Colin Milburn (known by his nickname Ollie) (23 October 1941 - 28 February 1990) was an English cricketer who played in nine Test matches before the loss in an accident of much of his sight prompted his retirement. Noted for his substantial build and his buccaneering style, unusual in an opening batsman, there are few players who have played relatively little Test cricket who are remembered with so much affection so long after their heyday Colin Milburn Personal information Full name Colin Milburn Born 23 October 1941 Burnopfield, County Durham, England Died 28 February 1990 (aged 48) Aycliffe Village, County Durham, England Nickname Ollie Batting style Right-handed Bowling style Right-arm medium pace Role Batsman International information National side England Test debut (cap 431) 2 June 1966 v West Indies Last Test 6 March 1969 v Pakistan Domestic team information Years Team 1960-1974 Northamptonshire 1963-1969 MCC 1966-1969 Western Australia Career statistics Competition Test First-class List A Matches 9 255 45 Runs scored 654 13,262 610 Batting average 46.71 33.07 15.25 100s/50s 2/2 23/75 0/3 Top score 139 243 84 Balls bowled - 7,033 1,351 Wickets - 99 41 Bowling average - 32.03 22.82 5 wickets in innings - 1 0 10 wickets in match - 0 0 Best bowling - 6/59 4/34 Catches/stumpings 7/- 224/- 11/- Source: CricketArchive, 18 September 2009 1. Early life Milburn was born in Consett, County Durham, and brought up in the pit village of Burnopfield. His father, a local tradesman, was a noted professional player in Tyneside league cricket. The young Colin showed exceptional talent at the game, making his first-team debut at the age of thirteen. As a seventeen-year-old school pupil, he made his debut for Durham (then still a Minor county) in 1959, against the touring Indian team. Playing at Sunderland, Milburn scored a dynamic century, which brought him to the attention of the first class counties. 2. First-class career In 1960, Milburn signed for Northamptonshire because they offered 10 shillings a week more than Warwickshire.  He soon made a name for himself with his forceful strokeplay and useful medium-paced bowling, backed up by a larger-than-life gregarious and convivial personality. By 1963 he was being talked about for the England team, but an indifferent game for MCC against Frank Worrell's West Indians meant he was passed over. 2. First-class career In 1960, Milburn signed for Northamptonshire because they offered 10 shillings a week more than Warwickshire.  He soon made a name for himself with his forceful strokeplay and useful medium-paced bowling, backed up by a larger-than-life gregarious and convivial personality. By 1963 he was being talked about for the England team, but an indifferent game for MCC against Frank Worrell's West Indians meant he was passed over. 3. Test career Milburn had a reputation of an all-or-nothing batsman, sparkling centuries alternating with indifferent scores, but by 1966 he had forced himself back into the Test reckoning. Selected for the First Test against West Indies, Milburn had the most ignominious start for an opener, run out for a first-innings duck. He redeemed himself with 94 in the second innings as England went down to a heavy defeat. An aggressive century helped England to draw the Second Test, and despite standing up courageously to the formidable Caribbean pace attack in the following matches, he was dropped for the final Test - supposedly because his bulk hindered his mobility in the field. Milburn's riposte was typical of the man, an innings of 203 for Northamptonshire against Essex. His swashbuckling season earned him a nomination as one of Wisden's Cricketers of the Year in the 1967 edition. That winter, Milburn travelled to Australia, where he played Sheffield Shield cricket for Western Australia. He played a Test against India and against Pakistan in 1967 and was selected to tour the West Indies in the winter, where he was much more successful off the field than on. He was picked for the Lord's Test against Australia in 1968, scoring 83, but injury ruled him out of the next Tests. In the winter 1968/9, MCC was due to visit South Africa, but the tour was dramatically cancelled over the hosts' objections to the presence in the touring party of Basil D'Oliveira, a Cape Coloured cricketer who had moved to England in pursuit of his first-class cricket career. This overshadowed a controversy caused by Milburn's omission from the party. Milburn returned to Perth, where he enjoyed a prolific season for Western Australia. The highlight was an innings of 243 against Queensland in Brisbane, where he scored 181 runs between lunch and tea.  Milburn was called up in an emergency to reinforce the MCC touring party in Pakistan. He scored a spectacular 139 in the Karachi Test before it was abandoned due to rioting. It was his highest Test score in what would prove to be his final Test innings. 4. Injury and retirement Returning to Northampton for the 1969 season, he started out with 158 against Leicestershire. Then tragedy struck. On 23 May, Milburn was returning home when he was involved in a motor accident, the gossip was that it was drink-related. This cost him the sight of his left eye, the lead eye for a right-handed batsman. His right eye too was damaged. Taking as an example the Nawab of Pataudi, who had resumed his career after suffering eye damage, Milburn harboured thoughts of a comeback. On 8 January 1971, The Times reported his retirement, but Milburn did return in 1973 and 1974. However, he was a shadow of his former self, and these games did little beyond reducing his career batting average. 5. After cricket Milburn continued in league cricket, and performed a number of jobs in the world of cricket, including radio commentary. On 28 February 1990, he collapsed with a heart attack in Newton Aycliffe, and died in the ambulance on the way to hospital. His funeral was attended by hundreds, including ex-players and fans, with Ian Botham one of the pallbearers. Nicknamed "Ollie" in reference to Oliver Hardy, Milburn never married. He is buried at Burnopfield.