The former Yorkshire and England player Philip Sharpe has died after a short illness in hospital at the age of 77.
The right-handed batsmen is considered as one of the greatest players to have ever played for Yorkshire and widely regarded as perhaps the best slip fielder that has played the game.
Sharpe was born in Shipley, West Yorkshire on the 27th December 1936. He spent most of his first-class career with his home county, playing 411 first-class games from 1958 to 1974, but also played for Derbyshire later in his career and minor counties cricket for Norfolk.
His excellent catching at slip was one of the main reasons for him being selected by England to make his Test match debut against the West Indies in 1963. Earlier in the series England had been guilty of poor catching and Sharpe was seen as an answer to this. He was, however, a very accomplished batsmen as well. In 1963 he was also selected as one of Wisden's Cricketers of the Year.
Sharpe only played 12 Test matches in total for England and many, particularly those at Headingley, felt that he should have played more often for his country. His Test match batting average of over 46, with a highest score of 111 against New Zealand in 1969, was very healthy indeed. In fact his Test average was much better than his first-class average of just over 30.
In total Sharpe scored more than 22,000 runs in his twenty-year career and took an astounding 600 catches, many of which were at slip.
Many of Yorkshire's cricketing family have paid their respects to Sharpe since his death. Not least the former International umpire, and Yorkshire president, Dickie Bird who spoke to Yorkshire's website.
"He was one of the best slip fielders I ever saw. He would be ranked amongst the very best alongside the likes of Mark Waugh, Bobby Simpson, Ian Botham and Ian Chappell.
"In my opinion he should have played more times for England. His batting record at Test level was fantastic. Averaging over 46 is a big achievement in the international arena.
"Philip was a true gentleman, and he will be a sad loss to Yorkshire Cricket."
Yorkshire are to mark the passing of Sharpe on the opening day of their County Championship Roses match at Headingley on Sunday.
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