I had to post this glowing tribute by Matthew Engel in The Guardian.
Thanks are due to the writer and the newspaper.
- From RJS on #cricket
ROLE MODEL OF FAST MODERN CRICKET;
Obituary: Ray Lindwall
By: Matthew Engel
RAY LINDWALL, who has died aged 74, was a heroic figure from one of
cricket's golden ages. Very arguably, he was also the greatest of all
fast bowlers, and one of the pioneering figures of the modern game.
Lindwall found fame on the 1948 tour of England - Don Bradman's last -
he was the chief offensive weapon in Australia's 4-0 triumph. England,
struggling after the war, were hopelessly outclassed. But, in contrast to
defeats by similar margins, the series is remembered for the magnificence
Australia's cricket, not English incompetence.
As captain, Bradman used Lindwall sparingly. And Lindwall used his
ferociously fast and well-directed bouncer - bumper as it was usually
those days - sparingly too. But the possibility, when he was not bowling,
Lindwall might come back into the attack, and then the possibility, when
bowling, that at any moment he might unleash a rip-snorting short-pitched
at the batsman's head, dictated the terms of trade. Lindwall injured six
batsmen that summer; England had no one who could possibly retaliate.
This was the beginning of modern Test cricket, in which Lindwall is a
model. In 1932-33 England had gone too far, when Harold Larwood's bumper,
to the "Bodyline" field, had constituted the thrust of the attack. When
to their senses, this was rejected as a dangerous distortion of the game
1930s were dominated by men like Bradman, Walter Hammond and Len Hutton,
built up massive scores on friendly pitches.
It was Lindwall who restored the balance between bat and ball, bowling
manner that was manly and thrilling but within the accepted bounds of fair
That paved the way for England's great fast bowlers, Trueman and Statham,
the long list of Australian and West Indian pacemen who have set the
for the past three decades.
Ray Lindwall was a Sydney boy and watched Larwood during the Bodyline
series. He played with other kids on patches of green and in the streets,
choosing - it is said - the street down which the great leg-spinner Bill
O'Reilly walked home in the hope of catching his eye. At the St George's
he came under the wing of O'Reilly, who used the novel technique of
to help the lad correct his faults.
There were quite a lot of these and, as a youngster, Lindwall's
more compelling than his bowling: at 15 he made a century and
in different matches on the same day. And even after the war he flirted
old no-ball laws by "dragging" his back foot before releasing the ball.
But he was a smart learner and a dedicated practiser; during the war,
he was in the South Pacific and suffered horribly from either malaria or
something very like it, he marked out his run-up between the palm trees
his bowling into a beautiful groove. Halfway through the home 1946-47
against England he and Keith Miller emerged as the undisputed leaders of
Australia's attack. In the final Test at Sydney, Lindwall took seven for
after taking seven for 38 against India a year later came to England an
He was injured during the First Test of 1948 but in three of the
four he was devastating. Though his bumper was so feared, 43 of his 86
on the tour were bowled. He had a clever slower ball (good for modern
cricket) and, though his arm was too low to satisfy the sternest purists,
close to being the complete fast bowler.
Sir Pelham Warner once exclaimed "Poetry!" and Lindwall, watching
film, discovered that that all the effort and pain failed to transmit
anyone else. "I don't look tired," he murmured with surprise.
Lindwall played Test cricket for more than another decade and toured
again in 1953 and 1956 when the balance of power had tilted and England
quickest bowlers. His shock effect declined but, like his eventual heir
Lillee, he compensated by his canniness, mastery of technique, and utter
determination. Jack Fingleton said Lindwall never liked bowling much, and
always preferred batting (he made two Test centuries). but he was opening
Australia's attack as late as December 1959, when he was 38.
He was not a flamboyant character like Miller, who was in London last
shooting down what he regards as over-technical bullshit as forcefully as
Cardus rated Lindwall alongside Ted McDonald as "the most hostile and
fast bowlers I have ever seen"; but he preferred to write about Miller,
Lindwall was a quieter man. He was a phenomenal all-round sportsman:
could easily have been a rugby league international, and he ran 100 yards
10.6 seconds. But when he retired he ran a florist's shop in the centre of
Brisbane, a gentle counterpoint to his earlier life.
Ray Lindwall, cricketer, born October 3, 1921; died June 22, 1996