A excellent batsman, Graveney was a joy to watch when in the crease.

Tom Graveney: gentleman; Gloucestershire and Worcestershire batsman; England legend

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The sound of leather on willow; the smell of freshly cut grass; the voices of EW Swanton, Jim Laker and Ritchie Benaud from the TV commentary box.

All of these childhood memories came flooding back with news of the passing of TW (Tom) Graveney, one of England's most elegant batsmen, aged 88.

Graveney played 79 test for England, scoring 11 test centuries, alongside 732 first-class matches, hitting almost 48,000 runs and 122 centuries.


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These are the cold facts of a career spanning almost 25 years, but they tell only part of the story.

His style was described as classical, elegant, stylish and artisitic. The Englishman played with great invention and artistry, grace and ease. To see a Graveney cover drive - his favourite shot - racing away to the boundary, without leaving the turf, was a treat indeed.

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Graveney could, and probably should, have played many more times for his country, but early captains thought he was not the man for a crisis and too many times got out to a risky shot when circumspection was called for.

This may well have been true, but it was not a criticism that could be levelled at him in 1966 at the Oval.

The West Indies, including the likes of Garfield Sobers, Rohan Kanhai and Conrad Hunte, had been bowled out for 268 in their first innings. Graveney came to the fore with the England score at 78-2 and watched wickets fall around him until JT Murray, the Middlesex wicketkeeper, joined him at the crease with the scoreboard reading 166 for seven wickets.

Sheahan Bats

The West Indies attack included fearsome pacemen Wesley Hall and Charlie Griffith and the spinning guile of Lance Gibbs.

Graveney and Murray enjoyed a partnership of 217 runs, until the former fell, run out, for 165 whilst the latter completed his first and only test century and was finally dismissed for 112.

The partnership laid the foundation for a face-saving victory for England, already 3-0 down in the series, by an innings and 34 runs.

Cricketers Celebrate

Graveney achieved a number of ‘firsts’ in his illustrious career. He was, for example, the first batsman to score a hundred 100s in a career that started after World War II; the first professional cricketer to be made President of the MCC; the first, and possibly only, batsmen to score 10,000 runs for two counties.

He was a man of principal, too. In 1966, Graveney was contacted to play in a Charity match in Bedfordshire due to take place on the Sunday - in the middle of a test match. The fee was to be £1000 for the day, but the Englishman received a telephone call telling him that he was to be selected for the test match in question.

Tom Graveney

Graveney asked not to be selected due to his commitments, but was. He played the Charity match still, but was omitted from England for three years as a result.

His departure from Gloucestershire in 1961 came after he was replaced as captain, and he served a one-year residential qualification before being able to play for his new county, Worcestershire.

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