October 2 is an important day in India-though many forget that it is also the birth anniversary of Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri (1904-1966). October 2, 2015 is also unusual as three Test cricketers of some note passed away.
The best known was Australia’s spinner Lindsay Kline:
who played in 13 Tests but saw a lot of drama in them-including a hat-trick and being involved in two of the tensest Test match finishes of all time. In the tied test at Brisbane in 1960-61, he faced the last ball only to see his partner Meckiff run out.
Kline’s batting was of the Chris Martin school, with Test and FC averages around 8. So it happened that the 4th Test of the same series at Adelaide saw Australia at 207/9 facing a target of 460 with about a session to go. With Mackay and No 11 Kline, one expected the match to end quickly. However, they survived for 100 minutes to end with an unbroken stand of 66, (Mackay 62*, Kline 15*) which enabled Australia to go into the 5th Test with the scores 1-1, finally making it 2-1. Kline did make his highest Test score in what was his final Test innings.
He was, of course, in the team as a bowler and his 7-75 against Pakistan at Lahore in 1959-60 remains Australia’s best innings bowling in Pakistan. Australia won two Tests in that series and only won once more in Pakistan in 1998-99, though they have won in neutral Tests after that.
Then there was Steve Camacho of the West Indies.
He was relatively lesser known, but did play 11 Tests as an opener with a top score of 87. Those familiar with Indian cricket history would remember him from India’s first victory against the West Indies (which marked the debut of someone far better known)
Finally we have Fred Ridgway who played in 5 Tests for England, all of them in their tour of India in 1951-52. This may well be England’s weakest team to tour India, although in purely statistical terms they did better than the 1992-93 team which lost 3-0.
As most of you may know, this included India’s first-ever Test victory:
Ridgway did not do much in this Test, though he had taken 4-83 in Calcutta. He did somewhat better in the side matches, with 41 wickets in 16 FC matches.
A diverse trio, but it is unusual that it included two who played for their teams in their first defeats against India.
UPDATE: Later reports indicated that Ridgway actually passed away on Sep 26 and not Oct 2 as stated above.