Brief profile of Ole Mortensen
by Matthew Reed

Player:OH Mortensen

DateLine: 8th December 2005


As the only Dane of his generation in county cricket, it was always likely that Ole Mortensen was going to be distinctive. His parsimony with the ball, eardrum shattering appeals and a batting philosophy for which a backward defensive was wildly innovative (rather than the forward defensive he seemingly offered to every delivery) all combined to make Mortensen one of the most recognisable figures of Derbyshire cricket in the 1980’s. Former County Ground team-mate John Wright later revealed that as well as various Danish expletives, one of Mortensen’s favourite reactions to an unsuccessful appeal was to shout “Satan”. Despite his Scandavian heritage, Mortensen followed in the best traditions of Derbyshire seamers, with every run conceded taken as a personal insult. As such, his bowling was often most valuable in the limited-overs game, and in 1990 he formed the bedrock of Derbyshire’s successful assault on the Sunday League by being the most economical bowler (going for just a whisker over 3 an over) in the country in that seasons competition. However, that should not overshadow the fact that Mortensen’s 434 First-class wickets came at the superb average of 23.88. The presence of Devon Malcolm was often the only thing which spared Mortensen the no.11 spot, although an undefeated 74* against Yorkshire at Chesterfield in 1987 was a most unexpected innings, although the inevitable consequence of that was Mortensen reciting an entertaining (if ever so slightly tall) tale about a commanding double century he had once made in Denmark. Mortensen’s last season in England coincided with a deserved benefit, where Viking helmets naturally proliferated. As well as ‘The Great Dane’, he also answered to the nickname of ‘Stan’ in a throwback to the post-war football player. Mortensen coached his native Denmark in the 2001 ICC Trophy, and by personality and accomplishment he is still the best remembered player from a country which is likely to make it to the World Cup in the next decade.


December 2005

(Article: Copyright © 2005 Matthew Reed)


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