A Hardcore Professional
Sir Leonard Hutton was born on June 23, 1916 at Fulneck, Pudsey in Yorkshire and he died on September 6, 1990 at Norbiton, Surrey.
He was a right-handed batsman from the top drawer and an occasional leg spin bowler. Sir Len Hutton was the first ‘professional’ captain of England. Earlier, only amateurs i.e. persons who did not make a living out of cricket were allowed to lead the test team in England. He led England in five series and did not lose any. In fact, he won the Ashes for England and then defended them successfully. He played 79 tests scoring 6,917 runs at an average of 56.67, with 19 hundreds and 33 fifties and a highest score of 364 n.o. He also captured three wickets. Knighted for his services to cricket in 1956, he was nominated Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1938.
Sir Leonard made his test debut against New Zealand at Lord’s in 1937 and scored a ‘duck’. He had begun his first class career too with a ‘duck’. At the end of his career he had scored more than a hundred first class centuries. He lost a few years of his youth, and a part of his arm, in the II World War. Despite the handicap, Hutton was said to have the ideal technique for facing both pace and spin. His score of 364 n.o. against Australia at the Oval in 1938 was bettered only decades later by Sobers, and later, twice by Brian Lara and once by Mathew Hayden. He carried his bat twice in tests and also holds the dubious record of being the only player to have been given out ‘obstructing the field’ in test cricket. He bid goodbye to tests in 1954-55 after New Zealand was shot out for 28 at Auckland in the second test.
His son, Richard Hutton – a leggie - played with credit for England and Sir Len himself, served England and the ICC in various capacities before his death in September 1990.