lancastrian, though technically he was qualified for Yorkshire. He was called up in 1943, but the army quickly discovered he had a serious problem in his left eye (which never left him and made his career even more of a wonder). He was obliged to join the Pioneer Corps, who were in harm's way without actually fighting. Just before demob in 1947, he met the Hampshire coach Sam Staples, who invited him for a trial. Staples thought here was a batsman who bowled the odd leg-break; Shackleton thought the same. But Hampshire were desperately short of fast bowling and the chairman, W. K. Pearce, issued an edict that everyone should try to bowl fast in the nets. The club realised at once they had discovered a natural. He started modestly, and indeed was generally underbowled. But in 1949 he took 100 wickets (as he would do for 20 successive seasons) and came within 86 runs of achieving the double (a feat he would never even threaten again). All round the circuit went news that Hampshire had a special bowler; what no one ever discovered was a reliable way of combating him. In 1950 England responded to their earth-shaking defeat against West Indies at Lord's by bringing in Shackleton to open the bowling at Trent Bridge. He actually topscored with 42 in the first innings as England battled from 25 for four to 223, but he took only one wicket, as Frank Worrell staged his most astonishing onslaught, and England crashed again. The selectors responded by making eight changes. Shackleton reappeared against South Africa at The Oval in 1951 when he was largely redundant on a turning pitch, and was chosen for the weakened MCC party that toured the subcontinent that winter; he was the leading wickettaker on the tour, with 51, but played in only one Test, the First. Wisden commented: "His well-controlled late swing worried a number of sides but he seldom upset the better-class batsmen." England then ignored him for more than 11 years. That Wisden judgment framed the terms of the debate that would recur on every ground in England throughout Shackleton's career, and afterwards. It was said he was not quick enough, that the best batsmen could find him out; that his success was due to uncovered wickets; that he had no Plan B if a batsman got after him. But he regularly tied down and dismissed the top players; he was as successful in dry summers as wet ones; and the occasions anyone took him on were so rare Plan B grew dusty with disuse. Fred Trueman did it once during a run-chase at Bradford in 1958, when Shackleton went for 64 in seven overs, an event unexpected enough to render it unforgettable. Year after year Shackleton put the ball where he chose, with the subtlest variations in pace, length and movement, and everyone succumbed: Tom Graveney 14 times, Colin Cowdrey 13 and Peter May five times, once with a magic delivery at Guildford in 1958 when May was probably the world's No. 1 batsman. "Everything went up in the air," Shack happily recalled, "his head, the bat, the lot." No one could explain quite how it was done, least of all the man himself. When the young Bob Cottam joined him in the Hampshire team, he asked Shack how His decline was barely perceptible. At Westcliff in 1968, there was a valley on a Shack length across the pitch: Essex 95 all out. At Bath that summer, he bowled three balls down the leg side to Roy Virgin at the start of the Somerset innings then complained the stumps were out of alignment. No one else could see it. Shack was right, of course. In the nets once he took Malcolm Heath aside, then bowled three successive balls which hit off, middle, leg. "I've seen everything now," said Heath. "No, you haven't," Shack said, then he did the trick in reverse. On retiring, he coached at Canford School, and spent three years on the firstclass umpires' list, where he was curiously unsuccessful, struggling with the Laws and even the signals. His son Julian had an unremarkable career for Gloucestershire in the 1970s. Shackleton's last illness was long and difficult, but phlegmatic endurance was his greatest strength.

SHIRODKAR, NITIN PANDURANG, who died on January 31, 2007, three weeks short of his 65th birthday, played one Ranji Trophy match for Bombay in 1967-68, taking two wickets in a draw with Baroda. His daughters Shilpa and Namrata (Miss India 1993) became Bollywood actresses.

SIDDIQ KHAN, MOHAMMAD, who died on October 21, 2007, aged 60, umpired in five one-day internationals in Pakistan in the 1990s. He had earlier played one first-class match for Lahore City; two sons also played first-class cricket.

SIDHAYE, YESHWANT PRABHAKAR, died on November 24, 2002, aged 70. "Baba" Sidhaye was a batsman and occasional leg-spinner who played 51 firstclass matches, mainly for Maharashtra and Railways, in the 1950s and 1960s. He was an aggressive batsman, particularly strong on the cut and pull. Sidhaye was also a brilliant cover fielder, who once kidded the Test batsman Pankaj Roy by fumbling the ball on purpose several times, then firing the ball in to run him out when Roy took an over-confident single. Sidhaye was profoundly deaf, but still went on to be a successful coach in Mumbai.

