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Saturday, May 26, 2007

Bill Johnston

Bill Johnston, Australian left-arm bowler of the 1940s and early 1950s, has died. He retired before my serious cricket watching time, so I don't recall seeing him play. While he didn't have the reputation of some of his contemporaries for either his on - or off-field exploits, his record attests to both his ability and his reluctance to promote himself.

Mike Coward in
The Australian and, as you'd expect, Gideon Haigh on Cricinfo have produced good appreciations of the man. He deserves be better known. How many other players were as versatile with the ball (beginning with quick stuff and later, if necessary, bowling finger spin) as him? Garfield Sobers yes, but others? True, his batting wasn't too flash, but he did finish the 1953 tour of England with a batting average of 102, and he and his Richmond club teammate Doug Ring once won a test against the West Indies by adding 38 for the last wicket.

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