English cricket team in Australia in 1962–63
Ted Dexter captained the English cricket team in Australia in 1962–63, playing as England in the 1962-63 Ashes series against the Australians and as the MCC in their other matches on the tour. In October, the team played a match in Colombo during a stopover on the voyage to Australia. After leaving Australia in February, they played a three-match Test series in New Zealand.
Although regarded as strong in batting, the team had a weakened bowling attack and failed to regain the Ashes despite being the first England team to go 1–0 up in Australia since Gubby Allen in 1936–37. The team included the Reverend David Sheppard (the future Bishop of Liverpool), was managed by the Duke of Norfolk and was accompanied by Dexter's wife Susan, who did some modelling in Australia, all of which created great press interest in the touring team. Although Dexter and the Australian captain Richie Benaud where both committed to attacking captaincy "brightening up" cricket the last two Tests were dull draws. Not everyone was happy with the glamour that attended the tour; Fred Trueman wrote:
The very first press conference was overloaded with questions about whether the Duke of Norfolk's horses would be seen on Australian race tracks. I couldn't believe it. We were there to contest the Ashes, and there was our tour manager talking about horse racing and whether the jockey Scobie Breasley was to fly out and ride for him. Then Ted Dexter's wife arrived in Australia. Ted's wife was a looker and a model. She is a very lovely lady, but on hearing of her arrival, when Ted faced the press, the majority of questions posed were about his wife ... On top of all this we were besieged by clergymen eager to meet the Reverend David Sheppard ... In no time at all the news in the press concerning the England team centred on where the Duke of Norfolk's horses were running, what Mrs Dexter was wearing and where David Sheppard was sermonising.
The side that Robins and his colleagues named seemed powerful in batting, and, though the bowling gave less confidence, most judges accorded them a sporting chance of winning back the Ashes, but no more. The weakness of the bowling was its sameness: six fast or fastish bowlers, all right-arm and including two all rounders, and three off-spinners. That was the attack. For the only time in history MCC set off to Australia without any left-arm bowler of any kind, nor even a right-arm leg-breaker to spin the ball away from the bat. Nor again was there a medium-pacer of the stock variety.
The captaincy of the England Test team was in a state of flux in 1962. Peter May had been captain for a record 41 Tests in 1955–61, but had missed two Tests due to illness in the 1961 Ashes series and declined the tour of India and Pakistan in 1961–62, as did Colin Cowdrey, Fred Trueman and Brian Statham. Ted Dexter of Sussex was put in charge and while he beat Pakistan 1–0 he lost to India 2–0, their first series victory over England. Dexter made 712 runs (71.20) on the tour and another 446 (89.20) when Pakistan toured England in 1962 and were thrashed 4–0. Dexter captained England in the First and Second Tests to big victories, but then Colin Cowdrey was put in charge to the Third Test.
Cowdrey had been May's affable vice-captain, had a shrewd cricket brain and was seen as his natural successor, but had inherited his cautious tactics and the Marylebone Cricket Club was crusading for "brighter cricket". He had toured Australia with success in 1954–55 and as vice-captain in 1958–59, so he had the edge on experience, but he had the unfortunate knack of being injured or ill at vital moments and withdrew from the final Gentleman vs Players match at Lord's because of kidney stones even though he had been appointed captain, which usually indicated the selector's intentions.
Dexter was back put in charge (and drew against Fred Trueman's Players), but found another rival his own Sussex captain the Reverend David Sheppard, who was willing to take a sabbatical from his church mission in the East End to tour Australia. He had toured as an undergraduate with Freddie Brown in 1950–51 and had captained England in 1954 when Len Hutton was ill. Sheppard was a favourite with the Old Guard at Lord's, who had wanted him to captain the tour of Australia in 1954–55 instead of the Yorkshire professional. They wanted him to captain the Fourth and Fifth Tests against Pakistan, but Sheppard had not played serious cricket for years. He made 112 for the Gentlemen and was chosen for the tour, but Dexter was confirmed as captain for the remainder of the home series and the forthcoming tour of Australia and New Zealand with Cowdrey as vice-captain. The unfortunate Cowdrey never captained England in Australia despite touring a record six times and being four times vice-captain.
