Wednesday 04 January 2006
Edgar John Barlow, cricketer: born Pretoria, South Africa 12 August 1940; three times married (one son, one daughter); died St Helier, Jersey 30 December 2005.
If you have been driven into the last ditch, with 4,000 spearmen charging, then the cricketer Eddie Barlow is the kind of man you need alongside. He had all the strengths for which South Africans are famous: application, tenacity, resilience, resource, courage and an invincible optimism. Barlow also possessed a virtue not granted to all of his countrymen: a sense of humour.
In the days when even Derbyshire had a coterie of national newspapermen to follow their summer campaigns Barlow, then captain, would greet us hacks on a bright morning: "Now then, you devious bastards, what are you going to stuff me with today?" He read what you wrote, too, and if some young man you had previously castigated for poor footwork and flirtations outside his off stump suddenly smoothed a century he would be after you: "So he can't play, eh? He'll bat for me, you'll see."
For three years in the mid-1970s Barlow stole the media's attention away from the giant counties and gave the Peakites a spell in the limelight that is still fondly remembered in Buxton and Ilkeston. He joined the county halfway through the 1976 season, for what was then an astonishing five-figure salary, and hit 217 against Surrey at the latter venue. In his spell of leadership he took Derbyshire to a Lord's final, made them the fittest team in county cricket and saw three of his players chosen by England.
He was Clive Woodward, Duncan Fletcher and Alex Ferguson in one burly, thickset figure, supposedly so short-sighted that it was said at his Pretoria school that he could see no further than the front wheel of his bicycle. His school nickname, because of his build and his spectacles, was "Bunter". When he first played in Test cricket the SABC commentator Charles Fortune described him as looking like an "unmade bed".
He first appeared for Transvaal in 1959 as a right-hand batsman of obdurate defence and prodigious hitting power, an accurate right-arm fast-medium bowler with deceptive changes of pace. He was a brilliant catcher at slip and a good enough rugby player to represent Transvaal against the All Blacks. He was described in Barclays' World of Cricket (1966) as a " South African powerhouse".
Barlow averaged 63 in South Africa's tour of Australia and New Zealand in 1963-64, including an innings of 201 against Australia in Adelaide (in addition to scoring 47 not out and taking 3-6) and was a first choice for his country through that decade. He and his colleagues in that splendid South African team were denied further Test cricket by the expulsion of his country following the Basil D'Oliveira incident, and it was no surprise when the hugely energetic and frustrated Barlow became one of the first players to join Kerry Packer when the Australian founded World Series Cricket in 1977.
In 1970 he had played for the Rest of the World against England, in one spell at Headingley taking four wickets in five balls, including the hat-trick. His former Test captain Trevor Goddard praised him: "Eddie was innovative. He taught us so much and was so very good in influencing and motivating young players."
Barlow played league cricket in England before he transformed Derbyshire, and then went home to perform a similar feat as captain of Boland. On retirement he became Director of South Africa's Sports Office in London, where he did a superb job as an ambassador for his country. At times he owned a vineyard, was a pig farmer, and, returning to cricket, was senior coach to Gloucestershire in 1990-91. Barlow had also played for Eastern and Western Provinces and stood, unsuccessfully, as a candidate for the Progressive Party.
In 1999 he took up what proved to be his last post as coach to the emerging Bangladesh team and it is a measure of his standing in the game that he is so affectionately remembered there after being in charge for only a year. In 2000 he suffered a stroke that confined him to a wheelchair until a further stroke proved fatal last week.
Eddie Barlow averaged 45 in his 30 Test matches, including six centuries, and took 40 wickets (34.05) and 35 catches. In a first-class career Barlow scored 18,212 runs including 43 centuries, took 571 wickets (24.14) and 335 catches. All Bangladeshi cricketers playing on Monday wore a black ribbon in his memory.
- 1 Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
- 2 Nick Kyrgios calls former Olympian Dawn Fraser a 'blatant racist' after she tells Wimbledon star to 'go back where their parents came from'
- 3 World learns of app that shows you who unfriended you on Facebook, app promptly crashes
- 4 Chris Moyles reportedly set to make radio comeback with new breakfast show on XFM
- 5 The Greece debt crisis explained in less than 100 words
Florida man sentenced to two-and-a-half years for having sex on the beach in front of a child
Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
Tube strike July 2015: Is it still on? Everything you need to know about the industrial action
Eiji Tsuburaya: Godzilla co-creator honoured in today's interactive Google Doodle
Florida teacher sentenced to 22 years in prison for sexually abusing three pupils
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Sickness and disability benefits could be reduced by £30 a week as part of £12bn welfare cuts
£23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Analyst is required ...
£16000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To succeed, you will need to ha...
£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join an award winni...
£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...