A brilliant captain, whose career was cut short by business commitments, George Mann followed in his father's footsteps to lead first his county, and then his country. His brother J.P.Mann also played for Middlesex.
Like his father he was a forceful batsman, hitting hard, particularly on the leg-side. Many were surprised when he was selected to take the England side to South Africa in 1948/49 - Yardley was unable to tour, and so Mann, with only three first-class hundreds, and a season of captaining Middlesex was drafted in. It was an inspired choice. Mann took a dispirited England squad, with a weak bowling attack, and welded them into a team, marked by superb fielding. Wisden said of him "as a captain he was ideal, zealous to a degree, and considerate in all things at all times". He also loved attacking cricket, and the series was thrilling, with two very close finishes. In the deciding Test, Mann came to the wicket with his side facing defeat at 168/5, and hit a superb unbeaten 136 - his highest first-class score. In 1949 he led England in the first two Tests before giving way to Freddie Brown, but took Middlesex to the Championship. In subsequent years he played little, spending much time working in the family brewery business, but later returned to cricket as chairman of the TCCB.
(Article: Copyright © 2001 Dave Liverman)