One of Australia’s most decorated former Test cricket captains, who also played Olympic hockey, dies aged 89
- Brian Booth, Australia’s 31st Test cricket captain, dies aged 89
- Mr. Booth also played hockey for Australia in the 1956 Olympics.
Australia’s 31st men’s event captain Brian Booth has died aged 89.
Booth, who played 29 Tests for Australia, scored five Test centuries and was a key cog in Australia’s batting during the early part of the 1960s.
Such was his athleticism that he also represented Australia in hockey at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics.
But it was in cricket that he made a name for himself with 1773 Test runs at 42.21.
A stylish middle-order bat, Booth made a century in his first home Test against England in 1962, before scoring another in the next match at the MCG.
Revered former Australian Test cricket captain Brian Booth (pictured) has died aged 89
Booth played 29 tests for Australia and also represented Australia in hockey at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics.
He averaged 50.5 as Australia held the Ashes at home before dominating South Africa the following summer with another two Test tons.
The right-hander went on to post solid returns in England in 1964 as Australia won the Ashes again, and was given the captaincy for two games in 1965-66 with Bob Simpson out.
But at the same time, his own batting stumbled and after the hosts were hit hard in the second of those matches, Simpson moved back to the side and Booth went down.
“Captaining Australia was a privilege,” Booth said in an interview with Cricket Monthly in 2013.
Bobby Simpson was the regular captain and broke his arm just before the first test.
‘He came back for the second test in Melbourne and on the eve of the third, in Sydney, Sir Donald Bradman came up to me in practice and said: ‘Bob has chickenpox, Brian. You are captaining tomorrow’.’
Booth’s omission prompted Bradman to write to him, telling him that he and his colleagues “didn’t like” having to go from making him captain to leaving the side in the space of three games.
“I don’t think I’ve ever done that (write to a player) before,” Booth said.
But I understood why. My scores weren’t good enough. He would reach double figures in most innings just to get out.
‘At some point I knew I would be passed over for someone who performed better. Ian Chappell and Keith Stackpole came on board and they were going to have great races.’
Booth scored five Test centuries and was a key cog in Australia’s batting during the early part of the 1960s.
Booth was later elected a life member of the Melbourne Cricket Club, receiving an MBE from the Queen in 1982 and inducted into the Cricket NSW Hall of Fame in 2014.
“Brian was immensely respected and admired throughout the cricket community and beyond, and we extend our deepest condolences to his wife Judy and their family and friends,” said Cricket Australia CEO Nick Hockley.
“Fewer than 50 players have captained the Australian men’s test team and Brian’s name is on a list that includes many of the game’s greats.
He has had an extraordinary life and will be sorely missed. His contribution to cricket continues to be an inspiration and she will always be remembered.”