John Edrich: Former England batsman dies aged 83

John Edrich (centre) was England batting coach when Ray Illingworth (left) was in charge during the 1990s

Former England batsman John Edrich has died at the age of 83.

The left-hander played 77 Tests for England, making 12 centuries and finishing with an average of 43.54.

A Surrey legend, he made 39,790 runs from 564 first-class matches, including 103 centuries – one of only 25 men to score 100 first-class tons.

Edrich made his Test debut against West Indies at Old Trafford in 1963 and finished against the same opposition on the same ground 13 years later.

He top scored with 24 in the second innings of that final Test in 1976 as England were bowled out for 126 by West Indies’ formidable pace quartet and lost by 425 runs.

Edrich, who received the MBE for services to cricket in 1977, was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2000 but lived long past the seven years he was given at the time of the diagnosis.

His career-high innings of 310 not out was made against New Zealand at Headingley in 1965.

Edrich captained Surrey for five seasons and led England once, when Mike Denness dropped himself on the 1974-75 tour of Australia.

He compiled an unbeaten 33 in that Test, batting on after having his ribs broken by the first ball he faced from Australia fast bowler Dennis Lillee.

One of Wisden’s Cricketers of the Year in 1966, Edrich was renowned for his cut shot and was prolific through the midwicket area.

“With John’s passing, we’ve lost a prolific and fearless batsman – one of the select few who have scored more than 5,000 runs for England,” said Tom Harrison, chief executive of the England and Wales Cricket Board.

“His duels with some of the world’s best fast bowlers were legendary, and it’s a testament to his ability that his 310 not out against New Zealand in 1965 remains the fifth-highest Test score by an English batsman. He will be sadly missed, and our thoughts are with his family and friends.”

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