Monday, 14 September 2015

Another Sad Story "Former England captain Close Dies"

Brian Close, the former captain of England, Yorkshire and Somerset and one of cricket's most admired characters, has died at the age of 84. He passed away at his home near Bradford on Sunday, the club said.
Allrounder Close, known for his courage and tenacity at the crease and on the field, first played for England in 1949 at the age of 18 years and 149 days - making him still England's youngest debutant. Such was his reputation for bravery that he was famously recalled as a 45-year-old to face down West Indies' fearsome attack in 1976. Close also relished fielding in close, particularly at forward short-leg, and was not worried about being hit. "How can the ball hurt you? It's only on you for a second," he said.

His England career encompassed 22 Tests, captaining the side seven times. He also led Yorkshire to four Championship titles, including their hat-trick of victories from 1966-68. A falling out with Yorkshire led to his sacking and he saw out the remainder of his playing career with Somerset, where he was a strong influence on the young Ian Botham - he called Close "the bravest man I ever played with" - and along with the likes of Viv Richards and Joel Garner helped lift the club's fortunes. His links with Yorkshire remained strong, however, and he served as the club's president between 2008 and 2010. He was a life member and even in his 80s could be spotted in the stands - usually chatting to Dickie Bird and Geoffrey Boycott - when England played at Headingley.

Brian Close was recalled by England at the age of 45 to face West Indies

Bird, speaking at the Ageas Bowl where Yorkshire were taking on Hampshire in the Championship, said that Close had been unwell but his death had come as a shock. Yorkshire's players took the field wearing black armbands. "I was completely stunned when Jason Gillespie and Anthony McGrath came out this morning to tell me the sad news that Brian had passed away," he said. "I felt very stunned and very numb. I had a lump in my throat and there were a few tears because I have lost a damn good friend. "He was a great captain. He led from the front and was never beat.

He would come back from all odds. He was a brilliant bloke to play for. He was as straight as a gun barrel. "He was a really good all-round cricketer. A good batsman, a good bowler and, of course, brilliant in the field. "He was a character in many ways. He used to call me 'lad'. He would have a cigarette on him and I'd say 'would you like a Whiskey Brian?' He said 'yes, I would. Make it a double!' He will be sadly missed."

Read Full Story at espncricinfo

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