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Eddie Hemmings (cricketer)

Eddie Hemmings (cricketer)

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Edward Ernest Hemmings (born 20 February 1949, Leamington Spa
Leamington Spa
Royal Leamington Spa, commonly known as Leamington Spa or Leamington or Leam to locals, is a spa town in central Warwickshire, England. Formerly known as Leamington Priors, its expansion began following the popularisation of the medicinal qualities of its water by Dr Kerr in 1784, and by Dr Lambe...

, Warwickshire
Warwickshire
Warwickshire is a landlocked non-metropolitan county in the West Midlands region of England. The county town is Warwick, although the largest town is Nuneaton. The county is famous for being the birthplace of William Shakespeare...

) is a former English
English people
The English are a nation and ethnic group native to England, who speak English. The English identity is of early mediaeval origin, when they were known in Old English as the Anglecynn. England is now a country of the United Kingdom, and the majority of English people in England are British Citizens...

 cricket
Cricket
Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of 11 players on an oval-shaped field, at the centre of which is a rectangular 22-yard long pitch. One team bats, trying to score as many runs as possible while the other team bowls and fields, trying to dismiss the batsmen and thus limit the...

er, who played in sixteen Tests
Test cricket
Test cricket is the longest form of the sport of cricket. Test matches are played between national representative teams with "Test status", as determined by the International Cricket Council , with four innings played between two teams of 11 players over a period of up to a maximum five days...

 and thirty three ODIs for England from 1982 to 1991. He made his England debut relatively late in his career, at the age of 33, having predominantly represented Nottinghamshire
Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club
Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club is one of the 18 major county clubs which make up the English and Welsh domestic cricket structure, representing the historic county of Nottinghamshire, and the current county champions. Its limited overs team is called the Nottinghamshire Outlaws...

 in the County Championship
County Championship
The County Championship is the domestic first-class cricket competition in England and Wales...

. His chance came when several England players announced their intention to go on a rebel cricket tour
South African rebel tours
The South African rebel tours were a series of seven cricket tours staged between 1982 and 1990. They were known as the rebel tours because South Africa was throughout this period banned from international cricket due to the apartheid regime...

 to South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

.

Life and career


Originally operating as a seam bowler
Seam bowling
Seam bowling is a phrase used for a bowling technique in cricket whereby the ball is deliberately bowled on to its seam, to cause a random deviation. Practitioners are known as seam bowlers or seamers....

 for Warwickshire
Warwickshire County Cricket Club
Warwickshire County Cricket Club is one of the 18 major county clubs which make up the English and Welsh domestic cricket structure, representing the historic county of Warwickshire. Its limited overs team is called the Warwickshire Bears. Their kit colours are black and gold and the shirt sponsor...

, Hemmings changed to bowling off-spin
Spin bowling
Spin bowling is a technique used for bowling in the sport of cricket. Practitioners are known as spinners or spin bowlers.-Purpose:The main aim of spin bowling is to bowl the cricket ball with rapid rotation so that when it bounces on the pitch it will deviate, thus making it difficult for the...

 for Nottinghamshire, which led to Test match appearances from the age of 33.

England test teams have always tended to contain at least one spinner, usually an off spinner since Ray Illingworth's appointment as captain in 1969. Illingworth was himself an off spinner. When Illingworth was sacked, Tony Greig briefly filled this role until he was removed in 1977. For a brief time, the baton was handed to Geoff Miller and then John Emburey filled the role from his debut in 1978 largely uncontested until 1982 when Emburey was banned for joining the South African Breweries tour. This put Hemmings into contention for the off spinner's spot with Vic Marks in 1982. Both toured Australia but Hemmings was the main spinner on that tour.

A change in policy saw the spin department filled by left armers such as Phil Edmonds and Nick Cook in 1983. For the arrival of the West Indies in 1984, Pat Pocock was preferred as the England off spinner. With Emburey's ban lifted in 1985, Hemmings was again forced onto the sidelines in the test arena. By 1987 Emburey was not taking as many wickets as expected and, while he kept his place in the team as a masterly containing bowler, Hemmings began to press Emburey for his place in the World Cup in 1987 being instrumental in the win against the West Indies at Jaipur during that tournament.

With Emburey again choosing the South African rebel tour over the Caribbean tour in 1989-90, Hemmings (at age 40) made his final swansong. Part of Graham Gooch's touring squad, Hemmings played in one day internationals only - often being the most economical bowler. Hemmings was England's first choice off spinner throughout 1990 as the hot weather demanded England adjust their policy of 4 fast bowlers - which had largely worked during the Caribbean tour.

