02 January 2019

Denis Compton: genius cricketer

Denis Compton CBE
(1918 - 1997)
Denis Compton, a cricketer who played in nearly eighty Test matches for England and who was a household name during the 1940s, is widely regarded as one of the top batsmen of all time.
By the late 1930s, Compton was one of England’s finest batsmen, and remained at the top of his profession for some twenty years. His dashing approach to batting and the sheer enjoyment he exuded endeared him to a generation of cricket lovers.

On the England tour of South Africa 1948–49 he scored 300 against North-Eastern Transvaal in just over three hours — still the fastest triple-century ever in first-class cricket.
Compton’s style of playing could be described as inspirational. He became known for inventing new ways of batting which would then be imitated by other players.

His performance could be erratic, and I remember finding it disappointing on occasion. He would sometimes raise one’s expectations, then dash them.

Compton also played professional football, representing England during wartime in a number of friendly matches against allied countries such as France.

Compton seems to have had an unusual personality.
Compton’s absent-mindedness was legendary. Cricketer Colin Cowdrey writes that Compton turned up for the Old Trafford Test of 1955 against South Africa without his kitbag. Undaunted, Compton sauntered into the Old Trafford museum and, borrowing an antique bat off the display, went on to score 158 and 71 runs in the first two innings.

Peter Parfitt, another England Test cricketer, was a speaker at a major celebration in London for Compton’s 70th birthday. He says that Compton was called to the telephone by a lady who had heard about the dinner: eventually he agreed to take the call. “Denis,” she said, “it’s me, your mother. You’re not 70, you’re only 69.”
Extracts are from Wikipedia article about Denis Compton.