Percy William Sherwell (17 August 1880 in Isipingo, Natal – 17 April 1948 in Bulawayo, Rhodesia) was a South African cricketer who played in 13 Tests as a wicketkeeper and gritty batsman from 1906 to 1911.
He was the youngest of ten brothers. His father, Thomas , was described as a ‘Rand pioneer’ and Percy was brought up and educated to follow in his father’s footsteps as a mining man. To this end, he was first sent to school at the Berea Academy in Natal , followed by St. Michael’s College in Johannesburg , before rounding off his education in England at Bedford County School from the age of 15, followed by a spell at the Camborne School of Mines . He returned to the Rand in 1902 to take up a managerial position in a gold mine.
It was while at Bedford, he said, that his cricket developed considerably. He became captain of the school as well as playing rugby. During his time at Camborne, he represented Cornwall at both cricket and rugby and took the opportunity of the long summer holiday to attend ‘big matches’ at Lord’s and The Oval to pick up tips on technique from the best players.
He captained the side in every one of his 13 Tests. Keeping wicket to the South African leg-spin quartet of Faulkner, Schwarz, Vogler and White, he stumped a higher proportion of his victims than any other wicketkeeper with over 20 dismissals. In his first Test match, he led South Africa to their first victory in Tests when they beat England by one wicket in Johannesburg in January 1906, scoring 22 not out in a match-winning last-wicket partnership of 48 with Dave Nourse. He recorded his only Test century at Lord's in 1907. Sherwell was also an accomplished tennis player, winning the singles title at the South African Championships in 1904 and the doubles title in 1903 and 1904, he also played rugby union for Cornwall and was an international-class hockey player. Such achievements should be enough to make him a founding father of South African sport; indeed, E. W. Swanton called this golden age of South African cricket the ‘Sherwell era’.
He holds the record for playing the most number of test matches for whom he has kept wicket and opened the batting as a captain (did it in 7 test matches)
- Cricket and society in South Africa, 1910-1971 : from union to isolation. Murray, Bruce K., Parry, Richard, 1956-, Winch, Jonty. Cham, Switzerland. ISBN 978-3-319-93608-6. OCLC 1050448400.CS1 maint: others (link)
- Lynch, Steven. "Lee Germon captained New Zealand in all his 12 Tests. How many others played their entire Test career as captain?". Ask Steven - Cricinfo.com. Retrieved 4 June 2012.
- Swanton, EW (1962). A History of Cricket. Unwin. p. 62.
- "Records | Test matches | Individual records (captains, players, umpires) | Captains who have kept wicket and opened the batting | ESPN Cricinfo". Cricinfo. Retrieved 2017-03-29.