Peter Heine

South African fast bowler feared around the world

The cricketer Peter Heine was a dark, tall, heavy fast bowler of always hostile intent. He made up with Neal Adcock South Africa's most famous opening bowling partnership, ranked in that country with such as Trueman and Statham or Lindwall and Miller.

Peter Samuel Heine, cricketer: born Winterton, South Africa 28 June 1928; died Johannesburg 4 February 2005.

The cricketer Peter Heine was a dark, tall, heavy fast bowler of always hostile intent. He made up with Neal Adcock South Africa's most famous opening bowling partnership, ranked in that country with such as Trueman and Statham or Lindwall and Miller.

Both were quick, with Adcock having the edge, but Heine, at 6ft 5in and powerfully built, was the more aggressive, winning a late and awkward lift. On a helpful pitch and in an era when helmets and body armour were all but unknown, he was feared around the world.

Born in Natal, Heine emerged with North East Transvaal in 1951-53 and first won headlines when appearing for Orange Free State in 1954 when he wrecked the touring New Zealanders by taking 7-29. It was not enough to win him a Test place but he was selected to tour England the following year.

Heine's eventual success was not anticipated. A wet and cold May meant the South Africans struggled to find form in an unkind climate and such was the state underfoot of many fields that the heavier bowlers, Heine especially, were let loose rarely. The sun emerged in June to lift touring spirits, their renowned fielding blossomed and the fast bowlers quickened. Yet Heine was omitted from the first Test match at Trent Bridge, an innings defeat in four days, and it was not until the Whitsuntide fixture with Somerset, at Taunton, that Heine made his mark, as noted by John Arlott:

Peter amazed even himself by the late sharpness of his out-swing in the close air of the seam bowlers' delight at Taunton. That single match marked the change in him from good county standard to a genuine Test bowler, commanding both swing and an alarmingly steep lift at a pace little short of the fastest.

Heine had arrived when he took 5-60 in England's first innings at Lord's, his first four victims reading Tom Graveney, Peter May, Denis Compton and Ken Barrington, and he also dismissed the new England captain in the second innings, but only after May had scored a century. It was not enough to save South Africa from a second defeat. Old Trafford was a different story, Heine and Adcock sharing 14 wickets as England lost their first match on that ground since 1902. Heine followed this with 4-70 at Leeds in another South African win but was far less effective at the Oval where, incidentally, the Surrey spinners Jim Laker and Tony Lock collected 15 wickets.

In his first four Tests Heine thus took 21 wickets at an average of 23.52 and 74 wickets on the tour, confirming that a major figure had arrived on the world scene. England began their tour of South Africa in 1956 by opening the new Wanderers' ground in Johannesburg, a match that attracted a total attendance of 100,000 and in a drawn series Heine and Adcock shared 39 wickets, England being bowled out at Port Elizabeth for 110, Heine taking 4-22. He was even more dominant against Australia in the home series of 1957-58, twice taking six wickets in an innings and finishing with 17 wickets in the series, at an average of 18.88. He retired in 1965 with a first-class tally of 277 wickets at 21.38.

Wisden wrote of the 1955 tourists:

Wherever the South Africans went they were most agreeable companions and foes. They will always be remembered for their superb fielding . . . one particularly recalls McLean in the deep, Mansell, Goddard, Heine and Tayfield close to the wicket.

Derek Hodgson



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