Colin Milburn

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					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. [1] 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. [1] 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. [2] 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.