John Edrich: Former England batsman dies aged 83

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Former England batsman John Edrich has died at the age of 83.

The left-hander played 77 Tests for England, making 12 centuries and finishing with an average of 43.54.

A Surrey legend, he made 39,790 first-class runs overall from 564 matches, including 103 centuries – one of only 25 men to compile 100 first-class tons.

He was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2000 but lived long past the seven years he was given at that time and died of natural causes at his home in Scotland.

Edrich believed injections of mistletoe he received from 2005 extended his life and enabled him to cope with a rare form of the blood cancer.

He made his Test debut against West Indies at Old Trafford in 1963 and finished against the same opposition on the same ground 13 years later.

The opener top scored with 24 in the second innings of his final Test in 1976 as England were bowled out for 126 by West Indies’ formidable pace quartet and lost by 425 runs.

Edrich, awarded a MBE for services to cricket in 1977, compiled his career-high innings of 310 not out against New Zealand at Headingley in 1965.

One of Wisden’s Cricketers of the Year in 1966, he was renowned for his cut shot and was prolific through the mid-wicket area.

He captained Surrey for five seasons and led England once, when Mike Denness dropped himself on the 1974-75 tour of Australia.

His unbeaten 33 in that Test was particularly impressive given he had ribs broken by the first ball he faced from Australia fast bowler Dennis Lillee.

“With John’s passing, we’ve lost a prolific and fearless batsman – one of the select few who have scored more than 5,000 runs for England,” said Tom Harrison, chief executive of the England and Wales Cricket Board.

“His duels with some of the world’s best fast bowlers were legendary, and it’s a testament to his ability that his 310 not out against New Zealand in 1965 remains the fifth-highest Test score by an English batsman.”

He played for Surrey for 20 years from 1958 and his 29,305 runs is the fourth-highest total in the history of the county.

Surrey fans voted for Edrich to open the batting alongside Sir Jack Hobbs in their ‘Greatest XI’ and the John Edrich Gates at the Pavilion End of the Kia Oval is a permanent reminder of his service to the county.

“John Edrich was truly one of the greatest players to ever play for our club and his passing is an incredibly sad moment for us all,” said Surrey chairman Richard Thompson.

“From watching his brave and charismatic batting to sitting alongside him in our committee room and learning about the game, to have been able to call John a friend was a high honour.”

BBC

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