Peter Walker was Glamorgan`s finest ever fielder close to the wicket and between 1956 and 1972, the lanky all-rounder stood fearlessly at short-leg, or in the slips, to hold a total of 656 catches.
Walker was born in Bristol, but he grew up in South Africa, and as a schoolboy in Johannesburg, he was coached by Allan Watkins. In 1952, Walker hitch-hiked several thousand miles to visit his grandparents in South Wales and decided to contact his old coach. A trial with Glamorgan soon followed, and Walker joined the full-time staff in 1955 as an attacking middle order batsman and a left arm swing bowler.
In 1956 he made his first-class debut against Yorkshire at Swansea, and started to develop a slower style of bowling. His all-round skills soon won him a regular place in the county`s side , and in 1959 Walker hit over 1,500 runs with a century and 14 half-centuries. In 1960 the England selectors recognised his potential by including him in their side for the first three Tests against South Africa. His efforts helped England record comfortable victories in all three Tests, but he was subsequently omitted from the Test side, as the selectors experimented with other choices.
Although he never got another chance at Test level, Walker remained an integral member of the Glamorgan side of the 1960`s. In 1962 he scored over 1500 runs, and took 89 first-class wickets, whilst in 1965 and 1966, he passed the thousand run mark, without hitting a century. He claimed over 50 wickets in 1967, 1969 and 1970, and became an integral member of the Welsh county`s limited overs side.
Many people felt that Walker would take over from Tony Lewis as the county`s leader, but in 1972, the club appointed Majid Khan instead. By this time, Walker had begun a successful career in the media, and at the end of the season, he retired to concentrate on his work as a broadcaster and journalist. In the 1990`s he returned to the world of cricket, acting as the Chief Executive of the Cricket Board of Wales, and overseeing the introduction of a nationwide coaching framework across Wales, besides planning the development of the National Cricket Centre at Glamorgan`s headquarters at Sophia Gardens.
(Article: Copyright © 2000 Dr.A.K.Hignell)
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