There were few other surprises in the selection of the team, except that the Surrey slow-left-arm bowler Tony Lock was omitted, which limited Dexter's bowling options. Lock had failed on the previous tour of Australia in 1958–59, taking 5 wickets (75.20) and against Pakistan that summer with 6 wickets (40.16). Lock was hired by Western Australia as their overseas player, helped defeat the MCC at the WACA and captained the state from 1963–64 to 1970–71. The general opinion was that England had a good batting side, but their bowling was unvaried, would struggle to dismiss Australia and that the tourists would be lucky to avoid another defeat.
Ted was a man of moods, often caught up in theories, keen when the action was hot, disinterested when the game was dull ... a big-time player, one who responded to atmosphere, liked action and enjoyed the chase and gamble. Maybe this was the reason he was drawn to horse racing; a dull day stalking the covers might be enlivened for him by thoughts of how his money was faring on the 3:15 at Ascot or Goodwood.
Ted Dexter was a cavalier captain of the old amateur mould, a highly talented sportsman and a ferocious strokemaker. Born in Milan and educated at Radley College and Jesus College, Cambridge, he was a subaltern in Malaya and was given the nickname "Lord Ted" for his aloof self-confidence. He played golf and rugby as well as cricket for Cambridge University and moved to the "gin-and-tonic" Sussex County Cricket Club.
To see "Lord Ted" thrashing the fast bowling was one of the most thrilling sights in cricket and he could make any run chase look possible. His great fault was that he seldom gave a bowling attack due respect and got himself out with rash strokes, but he could make a big innings, like his 180 at Edgbaston in 1961 when England needed 321 runs to avoid an innings defeat. It was the highest century made against Australia since the war, but typically he was stumped in the last minutes of the match trying to hit Bobby Simpson for six so he could get himself a double century.
Though more a batsman than a bowler he could seam the ball and was often taken as England's third paceman and was an excellent fielder anywhere. He owned Jaguar cars, motorbikes, greyhounds, race horses, wrote newspaper articles and thrillers and married a model, but was known as being moody and mercurial. His fondness for horse racing exceeded even that of Gary Sobers and Brian Close. He carried a then rare portable television to watch races in the dressing room and once declared a Sussex innings from Brighton Racecourse.
As captain he had "more theories than Charles Darwin", sometimes shifting fielders on a whim and was hailed as a genius if a wicket fell as a result. He was dictatorial on the field, rarely consulting with his bowlers about field placings and pulling them off by saying "You've had enough now. Get down to third man"
He was a natural one day player, where his big hitting, tidy bowling, keen fielding and lively captaincy gave Sussex its first two trophies – the Gillette Cup in 1963 and 1964. He devised innovative field placings for limited overs games and his 'ideas changed the game forever. It is no exaggeration to say that Dexter was the man who shaped modern cricket'. In first-class matches he bored easily and his strokes of genius were in the end outweighed by his mistakes.
As England captain he only beat the weak Pakistan and New Zealand teams, lost to the West Indies cricket team and failed twice to regain the Ashes. He was removed from the captaincy after losing 1–0 to Bobby Simpson's Australia in 1964 and toured South Africa only after contesting Jim Callaghan's seat in the 1964 General Election. He broke his leg pushing his Jag to the side of the road in 1965 and retired from cricket in 1965 aged only 30, returning briefly in 1968, making 203 not out in his comeback match, but failing in the 1968 Ashes series.
It was the first time that most of us had met the portly, florid aristocrat ... we hardly knew what to expect: he hadn't exactly sprung to mind as a front-running candidate for the job. It was a black-tie affair, of course, and none of us dared get drunk. Eventually, over the port, the Duke rose, cleared his throat and delivered himself of a sentence I shall treasure till the end of my days: "Gentlemen", he said, "I wish this to be an entirely informal tour. You will merely address me as 'Sir'". The grand old duke is dead now, alas, but he loved that tour of Australia more than any other official duty he had ever undertaken in his auspicious public life ... I could write a whole volume on the Duke Down Under.
