Although firmly established as a Lancashire regular by the mid-1930s and an England debutant in 1937, Cyril Washbrook had to wait until after the Second World War before holding down a regular place in the England batting order.
A solid opening bat, Washbrook formed a formidable first-wicket partnership (averaging 60 per innings) with Len Hutton in the late 1940s before a disappointing tour of Australia in 1950-51 cost him his place. Five years later, in 1956, Washbrook was a newly appointed Test selector when, having asked him to leave the room, his colleagues chose him for a comeback against Australia at Headingley. Washbrook’s innings of 98 helped England to win the match and level the series.
In one of the most famous Test Matches at Lord’s, one that created the image of West Indies’ ‘calypso cricket’, Cyril Washbrook’s second innings 114 was one of the few bright spots in an otherwise abject performance. Bowled out by spinners Ramadhin and Valentine for 151 in their first innings, England found themselves facing a deficit of 600 when their second innings began early on day four. Saving the match proved an impossible task, but Washbrook’s five hours and 24 minutes of defiance at least ensured that England went down fighting. He was fifth out with the score on 228, but England’s last five wickets subsided for only 46 runs.
Cyril Washbrook (1914-1999)
37 Tests for England averaging 42.81 with the bat
Wisden Cricketer of the Year 1947