Oliver Reid, aka The Cricket Observer, gives you insight into the world cricket scene. Also on this site you can sample his published articles, browse his archive and post comments of your own.
Friday, February 11, 2011
Trevor Bailey 1923 – 2011
The man better known as “Barnacle Bailey” died yesterday in a fire at his retirement home in Essex. He was 87. According to BBC Essex, his body was found in the kitchen of a smoke-logged flat in Crowstone Road, Westcliff just after 6am. His wife Greta was rescued from the blaze.
Despite the nickname, he has retrospectively been calculated to have been the leading all-rounder in the world for most of his international career. Bailey made his first-class cricket debut in September 1945, aged 22, for the "Under 33s" scratch team, in a match at Lord's cricket ground, against an "Over 33s" team, and made his debut playing county cricket for Essex in May 1946. He quickly became a lynchpin of the Essex team, and made his Test debut for England against New Zealand at Headingley in June 1949, taking 6 wickets for 118 runs in his first match. A right-arm fast-medium bowler, dependable right-handed batsman and strong fielder, Bailey played 61 Tests for England between 1949 and 1959. His swing bowling provided an effective foil for the fast bowling of Alec Bedser, and later Fred Trueman.
In a 21-year county career for Essex, Bailey scored 1000 runs and took 100 wickets in the same season on eight separate occasions. He captained the side between 1961 and 1966 and was also the county's secretary from 1955 to 1967. He captained the county from 1961 to 1966. He was also the county's secretary from 1955 to 1967, which enabled him to receive a salary whilst at the same time technically remaining an amateur cricketer. He played his final Tests in the Ashes tour to Australia in 1958-9. He had a bad tour, during which he scored the slowest half-century in first-class cricket, reaching 50 just 3 minutes short of 6 hours at the crease, in England's second innings during the 1st Test at Brisbane. He bagged a pair in his final Test, the last of the tour at Melbourne, He was never selected for England's Test side again, but continued to play first-class cricket for Essex for another 8 years.
After retiring from cricket in 1967, Bailey continued to play for Westcliff-on-Sea Cricket Club for many years and also became a cricket journalist and broadcaster. He was the cricket and football correspondent of the Financial Times for twenty years. He was a regular on the BBC's Test Match Special for 26 years, where fellow commentator Brian Johnston nicknamed him The Boil, based on the supposed Australian barrackers' pronunciation of his name.
Selected in the Wisden Cricketers of the Year in 1950, he was appointed a CBE in 1994 and was known to frequent Chalkwell Park to watch Westcliff-on-Sea CC, a ground he also played much of his school cricket. An All-Rounder both in Cricket and Life, Trevor Bailey’s loss to this world leaves cricket poorer of an intelligent analyst of the game who was as much apart of the field of play as he was to those who listened to the game.