Bernard Marmaduke Fitzalan-Howard, 16th Duke of Norfolk, KG, GCVO, PC, Earl Marshal, Chief Butler of England was Her Majesty's Representative at Ascot, the secular leader of the Roman Catholic Church in the United Kingdom. As the premier duke of the United Kingdom he was outranked only by the Royal Family and he was by far the highest-ranking manager to tour Australia. His presence was seen as a great compliment to the dominion and caused a flurry of activity in cricket, horse-racing and high society. He was a keen cricketer who had been President of the MCC in 1956–57 and was still a member of its powerful committee. He had managed his own tour of the Jamaica with a Duke of Norfolk's XI in 1956–67, which had included the England players Tom Graveney, John Warr, Doug Wright and Willie Watson and would organise another in 1969–70. His father the 15th Duke had built the picturesque Arundel Castle Cricket Ground and the Duke hosted matches against touring teams there from 1954, a tradition continued by his wife Lavinia, Duchess of Norfolk after his death in 1975. He was not, however, a talented cricketer even at village green level, and it was customary to let him get off the mark before he returned to the pavilion. At Arundel the umpire was his own butler, who when he was out would diplomatically announce that "His Grace is not in".
The Duke was chosen after a chance remark while having drinks after a MCC Committee meeting. Billy Griffith was the prime candidate to manage the tour, but he had just been appointed the Secretary of the MCC and needed to remain at Lord's to oversee the change from the old divisions between amateurs and professionals that had been decided that autumn. The Duke offered his services when it was mentioned that the new captain Ted Dexter would be difficult to control. Like Dexter the Duke was a keen follower of horse-racing, and as President of Sussex County Cricket Club he was often at Hove and Arundel and had appointed Dexter county captain. When his appointment was announced it was joked that only a duke could manage "Lord Ted".
In those days the MCC tour was seen as a social event and the team were scheduled to attend many high society events for which the Duke was well suited and his after dinner speeches were highly entertaining. Socially, the Duke was a great success, his transparent enjoyment of the game and affability with the players, press and public made him popular As Earl Marshal of England the Duke had organised the coronations of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II and while in Australia prepared the Queen's 1963 Royal Visit. He had to return to Great Britain for reasons of state for a month during the tour, which allowed Griffith to fly out and take over in his absence, this gaining useful experience of touring Australia.
As was normal an experienced assistant-manager was appointed to handle the finances and the practical aspects of the tour, this was Alec Bedser, a medium-fast bowler who 236 Test wickets was still a record and had toured Australia in 1946–47, 1950–51 and 1954–55 and as a member of the English press corps in 1958–59. He was therefore well versed in Australian cricket and known and respected by all the players. He would manage the 1974–75 tour and would remain a selector for a record 23 years until he retired in 1981.
As the tour developed, England's strongest point was found in the middle batting, even though this was not always reliable. It would have done much better with longer partnerships by the openers. Barrington, Dexter, Cowdrey and Graveney made up a strong bunch once Cowdrey had settled down...England's batting strength was most strongly emphasised in the Melbourne Test, where it was more assured and technically superior to Australia's.
The England middle order batting was its main strength, which with two wicket-keeper-batsmen and four all rounders made up for their lack of a settled opening partnership. This was remain a problem between the retirement of Len Hutton and Cyril Washbrook in 1956 and the emergence of Geoff Boycott and John Edrich in the mid-1960s. The only regular opener on the tour was the Reverend David Sheppard, who was famously recalled and had a good tour considering that he had been out of top flight cricket for the best part of six years. Keith Miller wrote "We Australians marvelled at the way Sheppard was able to come back to international cricket and score a century in what was little more or less than a casual appearance". He was not known as a strokemaker, but had a sound defence and made 0 and 113 in the victorious Second Test at Melbourne.
