Thursday, 24 February 2011
Well played, Brian! You need 20 for your 100
Yorkshire County Cricket Club send their very best wishes to former Club captain and President Brian Close CBE, who celebrates his 80th birthday today, February 24.
Brian, who was born at Rawdon and has lived at Tong Park and Baildon all his married life, was also a successful and popular captain of England, and he remains one of the best loved and most admired of Yorkshire cricketers.
It was on May 11, 1949, that he stepped on to the field against Cambridge University at Fenner’s to make his Yorkshire debut, along with two other White Rose giants - Fred Trueman and Frank Lowson.
A little over two months later Brian made his Test debut against New Zealand at Old Trafford in one of the most dramatic rises in cricket fortunes ever recorded. He was 18 years and 149 days old - and he still holds the record of being the youngest player to turn out for England.
That game at Cambridge marked the start of an incredible First Class career spanning 38 seasons, during which Close became one of the greatest names the cricket world has known. In 786 First Class matches he scored 34,994 runs, captured 1,171 wickets and held 813 catches - most of them in suicidal positions an arm’s length or so from the bat at short-leg.
Brian’s record as captain - whether for England, Yorkshire or Somerset - is second to none. He gained the admiration of all who played under him because he loved the game and knew it inside out: he would never expect any member of his team to do anything he was not prepared to do himself. He remains the only player to complete the double of 1,000 runs and 100 wickets in his first summer of First Class cricket - when he also received his Yorkshire cap.
He played in 22 Tests between1949 and 1976, and he captained England seven times, emerging with six victories and a draw - the best record by any England captain who has been in charge for more than two Tests.
Brian was appointed captain of Yorkshire in 1963, when he helped his side to regain the Championship title which they went on to win in three consecutive years, 1966-68. He stayed at the helm until the end of the 1970 season when, regrettably, he was sacked because cricket chairman Brian Sellers did not like his opinions on the one-day game.
Yorkshire’s loss was Somerset’s gain: they blossomed under his command from 1972 to 1977, but with his playing days finally over he returned to continue his loyal service to the White Rose, first as cricket chairman and then as President of both the Club and Yorkshire CCC Players’ Association.
Happy birthday, Brian.
Day 2, 2nd Investec Test
England v New Zealand
England 1st Innings
67 - 3 after 26 overs