A profile of Les Jackson
by Dave Liverman

Player:HL Jackson

A wonderful bowler with a domestic record that few in his time could equal, Les Jackson was unlucky indeed to play only two Tests. Not only that, in the Tests he did play he took wickets, and bowled economically, but failed to retain his place. He was a tall man, capable of considerable pace, very accurate and could move the ball both ways. He had a slinging action from a modest run, a combination that allowed him to bowl long spells, as well as sustain his pace through an exceptionally long career. He did not make his first-class debut until he was twenty-six, making his living up to that point as a miner. He played until he was in his forties; E.W.Swanton wrote of him that he continued to bowl "hostile, full of stamina, from one summer's end to the next, scarcely guilty of even an indifferent over". He took record numbers of wickets for Derbyshire, with over 1,733 first-class wickets, at the impressive average of 17.36. He was not much of a bat with just 2,083 runs, and a best score of 39* in nearly 500 innings. His best season was perhaps 1959, when he took 143 wickets at 10.99, no-one taking 100 wickets or more had recorded such a low average since 1894. He played his first Test in 1949, and then had to wait twelve years for another opportunity, when he was part of the England side that beat Australia by 8 wickets at Leeds - he was forty at the time. He was never selected for an overseas tour, and must be considered one of the forgotten men of English cricket in the 1950s, where his considerable talents were not considered enough to break into England teams with a wealth of fast bowling resources

(Article: Copyright © 2001 Dave Liverman)


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