Suffolk cricketers' memories of Fred

SUFFOLK cricketers today added their tributes to England's greatest fast bowler Fred Trueman.Trueman, diagnosed in May with a form of lung cancer, died on Saturday aged 75.

SUFFOLK cricketers today added their tributes to England's greatest fast bowler Fred Trueman.

Trueman, diagnosed in May with a form of lung cancer, died on Saturday aged 75.

The Yorkshireman, who was the first bowler to claim 300 Test wickets, finished with 307 victims in only 67 matches - an aggregate which stood as cricket's best until 1976 when it was surpassed by West Indies' Lance Gibbs.

Trueman made his Yorkshire debut in 1949 and retired from first-class cricket 20 years later, having taken more than 2,000 wickets.

Kevin Brooks, Suffolk's director of cricket, said: “I never saw him play but I had the privilege of meeting him on several occasions during my time on the Lord's groundstaff.

“I was assistant coach to Don Wilson, another Yorkshire stalwart, and we often used to get visitors such as Fred, Geoff Boycott and Phil Sharpe, who were the hub of the side that Don played with at Yorkshire when Ray Illingworth was the captain.

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“It was always great for us youngsters to have the chance to talk to someone such as Fred and listen to his views on the game.

“He was always very willing to help young players such as myself.

“I have also been in the audience and listened to him on the after-dinner circuit where his stories are legendary,” added Brooks, who played professionally for Derbyshire.

Norman Atkins, chairman of Suffolk County Cricket Association, said: “He was a boyhood hero of mine and was somebody I always respected.

“He had all the old values of respect for players and officials alike.”

Tony Warrington, the former Suffolk opening batsman and current county vice-chairman, said: “I watched the tributes from Geoff Boycott and Ian Botham on TV.

“They both made the point that he got his 307 wickets in just 67 Tests, whereas today players are taking 100 Tests to reach 300 wickets which goes to show what a great bowler he was.

“I only ever saw him bowl on television, but he had a classical action and bowled from stump-to-stump with a superb away swinger.

“Today's cricketers could learn a lot from him about the way to bowl and getting fit.

“He played in an era when bowlers bowled themselves into fitness.

“Trueman would bowl 1,000 overs, but nowadays they only bowl around 500 overs a

season. He was a true gritty Yorkshireman who called a spade a spade.

“He was one of the first cricketers to come out of the pits and showed that you could go on and become an England cricketer.

“From what I have read he was regarded as being a bit of a rebel and a bad boy, but it was not true.

“If there was a problem on an England tour it was assumed it was Trueman who was involved, but, as he said in his autobiography, on some occasions he was not even there when an incident occurred.”

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