Where are they now?: John Edrich

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WHEN John Edrich walked out before a crowd of 46,000 to open the England innings in Melbourne on 5 January, 1971, it was merely another small step for the Surrey left- hander. For cricket it marked a giant leap into the modern world.

The most dependable of all Geoff Boycott's 17 England partners introduced the world to one-day internationals by scoring 82. 'It was a good innovation because the game was dying on its feet,' recalls Edrich, now 55.

Arguably the finest left-handed opener to don an England cap, the stocky, gum-chewing Edrich shunned the spotlight as much as Boycott embraced it: together they shared 14 stands of 50-plus in 21 Tests. His 39,790 runs at 45.47 and 103 centuries included 5,138 runs at 43.54 in 77 Tests from 1963 to 1976, seven of his 12 hundreds coming against Australia. Only Hobbs, Sutcliffe and Gower have more.

Dogged and pragmatic though he was, this first cousin to Bill Edrich had his moments of extravagance. At Leeds in 1965, he plundered New Zealand for 310 not out, the only post-war Test triple-century by an Englishman until Graham Gooch's 333 against India in 1990. Boundaries accounted for 238, the most in a five-day match.

Captain of Surrey between 1973 and 1977, Edrich was awarded the MBE before retiring in 1978 to work as marketing director for a bank in Jersey, serving as a Test selector in 1981. He moved to Cape Town with his wife and daughter, but the death of his son in a car crash six months ago prompted a return to Reigate. A marketing consultant, he is now a member of both the Surrey marketing sub-committee and the county's Youth Trust.