Harry Howell (cricketer)

Harry Howell (cricketer)

Infobox Historic Cricketer

nationality = English
country = England
country abbrev = ENG
name = Harry Howell
picture = Cricket_no_pic.pngbatting style = Right-hand bat
bowling style = Right-arm fast
tests = 5
test runs = 15
test bat avg = 7.50
test 100s/50s = -/-
test top score = 5
test balls = 918
test wickets = 7
test bowl avg = 79.85
test 5s = -
test 10s = -
test best bowling = 4/115
test catches/stumpings = -/-
FCs = 227
FC runs = 1679
FC bat avg = 7.80
FC 100s/50s = 0/0
FC top score = 36
FC balls = 43112
FC wickets = 975
FC bowl avg = 21.23
FC 5s = 75
FC 10s = 18
FC best bowling = 10/51
FC catches/stumpings = 67/0
debut date = 31 December
debut year = 1920
last date = 16 August
last year = 1924
source = http://content-aus.cricinfo.com/ci/content/player/14284.html

Henry Howell (November 29, 1890, Hockley, Birmingham, WarwickshireJuly 9, 1932, Selly Oak, Warwickshire) was an English cricketer who played in 5 Tests from 1920 to 1924.

For a brief period after World War I Howell was the leading professional fast bowler in England and he was chosen as the spearhead of the disastrous 1920/1921 Ashes tour. However, the immensely higher class of Australian batting compared to that of counties like Northamptonshire, Derbyshire and Worcestershire meant that the low averages of most stock professional bowlers during 1920 (and subsequent seasons) were a very false guide to their ability on Australian wickets against high-class batting. Like all the other English bowlers available to tour, Howell was a complete failure, averaging over fifty runs a wicket for all first-class matches (which some blamed on the poor support of slip fieldsmen). He did play two further Tests in 1921 and 1924 with equally little success.

As a fast bowler, Howell had a long run modelled on the great Tom Richardson and at his best or on wickets softened by showers could deliver a similar break-back to that great bowler. However, Howell lacked Richardson's beautiful build and could never deliver the ball from so high a height, so that against top batsmen he was rarely half as dangerous. He had no pretensions as a batsman, and was not a strong field.

Howell first came to notice in 1914 with several notable performances, when he formed a strong pace attack with Frank Foster, Field and the tragic Percy Jeeves. 1919, with Foster and Jeeves gone and Field far too old for a full season's cricket, was exceptionally difficult for Howell and he was almost always expensive, but in 1920 he jumped to be easily the leading fast bowler in England. He was picked for the Players against the Gentlemen and took six wickets for forty runs, yet it was clear to critics that he lacked the height to get up on the best pitches - and of course, this was born out during the ensuing winter.

In 1921, Howell bowled in deadly form at the beginning of the year: five for 47 on a good pitch against the powerful Yorkshire batting was enough to ensure his berth in the first Test side at Trent Bridge. However, he did very poorly and injury then kept him out of cricket for six weeks - after which a change to softer pitches gave England's selectors their first relief after eight matches of unmitigated disaster and Howell, though his pace and break were as pronounced as ever in August, did not have a further chance.

During the following four years, Howell was always the mainstay of the Warwickshire attack, and sometimes the value of his pace was discounted because he could never enjoy much rest. At times, however, he could bowl with even greater pace and spin than in 1920. Examples include when he bowled Hampshire out for 15 in a sensational match at Edgbaston in 1922 and when he took all ten Yorkshire wickets for 51 on an admittedly rain-ruined pitch a year later. A superb performance for the Players against the Gentlemen at Lord's in 1924 and some surprising efforts in a very wet summer for Warwickshire saw Howell picked for a second Australian tour in 1924/1925, but he did no better than before and played none of the Tests. Then in 1925, apart from a few deadly days against weak batting and one wonderful effort against Hampshire where he took nine for 32 on a good wicket, Howell was generally very expensive after recovering from an early injury.

It was still a surprise when Howell announced he would be playing no more because he could not stand the strain of county cricket - and at a time when Warwickshire were as dependent upon him as ever. Moving to the leagues, Howell did play some midweek matches for the county in 1927 and 1928, doing very well in the first year (beating even Larwood in the averages) but failing completely in 1928. Though still engaged for 1929, Howell played no cricket and soon declined in health, dying less then four years after he played his last match.

External links

* [http://cricketarchive.com/Archive/Players/0/384/f_Bowling_by_Season.html First-Class Bowling in each season]

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