Geoff Pullar of Lancashire was a middle order batsman who was used as a makeshift opener against India in 1959 and made 75 and 131, the first Lancastrian to make a Test hundred at Old Trafford. He batted well against the West Indies and South Africa, but failed against Australia in 1961 and on this tour he strained a leg-muscle and caught pleurisy, which ended his Test career.
Colin Cowdrey was also used as an occasional opener and he and Pullar added 290 for the first wicket against South Africa in 1960. A classic strokemaker whose perfect timing was a great asset on hard Australian wickets he made three successive ducks at the start of the tour, but made 307 against South Australia, his highest first class score and the highest innings for the MCC in Australia.
Tom Graveney was another stylist, but had the unfortunate reputation of only making runs when the going was good. He only ever made one hundred against Australia (when a makeshift opener in 1954–55) and failed on this tour, but Richie Benaud said "Tom missed out a lot. He'd never been out of an Australian side during my Test career".
Ken Barrington was the backbone of the England side "batting with bulldog determinatiuon and awesome concentration" who usually started his innings with a quick 20–30 runs, but then sunk into lethargy until he neared his century, which four times in Tests he brought up with a big pull for six. A pleasing strokemaker in his early days he turned his batting stance so as to face the bowler and assumed a granite-like defence. The selectors, press and public thought that he surrendered the initiative too much to the bowlers, but a batsman of his calibre could not be ignored. His Test average of 58.67 was the highest of any post-war England batsman which rose to 63.96 against Australia. Wally Grout said "Whenever I saw Ken coming to the wicket, I thought the Union Jack was trailing behind him"
Peter Parfitt was a pleasing young Middlsex batsman who had made 585 runs (65.00) and four centuries against India and Pakistan, but who never would never succeed against Australia. John Murray and Alan Smith were both decent wicket-keeper-batsmen, but Smith batted better in this series. Barry Knight was a big-hitting all rounder who enjoyed batting against the states and upcountry teams, but failed in the only Test he played. Fred Titmus proved to be a real find with 88 against Western Australia, 137 not out against South Australia and 59 not out in the Fourth Test. He took guard outside the leg-stump, giving the bowler a clean view of the stumps, but moved over quickly and batted solidly. Of the other all-rounders; Ray Illingworth didn't impress, David Allen failed to make a first class fifty on tour, but Fred Trueman, a batsman who liked to scatter the in-fielders, averaged 20.28 in the Tests.
The fast bowling was, of course, dominated by Freddie Trueman and Brian Statham. Freddie on form was the most dangerous bowler in the world at this time. He was very different from Brian, more unpredictable, and for that reason more exciting to watch. You never knew quite what to expect from Fred. One minute he would be magnificent and the next he would be struggling off his short run and becoming very frustrated and demonstrative. With Brian you knew more or less where the ball would pitch and he was always a model of consistency.
England's bowling relied heavily on the famous new-ball attack of Fred Trueman and Brian Statham, but this was their last tour and they were reaching the end of the careers. Brian Statham was the "straight man" of the England fast bowling attack, running up the hill and into the wind while Trueman let rip from the other end. Statham maintained a nagging line and length, but "George" was regarded as an unlucky bowler, so many times did he beat the batsman only to see the ball miss the stumps by the thinnest of margins, but as he liked to say "if they miss, I hit". His other motto was "bowling in matches keeps me fit for bowling", preferring a quiet cigarette to physical training or net practice. This was his fourth tour of Australia, and he had lost some of his speed, but was a steady stock bowler. He began the tour with 229 Test wickets, only 7 behind the then record haul of the assistant-manager Alex Bedser's 236. With Richie Benaud on 219 and Fred Trueman on 216 it looked certain that the record would fall that season and it was Statham that took the 237th wicket in the Fourth Test at the Adelaide Oval, Barry Shepherd, held in the gully by Trueman, while Trueman and Benaud both ended the series stuck on 236.
