The apparently effortless style of Tom Graveney’s batting enchanted a generation of cricket watchers.
Alan Ross described him as ‘a player of yacht-like character, beautiful in calm seas’. So complete was his range of strokeplay that Neville Cardus wrote that if the whole art of batting were ever forgotten its grammar could be reconstructed from watching Graveney play.
After making his Test debut in 1951 he was in and out of the England side for the rest of the decade, delighting and frustrating his many fans in equal measure. Poor tours of Australia in 1958-59 and 1962-63 each cost him his place for three years, but a recall against the 1966 West Indians at the age of 39 produced a wonderful swansong of 459 runs at 76.50. He scored 75 in his final Test innings at the age of 41. In 2005 he became the first former professional cricketer to become President of MCC.
A dominant performance from England saw them overcome India by an innings and 124 runs. The heart of England’s sole innings was Tom Graveney’s innings of 151. A partnership of 78 with Ken Barrington, frequently interrupted by showers, took the hosts to 185 for 3, already 33 ahead, before another stand of 122 with Basil D’Oliveira put the matter beyond all doubt. Graveney graced the crease for almost five hours, striking 20 fours and 2 sixes and rendering a late collapse in which the last 5 wickets fell for 27 runs irrelevant.
Thomas William Graveney (1927 – 2015)
79 Tests for England averaging 44.38 with the bat
Wisden Cricketer of the Year 1953