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Len Hutton

From Academic Kids

Template:Infobox Historic Cricketer Sir Leonard Hutton (June 23, 1916 - September 6, 1990) was an English cricketer.

He was born at Fulneck near Pudsey in Yorkshire into a keen cricketing family. From an early age the young Leonard immersed himself in cricket and became an avid student of the art of batting. George Hirst, the Yorkshire and England all-rounder, said he could not teach him anything about batting when Hutton was fourteen. Hutton learned from players such as Wilfred Rhodes, Herbert Sutcliffe, Bill Bowes, Hedley Verity and Brian Sellars.

He made his first class debut for Yorkshire in 1934 at the age on 17; in 14 championship matches that season he scored five fifties and his maiden first class century. From an early age his batting was skilful and showed ability to deal with all types of pitches — these were the days of uncovered wickets.

Hutton made his Test match debut against New Zealand in 1937 and hit his first Test century at Old Trafford in only his second Test. A year later he was to break Don Bradman's record for the highest individual score in test matches with 364. This innings was at the Oval in 1938 and took over 13 hours, a stupendous feat of concentration for a 22 year old. The following year he thrilled the crowds with his attacking play as the West Indian attack was taken apart as he scored 196 in the Lord's test (the last 96 runs coming in 95 minutes). He finished the series on a high with 165 not out at the Oval.

Wartime saw Hutton become an Army PT instructor where he badly broke his left arm in a gymnasium accident, he had to have bone grafts to repair the damage and after eight months in hospital was left with his left arm two inches shorter than his right.

Although this injury seemed not to affect his subsequent career (his Test average was higher after the war than before) it must have played on his mind, knowing a blow on his left forearm could have ended his career. Perhaps this injury increased his innate sense of caution, Hutton could be a wonderful attacking batsman when in the mood and could play every stroke in the book. But more often than not the burden of carrying England’s batting saw him adopt a much more circumspect approach, he was a hard headed, practical man who described himself as being a "Round head" as opposed to Compton’s Cavalier. But all are agreed that when he let himself go he could be a glorious batsman, his innings of 37 out of 49 at the Sydney Test of 1946/47 was scintillating and had elder members of the crowd recalling the Legendary Victor Trumper.

The first post-war series against Australia in 1946/47 was a difficult one for England, perhaps it came too soon after the war and English cricket had not returned to its pre war standard. The squad was too old and the younger players such as Evans and Bedser were not yet established. Hutton, however, showed he could still do the business with a century in the last Test.

1948 saw him dropped for the only time in his Test career, this was against Bradman's legendary team. His being dropped was controversial and provoked much debate, promptly restored to the side the following test he scored steadily over the rest of the series with three half centuries and a score of 30 that was the top score out of 52 at The Oval.

The early 1950's saw Hutton establish himself as England's batting rock, he alone mastered the West Indian spin duo of Ramadhin and Valentine, scoring 202 not out in the 1950 Oval test. He was playing better than ever, and was awarded the England Captaincy in 1952. This was very significant for English cricket as the captain had always been an amateur not a professional like Hutton, some in cricket's establishment were against this break with tradition but Hutton simply got on with the job. Victory against India in 1952 was followed by regaining the Ashes in 1953 against Lindsay Hassett's Australians.

Perhaps his greatest achievement came in the 1953/54 series in the West Indies; England were 2-0 down in the Test series amid rancour and disputes. Hutton however showed his customary determination and resolve to lead England to victory in two Tests to draw the series 2-2.

1954/55 saw Hutton lead England to Australia, after being badly beaten in the first Test at Brisbane, (after Hutton put the home side into bat) he stuck to his guns and England fought back. Frank Tyson came to the fore with some of the fastest bowling ever seen (staunchly supported by Brian Statham), young batsmen like Peter May and Colin Cowdrey emerged and Hutton's side came out victorious three Tests to one. Hutton deserved much credit for once again showing resolve and determination to come back from a setback to fight back and win.

This triumph was to be his crowning moment as he had to withdraw from the following home series with ill health. He subsequently retired in 1956 succumbing to a bad back that had been bent over a cricket bat since childhood. He retired after playing 79 Test matches, scoring 6971 runs at an average of 56.67 with 19 hundreds. In all first class cricket he scored 40140 runs at an average of 55.51 with 129 hundreds. In short he was a true great of the game and must rank alongside Jack Hobbs and Hammond as the finest of English batsmen. He was knighted in 1956 for his services to cricket.

He married Dorothy Dennis on 3 September 1939 and they had two sons Richard and John. Their elder son R.A.Hutton became a successful cricketer for Repton, Cambridge University. Yorkshire and England. Richard's elder son B.L.Hutton is currently the county captain of Middlesex.


Preceded by:
Nigel Howard
English national cricket captain
1952-1954/5
Succeeded by:
Peter May

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