John Edrich: Former England batsman dies aged 83

John Edrich (middle) was the percussion of England when Ray Illingworth was in charge in the nineties John Edrich (middle) was the percussion of England when his former probationary captain Raymond Illingworth (left) was in charge in the nineties.

Former English drummer John Edrich died at the age of 83.

The left-hander played 77 events for England, finishing with 12 centuries and an average of 43.54.

The Surrey legend scored 39,790 first-class runs in 564 games, including 103 centuries – one of only 25 – and collected 100 tons of first-class football.

In 2000 he was diagnosed with leukaemia, but he survived the seven years he was given and died of natural causes in Scotland.

Edrich believes that the mistletoe injections he received in 2005 prolonged his life and helped him cope with a rare form of blood cancer.

He made his debut at Old Trafford against the West Indies in 1963 and ended his career 13 years later against the same opposition in the same place.

The top scorer scored 24 runs in the second round of his last test in 1976, when England scored 126 runs on a formidable Caribbean attack on uneven ground and lost by 425 runs.

His distinctive courage was evident in this final round of the 39-year-old Test when he and his opening partner Brian Close, 45, stoically defended 80 minutes against the formidable bowling team of Andy Roberts, Wayne Daniel and Michael Holding at the end of Saturday’s game.

Fighting without a helmet or chest protector, Edrich is unbeaten on the 10 and close to 1 at the end, and they bring the score to 54 the next day before the first comes the final period of the Test – Daniel bowling.

Close, who was played by Roberts for 20 years shortly afterwards, also stopped playing for England. They were the only English players who scored 20 points in one set.

John Edrich made his 100th Century First Class against Derbyshire on the Oval Edrich made his 100th Century First Class in 1977 against Derbyshire on the Oval.

Edrich, who received his MBE for cricket services in 1977, ran 310 innings at Headingley in 1965, a totally unparalleled number for New Zealanders.

He hit 52 four, most in a Test-career, and five six in an inning that lasted eight minutes in less than nine hours, the fifth longest by an English player.

He was elected cricketer of the year by Wisden in 1966. Edrich was admired for his defense and temperament, but he was also famous for his shots in midfield.

He was captain of Surrey for five seasons and once led England when Mike Denness was available for the fourth test on the Australian tour of 1974-75.

The unbeaten Edrich, 33, distinguished himself as the captain during the Test when he got two broken ribs on the first ball he had to play against Australian fast bowler Dennis Lillee, but returned from the hospital to continue his run while the Axis was in play.

Edrich stopped Lille and Jeff Thomson for almost four hours, but at the other end they had no more partners, which would have kept the series alive.

This round in Sydney is an example of his ability to repel the great attacks of the time from the West Indies and especially Australia, against which seven out of twelve Test Hundreds were launched.

In 32 matches against England’s fiercest rivals he took the average of 48.96, and in the As Tests on Australian soil that figure rose to 55.78.

The beginning of the collaboration with the similar Geoffreyboycot – the classic combination of right and left at the top of the list – was one of the main reasons why England regained the Axis in 1971-72.

With John’s departure, we lost a fertile and fearless batter – one of the few who scored more than 5,000 points for England, said Tom Harrison, England and Wales Cricket Board Chief Executive.

His battles with some of the world’s best fast bowlers were legendary, and the fact that his score of 310 in the 1965 test against New Zealand remains the fifth best score of any English batter is testament to his talent.

Edrich played in his first international one-day game and opened the season with his test partner Boycott against Australia at the MCG in January 1971.

He reached the first limit of the new format, a brand new clip in the middle of the box office, on his way to becoming the man of the match: 82 out of 119 balls, while England made 190 out of 39.4 balls.

Edrich has played in six other ODI’s, with an average of 37.16, the highest score of 90 and a disbarment rate of 68.61.

John Edrich accompanied by Ray Illingworth and Jeffrey Boycott as England prepares to record the 1971 Ashes Song John Edrich accompanied by Ray Illingworth and Jeffrey Boycott as England prepares to record the 1971 Ashes Song.

Bill, a Norfolk-born cousin of the former English drummer, has been playing for Surrey since 1958 and his 29,305 runs are the fourth in the county’s history.

Surrey fans voted for Edrich to open the bat next to Sir Jack Hobbs in their Greatest XI. John Edrich’s gate at the Oval Pavilion in End Kia is a permanent reminder of his devotion to the county.

John Edrich was truly one of the greatest players ever to play for our club and his death is an incredibly sad moment for all of us, said Surrey President Richard Thompson.

When he saw his brave and charismatic bat sitting in our committee room and got to know the game, it was an honor to call John a friend.

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