Wally Hammond

Wally Hammond

Infobox Historic Cricketer

nationality = English
country = England
country abbrev = Eng
name = Wally Hammond
picture = Wally Hammond.jpg
batting style = Right-handed batsman (RHB)
bowling style = Right arm medium fast
tests = 85
test runs = 7,249
test bat avg = 58.45
test 100s/50s = 22/24
test top score = 336*
test balls = 7,969
test wickets = 83
test bowl avg = 37.80
test 5s = 2
test 10s = 0
test best bowling = 5-36
test catches/stumpings = 110/0
FCs = 634
FC runs = 50,551
FC bat avg = 56.10
FC 100s/50s = 167/185
FC top score = 336*
FC balls = 51,579
FC wickets = 732
FC bowl avg = 30.58
FC 5s = 22
FC 10s = 3
FC best bowling = 9-23
FC catches/stumpings = 820/3
debut date = 24 December
debut year = 1927
last date = 25 March
last year = 1947
source = http://content.cricinfo.com/england/content/player/14022.html

Walter Reginald "Wally" Hammond (born 19 June 1903 in Dover, Kent, died 1 July 1965 in Kloof, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa) was an English cricketer, who played for Gloucestershire and England, primarily as a batsman, in a career that straddled (and was disrupted by) the Second World War.

A holder of numerous records, his Test batting average of 58.45, over twenty years and 85 Tests, stands tenth in the all-time list, as of March 2008. [cite web | url=http://stats.cricinfo.com/ci/content/records/282910.html | title=Cricinfo - Records - Test matches - Highest career batting average | accessdate=2008-03-29] Hammond's 336 not out against New Zealand at Auckland in 1933 was the highest Test innings score, until passed by Sir Len Hutton's 364 against Australia five years later, although it still remains the highest score by an Englishman in a Test Match abroad. He scored more double centuries (7) than anyone else other than Sir Donald Bradman and Brian Lara and equally holds the number of Test centuries for England (22) with Sir Colin Cowdrey and Geoffrey Boycott, who both played in more Tests and had more innings than Hammond.

In First Class Cricket he has the highest average amongst those batsmen who have scored in excess of 50,000 first class runs. [cite web | url=http://stats.cricinfo.com/ci/content/records/284268.html | title=Cricinfo - Records - First-class matches - Most runs in career | accessdate=2008-03-29] Only Jack Hobbs and Patsy Hendren have scored more first-class centuries, again having had many more innings than Hammond [cite web | url=http://stats.cricinfo.com/ci/content/records/251072.html | title=Cricinfo - Records - First-class matches - Most hundreds in a career | accessdate=2008-03-29] and only Bradman has more first-class double tons.Fact|date=March 2008 Hammond twice scored double centuries in consecutive matches — 251 and 200 against Australia at Sydney and Melbourne in 1928-29 and 227 and 336* against New Zealand at Christchurch and Aukland in 1932-33.

Hammond was also a magnificent fielder, claiming 110 catches for England in his 85 Tests and 819 in all First Class Cricket. In 1928 he set a World Record 10 catches in a match for Glouscestershire against Surrey at Cheltenham, while his 78 catches taken that season also remain a World Record.

Throughout his career he was constantly compared with his Australian rival Sir Donald Bradman. Although never seeing fully eye-to-eye, before his death Bradman stated that their rivalry was often overplayed and paid Hammond the ultimate accolade in naming him in his all-time World XI.


Although born in Kent, Hammond attended school in Cirencester and he first appeared for Gloucestershire in 1920. At that time, there were strict qualification regulations for county sides and Lord Harris, objected to Hammond playing for Gloucestershire, delaying his full-time entry into the county game for two years until 1923.cite web | url=http://content-uk.cricinfo.com/england/content/story/129765.html | author=Steven Lynch | title=Wally Hammond: the greatest ... bar one | publisher=Wisden Criconfo | accessdate=2008-03-29] He missed the whole 1926 season through illness contracted in the West Indies (believed to be syphilis or another sexually transmitted disease [David Foot, "Wally Hammond (The Reasons Why)", Robson Books.] ) and, like every other cricketer, the six long years of the Second World War.

Apart from his batting talents, he was regarded as one of the best slip fielders the game has seen. He took a record ten catches in a county match in 1928, the season in which he set the season record of 78 catches. He was a more than useful right-arm medium-fast bowler. At his best, in his youth, he had been positively fast but, as Sir Donald Bradman once remarked, Hammond "was too busy scoring runs to worry about bowling." He was not a man to rile on the field of play however. A bouncer barrage by Essex against his team mates brought a hostile response from their champion. "I never saw a man bowl faster for Gloucestershire than Wally did that day," said Tom Goddard, "and he not only battered them, he bowled them out as well."

While he was primarily a front foot batsman,an immensely strong and athletic physique gave him immense power off either foot. Classical in his batting style, he was strong in the drive and noted for his straight bat in defence. The power of his driving was remarked on by all his contemporaries, in particular its timing and strength. Early in his career he played quite freely off the back foot but in Australia in 1928-29, under Percy Chapman, decided to eschew the hook shot to reduce the risk of dismissal. Hammond's cautious strategy brought him 905 runs at 113.12, an aggregate beaten later only by Don Bradman. His Test performances had no effect on his productivity at county level. He was the leading Englishman in the batting averages for eight successive cricket seasons, from 1933-46, and topped 3000 runs in a season three times in his career.

Hammond played most of his career as a professional but became a notional amateur in 1938 to allow him to captain England, a position barred to professionals before Len Hutton took charge. His aristocratic bearing may have held him in good stead, but he won only 4 of his 20 matches in charge. He also captained both Gentlemen and Players, the only cricketer to have done so. He returned to cricket after the war and enjoyed an Indian summer at 43 when he topped the first class averages with 1783 runs at 84.90, making him an automatic choice to tour Australia for the fourth time, this time as captain. Although Hammond's form extended into the early part of the tour, which saw his 36th double century, against Western Australia, it was soon clear that England had no hope of regaining the Ashes. After two outstanding innings on a dreadful wicket at Brisbane in the First Test, which England lost by an innings, Hammond was outperformed by Bradman and struggled for runs in the later Tests. A sparkling 79 in the tour's last Test match, against New Zealand, showed flashes of the old brilliance. Suffering from arthritis and worn down by personal strife he retired on his return and took up occasional cricket commentary.


Hammond only played two more first-class games, for MCC in 1950 and Gloucestershire in 1951, to help boost a membership drive, with little success. "What did they expect," Hammond murmured. "A hundred from me as well?"

His business career was generally unsuccessful. He needed to earn a living outside of cricket in order to play as an amateur and become eligible for the England captaincy. Before the war he worked for various established car companies such as Caters and Marsham's. As his cricket career progressed and then declined, he became involved in new business ventures. Fellow England cricketer Bob Wyatt said "I got the impression he suffered because of some of the spivs he attracted or had dealings with". Hammond emigrated to South Africa, to join Denham Motors in Durban, where he lived in sometimes unhappy circumstances. Denham went out of business in 1959 and Hammond was unemployed with a wife and 3 children to support. After a serious car crash sapped much of his remaining strength, he died in Durban in 1965 at 62.


External links

* [http://www.cricinfo.com/link_to_database/PLAYERS/ENG/H/HAMMOND_WR_01000458/ Cricinfo Player Profile : Wally Hammond ]
* [http://www.cricketarchive.com/Archive/Players/0/458/458.html Cricket Archive stats]

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