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Crack Cricketers.


Crack Cricketers. [SPECIALLY CONTRIBUTED.] I MR. VICTOR TRUMPER. I In Mr. Victor Trumper's batsmanship last win- ter at home in Australia there was a very marked falling off, and many thought the young New South Welshman had passed his brilliant best. But Trumper had not been long in England again before he began to show his grandest form, and got a long way ahead of all his compeers in the batting averages and aggregates by consistently fine play. The biggest surprise was that he dis- played the necessary ability to pile up long scores and even successive centuries on wickets which favoured the bowler, and in weather which was the reverse of ideal from the cricket viewpoint, wnereas when he performed so well during the last Australian tour in England he was regarded as a plumb pitch batsman. He has clearly en- larged and improved his methods, and with a thickened frame possesses such fully developed force as to make him at the moment of this writing, all things considered, on form, the best batsman in the world. Mr. A. O. Jones attributed the temporary de- terioration of Trumper last winter to heavy night work with cile pen, and no doubt this accounted for his comparative failure against Mr. MacLaren's team. Now, with all his energies to devote to practice and play, he times the ball as accu- rately as ever, and easily escapes the exasperating catches at the wicket and in the slips which were wont to end his innings before he had got his eye in. Born on November 2, 1877, at Sydney, he was educated at the Grammar School of his native city, and established a reputation as an excep- tionally clever cricketer in club games while yet in his early teens; for one season he had the wonderful average of 204 for eight innings (twice not out). He is a beautiful stylist with the bat, possessed of an infinity of strokes, and able to hit cleanly and crisply all round the wicket. His off driving is particularly powerful, his placing judicious, and his play off the leg-stump clever and pretty to see. Trumper's first score of note in a big match was a promising 68 for New South Wales against South Australia in February 1898, and he came out well up in the Inter-Colonial averages for such a youngster, for he had the batting figures of 26.66 and an aggregate of 160; besides cap- turing five wickets in promising style for 85 runs. He bowls a very good fast medium to &"st ball, and is more than useful as a change when the wicket suits him at all, as was well seen at Cam- bridge when he took the last five Light Blua wickets (four clean bowled) for 19 runs, one of his victims having been in all through the in- nings. He varies his pace in a very deceptive way, and has an effective off-break. Trumper played against Mr. Stoddart's 1898 team for New South Wales twice at Sydney, but did badlv. However, his abilities had so im- pressed the Selection Committee that he was ciiosen to accompany Mr. Darling's team to England, and so splendidly did he justify his inclusion in the side that his record at the end of the tour stood thus :—Matches played in 32, in- nings 48, runs, 1556, most in an innings 300 not out, times not out 3, average 34.26. That memorable not out 300 of his-the highest score ever compiled by an Australian batsman in this country—was made on the Brighton ground against Sussex at the end of July. He was at tiie wicket for six hours and twenty minutes, and batted in the most perfect way throughout. Eight of the Sussex men bowled at him in vain, and he made sad havoc of all their averages. An innings of 104 at Bristol against Gloucestershire was delightful to watch; but Trumper's most worthy piece of work at the wicket during the tour in the matter of class was his mag- nificent 135 in the Lord's "test" match, when neither Rhodes, Mead, Hayward, Jessop, Jack- son, Townsend, nor Ranjitsinhji could bowl him, and he carried out his bat in spite of them all. This great score of his, and one of 135 (out) made by Clem Hill, were the main factors in giving Australia the one victory registered in the five 1899 "tests," and the Cornstalk triumph was a ten-wickets one. Trumper gave no chance whatever in his not-out innings of 135 at Lord's, and was at the wickets for three hours and a quarter. Victor Trumper is a really splendid fieldsman, covering a tremendous lot of ground "in the country," and a brilliant catch at either long-on or long-off, or at deep third man to fast bowling. He sends the ball in sharply and accurately, and rarely indeed gives a run away. In February of last year Mr. Trumper put up a rattling good score of 230 for New South Wales against Victoria, made without a mistake, and his average in inter-colonial cricket for the 1900- 1801 season was 65.42. Only Clem Hill and Sid Gregory of the "regulars" were in front of him —though his fellow New South Welshman Poidevin got above him in the averages by virtue of one unfinished three figure innings out of three played. Trumper's bowling was not much made use of at home. Singularly enough he was not a "centurion" in the very remarkable innings at Sydney in January, 1901, in which 918 runs were put on by New South Wales against South Australia, and Gregory, Noble, Duff, Iredale, and Poidevin all reached three figures. In the preceding season he had the fine inter- colonial average of 54.40, and played a par- ticularly bright innings of 165 against the South Australian bowling at Adelaide. Most of the Australian cricketers with us have fine handsome faces, and the well-moulded figure of the athlete, and some ara "more than common tall." Victor Trumper is big and clean limbed, with a bright, boyish, eager, intellectual face, and his movements in any position and at any time furnish a model of alertness. He has done already about twice as well as the average cricketer who gets into "test" matches can manage to do in the course of his international career, and his many admirers will be very much surprised and disappointed1 if he does not further in this respect improve his fine record. Trumper made 64 in fine style in the second innings of the opening match of the present Australian tour at the Crystal Palace. He made a fine century (121) at Oxford, 101 against Surrey at the Oval, and then 105 against M.C.C. at Lord's before Jack Hearne bowled him. Then he made his fourth century of'the season in the match against Cambridge University On bad pitches, when all was going wrong with his side in the "test" match at Lord's, and against the Yorkshiremen at Headingley, he did better than any of his comrades; and we con- Hdently expect him to trouble the scorers a good deal further during the tour.


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