He is the author of a biography of Fred Trueman , published by Aurum. He was a flamboyant, larger-than-life character' Ian Botham Fred Trueman was so much more than a cricketing legend. He was famous for regularly spluttering that 'I don't know what's going off out there', as well as for the level of swearing he managed to incorporate into everyday speech.
Beloved of cricket crowds who filled grounds to witness his belligerent way of playing the game, and nothing but trouble to the cricket authorities, 'Fiery Fred' was the epitome of a full-blooded Englishman.
Verity, Hedley (1905-1943)
But as Chris Waters reveals in this first full biography, behind the charismatic, exuberant mask lay a far less self-assured man - terrified even that his new dog wouldn't like him - and whose version of his bucolic upbringing bore no relation to the gritty and impoverished South Yorkshire mining community where he actually grew up. Hedley Verity was one of Yorkshire and England's greatest cricketers.
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In a career that ran from to , the left-arm spin bowler took 1, wickets at an average of Verity was chiefly responsible for England's only Ashes victory at Lord's in the 20th century, when his 15 wickets helped to win the Test - 14 of them captured in a single day. And he dismissed the legendary Australian batsman Don Bradman more times than anyone in Test cricket, claiming his wicket on eight occasions - and a record-equalling 10 times in first class cricket.
But the high-water mark of Verity's career came during a long-forgotten County Championship match in On the Headingley ground near his birthplace, Verity returned staggering figures of 10 for 10 against Nottinghamshire - a world record that still stands.
Now, for the first time, the story of this amazing game has been told as Chris Waters narrates it in relation to Verity's career - a career that ended with the outbreak of a war in which Verity was tragically killed at the age of Warm and wistful, charming and colourful, 10 for Hedley Verity and the story of cricket's greatest bowling feat honours the history of our summer sport. Fred Trueman was so much more than a cricketing legend.
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He was famous for regularly spluttering that, 'I don't know what's going off out there,' as well as for the amount of swearing he managed to incorporate into everyday speech. Beloved of cricket crowds, who filled grounds to witness his belligerent way of playing the game, and nothing but trouble to the cricket authorities, 'Fiery Fred' was the epitome of a full-blooded Englishman.
But as Chris Waters reveals in this first full biography, behind the charismatic, exuberant mask lay a far less self-assured man - terrified even that his new dog wouldn't like him - and whose bucolic version of his upbringing bore no relation to the gritty and impoverished South Yorkshire mining community where he actually grew up.
He ordered one of his platoons to a distant farmhouse and told the other to give them cover. Almost as soon as he uttered the words, Verity was hit in the chest by a piece of shrapnel and dumped to the ground in agony.
Yet he still implored his men to "keep going". Verity died on 31 July , almost exactly 70 years ago, and was the most illustrious of the five England Test cricketers to be killed in action. The proud Yorkshireman is regarded as one of the most effective slow left-arm bowlers in the history of English cricket, having taken an astonishing 1, first-class wickets at an average of just The highlight of his domestic career was 10 for 10 against Nottinghamshire in a championship match in , which is still a record today.
Verity played in four Ashes series, including the infamous 'Bodyline' tour of Australia in , which England won The second Test of the series has actually become known as 'Verity's match', after he took 15 for , including 14 wickets in a day and the scalp of the great Don Bradman in each innings. His Test record is wickets in 40 Test matches at an average of The legendary Australian actually wrote the foreword to Alan Hill's excellent biography 'Hedley Verity: Portrait of a Cricketer', which was published in and remains the definitive tome on the bowler.
Hedley Verity: Ashes legend who died for his country - BBC Sport
Bradman writes: "We were great rivals and I grew to respect him both as a gentleman and a player. His ideal physique and lovely economical lazy run-up were co-ordinated to put him in a perfect delivery position, with a superb command of length and direction. I never once heard him complain or offer a criticism. Former Yorkshire and England captain Brian Close told me Verity has long been revered at Headingley, the ground he was born within the shadow of where there is a plaque bearing his name next to the Hutton gates.
But I looked up the records and heard others talk about him and soon realised what a great bowler he had been. Verity's last first-class match was against Sussex at Hove in September , when he took seven wickets for nine runs to bowl Sussex out for 33 in their second innings.
After that, the County Championship was postponed because of the war, although Yorkshire had already done enough to claim their seventh title of the s. It was little wonder that Verity claimed: "I reckon we can put out a team to beat any county side in England. There were plans to withdraw him from service after the Sicily campaign, with Lieutenant General Miles Dempsey saying "in a matter of a week or so he would have been safe and able to play for Yorkshire again after the war", but the chance never arose.
During the battle, Verity was struck in the chest and his second in command, Laurie Hesmondhalgh, was killed.
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Several of the battalion were captured by the Germans and the next day Verity's batman, private Tom Rennoldson, was allowed to go and look for his captain. He found Verity and was able to carry him to a field hospital, where an emergency operation was carried out in the afternoon. Then, in sweltering, overcrowded conditions, he was ferried in an open railway truck across the straits of Messina to Reggio in Italy.
Related 10 for 10: Hedley Verity and the Story of Cricket’s Greatest Bowling Feat
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