A hard-hitting right-hand opening batsman, Colin Milburn burst on the Test scene with 94 in the second innings of his debut against the West Indies in 1966.
Two hundreds and one more fifty followed in a nine-Test career that was tragically cut short after a car accident cost him his left eye. Short as his career was, Milburn’s fierce strokeplay, jovial personality and huge 18-stone frame made him one of cricket’s best loved characters. Although he worked for a time as a radio commentator, Milburn’s later years were marred by alcohol dependency. He died in 1990.
In a match that saw the Test debut of Basil D’Oliveira, Colin Milburn’s second innings 126* first encouraged and then saved England. After an unbeaten five hour partnership of 274 between Sobers and David Holford enabled West Indies to declare leaving England 284 to win in four hours.
Opening the innings in his second Test, MIlburn struck 17 fours and three sixes (all hooked), showing a typical ‘uncomplicated desire to use his considerable displacement to despatch the ball considerable distances’. After Cowdrey and Parks fell to consecutive balls, Milburn partnered with the cool head of the recalled Tom Graveney to bat out the last 100 minutes without further alarms.
Colin Milburn (1941 – 1990)
9 Tests for England averaging 46.71 with the bat
Wisden Cricketer of the Year 1967