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.
After Fred Trueman had skittled Pakistan for just 100 on the opening day, Tom Graveney’s batting delighted the crowds on day two. According to Wisden ‘his cover driving was superb and he did not make the slightest error.’ Graveney’s runs came in just over four hours, and included many sparkling strokes among his 22 fours and one six. It was his first Test century at Lord’s, but the third hundred he had taken off Pakistan already on their tour. After England had made 370, Pakistan fared better in their second innings, but an England victory by 9 wickets remained a formality.
Thomas William Graveney (1927 – 2015)
79 Tests for England averaging 44.38 with the bat
Wisden Cricketer of the Year 1953