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Ray Lindwall


Died when: 74 years 264 days (896 months)
Star Sign: Libra


Ray Lindwall

Raymond Russell Lindwall MBE (3 October 1921 – 23 June 1996) was a cricketer who represented Australia in 61 Tests from 1946 to 1960.He is widely regarded as one of the greatest fast bowlers of all time.

He also played top-flight rugby league football with St.George, appearing in two grand finals for the club before retiring to fully concentrate on Test cricket.

A right-arm fast bowler of express pace, Lindwall was widely regarded as the greatest pace bowler of his era and one of the finest of all time.

He modelled his action on the great England fast bowler Harold Larwood.Together with Keith Miller, Lindwall formed a new-ball pairing regarded as one of the greatest to have played cricket.

Lindwall was known for his classical style, with a smooth and rhythmic run-up and textbook side-on bowling action, from which he generated his trademark outswinger which moved away late at high pace.

Lindwall mixed his outswinger with a searing yorker, subtle changes of pace and an intimidating bouncer that skidded at the heads of opposing batsmen.

Later in his career, Lindwall developed an inswinger, which together with his variety, pace and control made him the most feared paceman of his time.

Lindwall was a fine all round cricketer; he was a hard-hitting batsman who scored two centuries at Test level and often improved Australia's position with his lower order batting.

Lindwall's best known performance was his role in leading the Australian bowling during the 1948 tour of England under Don Bradman; the 1948 Australian team went through the tour undefeated and gained the sobriquet The Invincibles which saw it regarded as one of the finest teams in cricketing history.

Lindwall's place in Australian cricket history saw him inducted into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame in 1996 as one of the ten inaugural members.

In 2000, Lindwall was named in the Australian Cricket Board's Team of the Century.One of five children of Irish-Swedish descent, Lindwall had a difficult childhood during the Great Depression, with both parents dying before he finished high school.

Lindwall was inspired in his childhood after watching England's Harold Larwood, the fastest bowler of the era, terrorise the Australian batsmen during the notorious Bodyline series of 1932–33 with short-pitched intimidatory bowling.

During his teenage years, Lindwall rose through the ranks of Sydney Grade Cricket at St.George under the tutelage of Test leg spinner Bill O'Reilly, who was regarded as the finest bowler in the world at the time.

Lindwall made his first-class debut for New South Wales in 1941–42.At the same time, Lindwall, a fine athlete, was playing for St.

George in the first-grade of the New South Wales Rugby Football League premiership as a full back.With the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, interstate cricket was cancelled and in 1943, Lindwall joined the army and served in New Guinea until 1945.

Lindwall returned to Australia still suffering from the after-effects of tropical disease, but he quickly made an impact upon the resumption of first-class cricket.

He did well enough to gain selection for a tour of New Zealand, where he made his Test debut in March 1946 in a match that was retrospectively accredited.

Lindwall returned to Australia and spent the winter playing football for St.George, helping his team to the grand final of the 1946 NSWRFL season, after which he retired to concentrate solely on cricket.

Lindwall began his celebrated opening partnership with Miller during the 1946–47 season which saw his first Ashes series against England.Lindwall brought up his maiden Test century in the Second Test and was the leading wicket-taker as Australia established its ascendancy in the post-war era.

He topped the bowling the following season against India and then led the Australian attack during its celebrated Invincibles tour of England.

He took 86 wickets for the tour, including 27 in the Tests, the most by any bowler.He was at his best in the Fifth Test at The Oval, when England were skittled for only 52, taking 6/20 as the hosts were unable to cope with his high-pace swing.

Lindwall's efforts saw him named as one of the five Wisden Cricketers of the Year.Following the Invincibles tour, Lindwall found the pitches in South Africa in 1949–50 less to his liking and was dropped for the final Test.

He returned in the following season against England, regularly taking wickets in another series win.The following year, he played a major part in stopping the much vaunted West Indian batsmen, but he was criticised for his prolific use of short-pitched bowling.

In 1952, Lindwall played in the Lancashire League in England, where he developed his inswinger.He returned to 1953 with an aging national team in decline and despite the loss of the Ashes, commentators felt that Lindwall was at his zenith in terms of his bowling craft.

Upon returning to Australia, Lindwall moved north to Queensland due to work commitments and then suffered a season of injury and illness in 1954–55 which saw him perform poorly as England retained the Ashes easily.

After a strong performance in the Caribbean, Lindwall missed half of the 1956 English tour with injury and was otherwise ineffective as Australia lost its third consecutive Ashes series.

During the return trip to Australia, Lindwall captained Australia for the only time in a Test match against India in Mumbai, after injuries forced out regular captain Ian Johnson.

Following the repeated defeats to England, the Australian selectors instituted generational change and gambled on a radical youth policy which saw Lindwall dropped for the 1957–58 tour of South Africa.

Lindwall forced his way back into the Test team at 37 years of age in the following season, breaking Clarrie Grimmett's Australian Test record of 216 wickets.

He retired from Test cricket after the tour of the Indian subcontinent in the following season, with a total of 228 Test wickets.

In retirement, Lindwall mentored Test world-record holder Dennis Lillee and also served as a national selector.In 2009, Lindwall was inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame.

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