Jim Laker

James Charles Laker (9 February 1922 – 23 April 1986) was an English cricketer who played for Surrey County Cricket Club from 1946 to 1959 and represented the England cricket team in 46 Test matches. He was born in Shipley, West Yorkshire, and died in Putney.

        A right-arm off break bowler, Laker is generally regarded as one of the greatest spin bowlers in cricket history. In 1956, he achieved a still-unequalled world record when he took nineteen (of a maximum twenty) wickets in a Test match at Old Trafford Cricket Ground (Old Trafford) in Manchester, enabling England to defeat Australia in what has become known as "Laker's Match". At club level, he formed a formidable spin partnership with Tony Lock, who was a left-arm orthodox spinner, and they played a key part in the success of the Surrey team through the 1950s including seven consecutive County Championship titles from 1952 to 1958. Laker batted right-handed as a useful tail-ender who scored two first-class centuries. He was also a good fielder, especially in the gully position.

For his achievements in 1951, Laker was selected by Wisden Cricketers' Almanack as one of the five Wisden Cricketers of the Year in its 1952 edition. He was selected as the New Zealand Cricket Almanack Player of the Year in 1952 after playing for Auckland in the 1951/52 season. In 1956, his Surrey benefit season realised £11,086 and, at the end of that year, he was voted "BBC Sports Personality of the Year", the first cricketer to win the award. He later worked for the BBC as a cricket commentator in its outside broadcast transmissions.laker1.jpg

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