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OTD | New Zealand’s most productive leg-spinner Jack Alabaster was born in 1930

OTD | New Zealand's most productive leg-spinner Jack Alabaster was born in 1930

Today, we celebrate the birth anniversary of one of New Zealand’s cricketing legends, Jack Alabaster, who was born on this day in 1930. Alabaster, widely regarded as one of the finest spinners to have ever represented New Zealand, left an indelible mark on the sport during his illustrious 17-year international career.

Alabaster’s journey in cricket began with Otago, where he made a significant impact in first-class cricket. Throughout his career, he made 143 first-class appearances for Otago, claiming an impressive 500 wickets. His skilful leg-spin and consistency on the field quickly earned him a place in the national team, where he became an integral part of New Zealand’s bowling attack.

Throughout his international career, Alabaster was a key player in several historic moments for New Zealand cricket. He was part of the team that achieved the country’s first four Test victories, marking a turning point in New Zealand’s cricketing history. His ability to adapt and perform in different conditions made him a valuable asset on overseas tours, where he showcased his talent against some of the world’s best batsmen.

Top performances of Jack Alabaster’s career 

One of Alabaster’s standout tours was to South Africa in 1961-62. His exceptional performance, claiming 22 wickets in five Tests, played a crucial role in helping New Zealand draw their first series against the Proteas. Notably, in the first Test of the series, he took seven wickets, though New Zealand narrowly lost by 30 runs. In the third Test, he recorded his career-best match figures of 8/180, leading New Zealand to their historic maiden Test win.

Alabaster also had memorable tours to India and Pakistan in 1955-56, England in 1958, and the West Indies in 1971-72. During the West Indies tour, he achieved the remarkable feat of claiming the wicket of the legendary Garry Sobers. Unfortunately, his tour was cut short due to an Achilles tendon injury.

Despite the challenges, Alabaster’s contributions to New Zealand cricket have cemented his legacy as one of the country’s greatest spinners. His passing on April 9, 2024, at the age of 93, marked the end of an era, but his achievements and influence on the sport continue to inspire future generations.

 

Also read: One of the greatest Cricketer of all time Sunil Gavaskar was born in 1949

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