Geoff Boycott’s 18-year Test career provided as many talking points as successes.
In 1967 he was dropped for batting too slowly after making 246* against India at Headingley, in a match England won by 6 wickets. Ten years later he returned to the England side after a three-year absence and immediately ran-out local hero Derek Randall against Australia at Trent Bridge. Happily he went on to complete a century on his return.
In the following Test he brought up the 100th first-class century of his career on his home turf of Headingley. Five years later Boycott’s Test career ended after he signed up for a ‘rebel’ tour of South Africa. He continued to play for Yorkshire until 1986. A supreme technician, bred in the Yorkshire tradition of opening batsmen, he followed in the footsteps of Herbert Sutcliffe and Len Hutton as perhaps the most reliable run-scorer of his generation.
A long media career followed retirement and in Boycott cricket found one of its most insightful and opinionated commentators.
With England set an unlikely 322 to win on the final day, Boycott’s characteristic solidity helped get them tantalisingly close. Losing John Edrich with just 1 run on the board, Boycott and Peter Parfitt laid a solid platform with a second wicket stand of 93. Run scoring was not easy with Lance Gibbs wheeling away for 40 consecutive overs from the Pavilion End and Boycott took a back seat to the more aggressive Phil Sharpe in a partnership of 126 for the fourth wicket. Boycott struck 16 fours in his 106 before falling to Grayson Shillngford. When Garry Sobers snared Sharpe soon afterwards England’s challenge fell away.
Geoffrey Boycott (1940 - )
108 Tests for England averaging 47.72 with the bat
Wisden Cricketer of the Year 1965