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Rediff.com  » Cricket » 'Fiery Fred' dies at 75

'Fiery Fred' dies at 75

Last updated on: July 01, 2006 20:13 IST

Former England paceman Fred Trueman, one of the finest fast bowlers of all time, has died at the age of 75.

British media quoted his wife Veronica as saying he died in a Yorkshire hospital. He was diagnosed in May with lung cancer.

In 1964, the man known as "Fiery Fred" became the first bowler to take 300 test wickets.

Trueman finished with 307 wickets in 67 tests, averaging 21.57. He took five wickets in an innings 17 times and 10 wickets in a match on three occasions.

"He was one of the greats," former England captain Mike Gatting told BBC News 24. "He never bowled a bad ball.

"He was a competitor, he'd never give up. He really just loved to play the game. He wasn't too fond of going in the gym but he'd bowl all day for you."

Trueman is still the third highest England test wicket taker of all time, behind Ian Botham (383) and Bob Willis (325).

"I'll remember him as a typical bloody-minded fast bowler," former England seamer Angus Fraser told Sky television. "He represented what fast bowling is all about.

"If you talk of the greats of English cricket, others have taken more wickets, but you'd be pushed to find a better one."

FINEST HOUR

Trueman's aggressive performances for England and Yorkshire made him a national sporting hero in the 1950s and 60s.

His finest hour came at the Oval in 1964 when he had Australia's Neil Hawke caught at slip by Colin Cowdrey for his 300th test wicket.

When asked whether he thought anyone would surpass his achievement, his reply was typically forthright. "If anyone beats it, they'll be bloody tired," said Trueman.

Trueman was 21 when he made his test debut against India on his home ground at Headingley, Leeds in 1952.

He played a pivotal role in a seven-wicket victory for England, taking three wickets in eight balls as India slumped to 0 for four in their second innings.

He went on to take 29 wickets in the series, including figures of eight for 31 in the third test at Old Trafford when India were bowled out for 58.

Trueman played his last test against New Zealand at Lord's in 1965.

Former England batsman Allan Lamb said: "Fred's real trump card was that he could bowl at speed and swing the ball away."

He also excelled for his county, taking 1,745 wickets for Yorkshire. He helped them become the dominant team in county cricket, winning the championship seven times between 1959 and 1968, the year he retired from first-class cricket.

His bowling average for Yorkshire was 17.12 in 459 matches. After he retired Trueman commentated for BBC radio and became a popular after-dinner speaker.

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