SMYTH, WILLIAM JOSEPH, OAM, died on September 16, 2007, aged 91. Bill Smyth began umpiring in Melbourne in 1948 and between 1955-56 and 1971-72 took charge of 59 first-class matches, including four Tests. These included three Ashes Tests: at both Melbourne and Sydney in 1962-63 and at Melbourne three years later. By an odd coincidence, his first and last first-class matches coincided with those of Bill Lawry as a player. Smyth remained active in the game, and received the Medal of the Order of Australia in 2002 for his service as "umpire, trainer and administrator, and as a contributor to the development and rewriting of the Laws of Cricket".

SOLOMON, EDWARD, died on November 29, 2006, aged 73. Eddie Solomon was the official MCC scorer for major matches at Lord's between 1968 and 1994, and is thought to have scored all 39 Tests in that period, as well as the first three World Cup finals. He was also a Middlesex committee member and the county's official statistician. Apart from the glamorous internationals, Solomon's job for MCC encompassed many of the various schools and minor representative matches staged at Lord's. On these occasions, spectators would often be startled by a stentorian cry, from the scorers' box in the upper reaches of the old Grand Stand, of the familiar club refrain: "Bowler's name!"

SONN, PERCIVAL HENRY FREDERICK, died on May 27, 2007, aged 57, of complications after a colon operation. Percy Sonn, a South African lawyer, was president of the International Cricket Council from July 2006 until he died. Of mixed European and Malay descent, he had also been president of the United Cricket Board of South Africa. Unfortunately, in spite of his administrative skills, he was most famous for being unable to hold his drink. At the World Cup final in Johannesburg in 2003, Sonn was jeered loudly following a well-publicised incident of drunken abuse during an earlier fixture at Paarl. In Bridgetown four years later, after the botched final, he made a pompous, windy speech that typified the ICC's inability to capture the mood of the tournament. By then, Sonn was already ill, and he died a month later. Yet in South Africa he had a reputation for a sharp legal brain. He qualified as a lawyer in 1972, and after the collapse of apartheid became deputy public prosecutor and then head of the elite investigations squad, the Scorpions, when they were held in public esteem. "He lived every part of his life in the quest for justice," said the South African finance minister Trevor Manuel, "and understood that it would not be attained by masquerading as Mr Nice Guy." Sonn's cricket began in the dusty backwater of Bellville Cricket Club, and he continued to bowl his off-breaks at the University of the Western Cape. He rose quickly in the game's administration after South Africa returned to world cricket in 1991, becoming president of the United Cricket Board in 2000. But his performances were often erratic: he initiated the life ban on disgraced captain Hansie Cronje ("He won't even be allowed to play beach cricket") then suggested he should be rehabilitated. The incident in Paarl, when he hurled invective at ECB chairman David Morgan over relations with Zimbabwe, and then "fell out" of his trousers, was the most notorious. By then it was common knowledge that he could not take his drink, and he made sure he was never the worse for wear in his capacity as ICC vice-president then president. If he reached the top because it was South Africa's turn, and had no special feel for the game, he strongly believed in the need to keep the sport unified. He was also a skilful chairman of meetings, and especially firm with alternate delegates who told him they had no remit to commit their boards to a decision.

SPURWAY, MICHAEL VYVYAN, who died on July 7, 2007, aged 98, was believed to be the oldest county cricketer at the time of his death. He kept wicket in three matches for Somerset in 1929, while on vacation from Oxford University, doing well until he floored two important catches at Bath, reputedly because his fellow amateur, J. C. W. MacBryan, had plied him with whisky the night before. In club cricket he was a formidable batsman, who earned the nickname "Slogger". He went into the Colonial Service ("to pay my tailor's bill", he explained), and later represented Nigeria and Singapore: in one game in Singapore he hit his first four balls out of the ground and was caught off the fifth. His father and brother had also kept wicket for Somerset, though Sam Spurway, who did the job in 2006 and 2007, is understood not to be related.

STANNING, JOHN, who died on May 27, 2007, aged 87, was an Oxford Blue in 1939, scoring 38 and 39 not out in a tight victory over Cambridge. After going down he played seven matches for Worcestershire in 1939, scoring 56 not out against Northamptonshire, and two more after the war. His father, also John, had won a Cambridge Blue in 1900.

STRINGFELLOW, GORDON ALEXANDER, who died on June 4, 2007, aged 72, had been Nottinghamshire's scorer since 1994. His funeral cortège paused at Trent Bridge for a minute's silence on the way to the crematorium. A seamer in his youth, he once took a double hat-trick in a club game for Gedling Colliery, where he worked for most of his life.

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