During the first test against India at Lord's in 1990, Hemmings was famously hit for four consecutive sixes by Kapil Dev from the last four balls of his over. This 24 was the exact amount required for India to avoid the follow on - they were nine wickets down at the time and Kapil Dev did not want to expose Narendra Hirwani to Angus Fraser's next over. A wise move this as it turned out as Fraser had Hirwani lbw first ball!

Hemmings toured Australia with the full England side in 1990-91 at the age of 41 - playing in one test match at Sydney and again featuring as a containing bowler in most of the one day games. England did not make the finals of the World Series Cup. Hemmings last played for England during the short one day international series in New Zealand which followed the Ashes tour.

He hit his highest Test score of 95 as a nightwatchman
Nightwatchman
Nightwatchman can refer to one of the following:* Watchman * Nightwatchman , a lower-order batsman who comes in to bat higher up the order than usual near the end of the day's play* The Nightwatchman or Tom Morello, musician...

, and made his second half century (51) against India during a last wicket stand with Devon Malcolm
Devon Malcolm
Devon Malcolm is a former English cricketer.Malcolm was one of England's few genuinely fast bowlers of the 1990s. Born in Kingston, Jamaica, he settled in England, making his first-class debut for Derbyshire in 1984, and qualifying to play for England in 1987...

.

All in all, Hemmings was probably the second best off spinner in England from around 1982-1991 and was largely unfortunate that his best years coincided with John Emburey's. There were other contenders for the one place in the England team during the same time such as Geoff Miller, Vic Marks and Pat Pocock. However broadly speaking England selectors preferred their off spinners to be able to bat which explains why Geoff Miller was often selected. Hemmings was a useful batsman, twice frustrating the Australian test attack of 1989 at Trent Bridge to such an extent that there was a small on field altercation with Australian fast bowler Geoff Lawson just before tea on day 4 of that match - Hemmings having hit Lawson for several fours in a completely lost cause - the game was well and truly lost by this point.

In county cricket
County cricket
County cricket is the highest level of domestic cricket in England and Wales. For the 2010 season, see 2010 English cricket season.-First-class counties:...

, requiring four runs off the last ball of the Benson & Hedges Cup
Benson & Hedges Cup
The Benson & Hedges Cup was a one-day cricket competition for first-class counties in England and Wales that was held from 1972 to 2002, one of cricket's longest sponsorship deals....

 final in 1989, Hemmings struck a boundary off John Lever
John Lever
John Lever MBE is an English former cricketer, who played in twenty one Tests and twenty two ODIs for England from 1976 to 1986...

 of Essex
Essex County Cricket Club
Essex County Cricket Club is one of the 18 major county clubs which make up the English and Welsh national cricket structure, representing the historic county of Essex. Its limited overs team is called the Essex Eagles, their team colours this season are blue.The club plays most of its home games...

 to ensure victory for Nottinghamshire. Soon after this win he was reinstated in the England side for the 5th Ashes
The Ashes
The Ashes is a Test cricket series played between England and Australia. It is one of the most celebrated rivalries in international cricket and dates back to 1882. It is currently played biennially, alternately in the United Kingdom and Australia. Cricket being a summer sport, and the venues...

 Test match of the same year, thanks in part to the fact that several players had just announced their decision to go on a rebel tour to South Africa
South African rebel tours
The South African rebel tours were a series of seven cricket tours staged between 1982 and 1990. They were known as the rebel tours because South Africa was throughout this period banned from international cricket due to the apartheid regime...

, including off-spinner John Emburey
John Emburey
John Ernest Emburey is a former English cricketer, who played for Middlesex, Northamptonshire, Western Province, Berkshire and England....

. Hemmings took no wickets but scored more than 30 in both innings. Hemmings toured Australia in 1990/91, where he played his last Test.

Before retiring from first-class cricket at the age of 46, he also played for Sussex
Sussex County Cricket Club
Sussex County Cricket Club is the oldest of the 18 major county clubs which make up the English and Welsh domestic cricket structure, representing the historic county of Sussex. The club was founded as a successor to Brighton Cricket Club which was a representative of the county of Sussex as a...

. In an interview in 2006, it was revealed he now runs a village shop in North Lincolnshire
North Lincolnshire
North Lincolnshire is a unitary authority area in the region of Yorkshire and the Humber in England. For ceremonial purposes it is part of Lincolnshire....

.

His niece, Beth Morgan, is a current England women's Test cricketer.

External links