"Fiery Fred" Trueman called himself "The Best Bloody English Fast Bowler That Ever Drew Bloody Breath" and with considerable justification. He possessed a text-book side-on action which generated great pace and menacing late swing which was coupled with the fitness and stamina to bowl a thousand overs a season. The outspoken Yorkshireman was notoriously difficult to manage and disliked by the MCC hierarchy. Once at Melbourne the Duke called "Trueman! Over here!" and beckoning him over with his finger, to which the fast bowler took exception, though they later became good friends and the manager asked Fred to call him "Dukie". In Queensland Trueman was struck down by back pains, just as he had in 1958–59, when he missed the First and Second Tests. On this occasion a specialist said he had a broken bone in his back which required surgery and that he would never bowl again, which Trueman's father called "bloody daft". With true Yorkshire grit Trueman insisted in bowling in the First Test despite the pain and took the wickets of Bill Lawry, Norm O'Neill and Peter Burge. Wes Hall was bowling for Queensland and it was suggested that Trueman was over the hill and that Hall was the better fast bowler. Trueman responded by taking 20 wickets (25.05) in Australia,14 wickets (11.71) in New Zealand and 34 wickets (17.47) back home against the West Indies to overtake Statham's new record of 242 Test wickets and became the first bowler to take 250 Test wickets.
The supporting fast bowlers failed to impress on the tour and when Trueman and Statham were not bowling Ted Dexter tended to set defensive fields until they were ready again. David Larter was a 6'7" Scottish seamer with a ridiculously long run, but he lacked confidence and didn't play in any of the Tests. Len Coldwell would become the prime reason for Worcestershire winning their first County Championships in 1964 and 1965, but injured himself at the start of the tour and had yet to fully develop. Barry Knight was a typical all rounder who liked to hit the ball around and bowl short of a length, which did little on Australian pitches. Dexter was a useful medium-paced seamer who was used both a stock bowler and as a partnership-breaker and took 4/8 against Queensland just before the First Test.
Dexter didn't trust spin bowlers (Sussex had no specialist spinner in the 1960s), thinking that leg-spinners just bought expensive wickets, and using off-spinners only for containment. England had three off-spinning all rounders in the 1950s and 1960s: David Allen, Fred Titmus and Ray Illingworth, all averaging 22–25 with the bat and 30–32 with the ball. Allen was the preferred choice in this period, and was famously pulled out of the attack after taking three wickets at Old Trafford in 1961, which happened again at Headingley in 1964, Australia winning both matches. Dexter later admitted that he broke Allen's confidence in himself and "deprived the side of a great bowler for much of the tour" Fred Titmus was brought back into the England side after seven years and proved to be a real find, taking 7/79 in the Second Test and taking 21 wickets (29.33), even more than Fred Trueman. Though Ray Illingworth later became England captain become the most famous of the trio he was in and out of the team and took only 1/131 in the series. Ken Barrington had started life as a leg-spinner and was a good bowler at club level, he was used in first-class and Test cricket by way of variety, but never really succeeded at this level.
One of the things present cricketers are inclined to announce – without apologies for their immodesty as a rule – is that modern field-placing is more 'scientific' than it used to be. My own watching experience goes back little more than thirty years and I can only offer the view, which today's events may certainly have made slightly more acute that geometrically, arithmetically, psychologically, geographically, and from every other conceivable point of view, the setting of modern English field often seems completely illogical and devoid of principle.
As was nearly always the case England could not match the superior fielding of the Australian team and they looked poor in the field. Between Godfrey Evans and Alan Knott England had no regular wicket-keeper and used a series of decent county keepers. John Murray was the better of the two keepers, but Alan Smith batted better on tour and was chosen for most of the Tests Murray was hit on the head by the bat of a hooking rugby international player in a minor game and injured his shoulder diving to catch Bill Lawry in the Third Test and Smith was hit on the head by a Wes Hall bouncer just before the First Test.
In the slips there was Colin Cowdrey, who would take a record 120 Test match catches with Tom Graveney (80 catches) and Ken Barrington (58 catches). Peter Parfitt was one of the best first slips in England and Fred Titmus, a very talkative fielder, had the habit of taking catches in mid-conversation. Ted Dexter was an excellence fielder anywhere and Fred Trueman and Ray Illingworth were good close fielders. Trueman was also a superb out-fielder, capable of throwing down a wicket with either hand and both he and Barrington struck up a good rapport with the crowds while in the field.
