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Last Updated: Saturday, 1 July 2006, 12:30 GMT 13:30 UK
Farewell 'Fiery Fred'

Fred Trueman
Trueman fitted many people's idea of an archetypal Yorkshireman
Fred Trueman was without doubt one of the greatest fast bowlers ever to play Test cricket for England.

An aggressive and whole-hearted performer, his performances for Yorkshire and the national team made him a national sporting hero in the 1950s and '60s.

Nicknamed "Fiery Fred", his finest hour came at The Oval in 1964 when he became the first man to take 300 Test wickets. The milestone came up when he had Australia's Neil Hawke caught at slip by Colin Cowdrey.

Asked whether he thought anyone would surpass his achievement, his reply was typically forthright: "If anyone beats it, they'll be bloody tired."

Trueman was only 17 when he made his debut for Yorkshire.

And only four years later he made his Test debut against India at Headingley, his home ground, after being granted leave from his National Service in the Royal Air Force.

Wisden recorded the match as being "crammed with exciting incidents, remarkable collapses and gallant recoveries".

Ultimately, it ended in a seven-wicket victory for England after India were reduced to 0-4 at the start of their second innings, three of the batsmen dismissed by Trueman in the space of eight deliveries.

Born: Stainton, S Yorks 6.2.31
Test record: 67 matches
Bowling: 307 wickets, average 21.57, best 8-31
Batting: 981 runs, highest score 39 not out
First-class record: 603 matches
Bowling: 2,304 wickets, average 18.29, best 8-28
Batting: 9,231 runs, average 15.56, highest score 104

He went on to take 29 wickets in the series, including figures of 8-31 in the third Test at Old Trafford when India were bowled out for 58.

It helped establish a reputation for hostility and destructiveness which lasted throughout his 13-year Test career.

In a 1999 article for the Daily Telegraph newspaper, broadcaster Michael Parkinson recalled the sight of Trueman in full cry.

He wrote: "I see him running in to bowl, chin jutting, hair flopping, culminating in that glorious moment of delivery which remains the classic example of how the body should be poised to deliver a cricket ball with maximum velocity and accuracy."

Trueman was named one of Wisden's five Cricketers of the Year in 1953 and at the end of that summer played against Australia in a Test match for the first time, taking 4-86 in the first innings of a game England won by eight wickets.

In all, he played in 19 Ashes Test matches, claiming 79 wickets - 11 of them coming in a single game at Headingley in 1961.

Stories about Trueman became the stuff of legend.

On one occasion, an opposition batsman walking through the gate onto the outfield was told, "Don't bother shutting it. You'll be back soon."

Fred Trueman dismisses Neil Hawke
Colin Cowdrey's safe hands give Trueman his 300th Test wicket

And when a Cambridge University student he had just bowled said, "That was a very good ball, Mr Trueman", he responded with "Ay, wasted on thee."

Trueman also played a full part for Yorkshire, taking 1,745 wickets for the club and helping them become the dominant team in county cricket, winning the championship seven times between 1959 and 1968.

He retired after the 1968 season, the personal highlight of which was captaining Yorkshire to an innings win over the touring Australians at Sheffield, a match in which he took three wickets in each innings.

Thereafter, despite a brief comeback to play Sunday League cricket for Derbyshire, he became known for regular appearances on TV and radio and as an entertaining after-dinner speaker.

Typically, Trueman pulled no punches when assessing the merits of players from the modern era or the idea of central contracts for England stars.

"I learned to bowl for Yorkshire. If you couldn't take 100 wickets in a season, you weren't given a contract.

"All players are interested in now is rest," he said in 2001.

Trueman, who was also awarded an OBE in 1989 for his charity work, had no regrets about missing out on the financial rewards enjoyed by Test cricketers nowadays.

"I'm happy that I played cricket at the time that I did. People enjoyed the game then," he added.

Tributes pour in for Trueman
01 Jul 06 |  Cricket
Parky on Fred Trueman
01 Jul 06 |  Cricket
Trueman's career in pictures
01 Jul 06 |  Photo Galleries


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