The Reverend David Sheppard had been a noted close fielder in his youth and held some good catches on the tour, but "the ones I dropped were at such vital moments", Richie Benaud and Bill Lawry in the Second Test and Neil Harvey in the Fourth Test off Trueman, who told him "The only time your hands are together are on Sunday". This is a story that increased with the telling, another version being "Pretend it's Sunday Reverend, and keep your hands together", or that it was Sheppard who said "Sorry Fred, I should have kept my hands together". As "catch after catch went down...Sheppard found himself first at cover, then mid-off or mid-on, and finally the position which is the ultimate hiding place of all bad fieldsmen: deep fine-leg". One couple in Australia asked Mrs Sheppard if her husband could christen their baby, but she advised them not to as he was bound to drop it.
England touring squadEdit
This was the last tour to use the old divisions of amateurs and professionals in English cricket so the convention remained of gentleman amateurs having their initials in front of their surname and professional players with their initials after their name, if used at all.
|Test statistics of England Team 1962–63|
|Name||County||Age||Role||Tests||Runs||Highest||Average||100s||50s||Ct||St||Wickets||Best||Average||5 Wt||10 Wt|
|The Duke of Norfolk||Sussex||54||Manager|
|S.C. Griffith||Sussex||48||Temporary manager||3||157||140||31.40||1||5|
|W.R. Watkins||Middlesex||Scorer and Baggage Man|
|Pullar G.||Lancashire||27||Left-handed opening batsman||28||1974||175||43.86||4||12||2||1||1/1||37.00|
|Rev. D.S. Sheppard||Sussex||33||Right-handed opening batsman||22||1172||119||37.80||3||6||12|
|Parfitt, P.H.||Middlesex||25||Left-handed top-order batsman||37||1882||131*||40.91||7||6||42||12||2/5||47.83|
|Barrington, K.F.||Surrey||31||Right-handed top-order batsman||82||6806||256||58.67||20||35||58||29||3/4||44.82|
|M.C. Cowdrey (vc)||Kent||29||Right-handed top-order batsman||114||7624||182||44.06||22||38||120||0/1|
|E.R. Dexter (c)||Sussex||27||Right-handed top-order batsman||62||4502||205||47.89||9||27||29||66||4/10||34.93|
|Graveney, T.W.||Worcs||35||Right-handed top-order batsman||79||4882||258||44.38||11||20||80||1||1/34||167.00|
|Trueman, F.S.||Yorkshire||31||Right-arm fast bowler||67||981||39*||13.81||64||307||8/31||21.57||17||3|
|Coldwell, L.J.||Worcs||29||Right-arm fast–medium bowler||7||9||6*||4.50||1||22||6/85||27.72||1|
|Knight, B.R.||Essex||24||Right-arm fast–medium bowler||29||812||127||26.19||2||14||70||4/38||31.75|
|Larter, J.D.F.||Northants||22||Right-arm fast–medium bowler||10||16||10||3.20||5||37||5/57||25.43||2|
|Statham, J.B.||Lancashire||32||Right-arm fast–medium bowler||51||675||38||11.44||28||252||7/39||24.84||9||1|
|Allen, D.A.||Glos||27||Off-spin bowler||39||918||88||25.50||5||10||122||5/30||30.97||4|
|Illingworth, R.||Yorkshire||30||Off-spin bowler||61||1836||113||23.24||2||5||45||122||6/29||31.20||3|
|Titmus, F.J.||Middlesex||29||Off-spin bowler||53||1449||84*||22.29||10||35||153||7/79||32.22||7|
First Test – BrisbaneEdit
30 November – 5 December 1962
Second Test – MelbourneEdit
29 December 1962 – 3 January 1963
Third Test – SydneyEdit
11–15 January 1963
Fourth Test – AdelaideEdit
25–30 January 1963
Fifth Test – SydneyEdit
15–20 February 1963
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