Ian Meckiff

Ian Meckiff

Infobox cricketer biography
playername = Ian Meckiff
female =


country = Australia
fullname = Ian Meckiff
nickname =
living = true
partialdates =
dayofbirth = 6
monthofbirth = 1
yearofbirth = 1935
placeofbirth = Mentone, Victoria
countryofbirth = Australia
dayofdeath =
monthofdeath =
yearofdeath =
placeofdeath =
countryofdeath =
heightft =
heightinch =
heightm =
batting = Right-hand batsman
bowling = Left-arm fast
role = Bowler
international = true
testdebutdate = 23 December
testdebutyear = 1957
testdebutagainst = South Africa
testc

lasttestdate = 6 December
lasttestyear = 1963
lasttestagainst = South Africa
club1 = Victoria
year1 = 1956/57–1963/64
deliveries = balls
columns = 2
column1 = Tests
matches1 = 18
runs1 = 154
bat avg1 = 11.84
100s/50s1 = –/–
top score1 = 45*
deliveries1 = 3734
wickets1 = 45
bowl avg1 = 31.62
fivefor1 = 2
tenfor1 = –
best bowling1 = 6/38
catches/stumpings1 = 9/–
column2 = First-class
matches2 = 74
runs2 = 778
bat avg2 = 11.27
100s/50s2 = –/1
top score2 = 55
deliveries2 = 16376
wickets2 = 269
bowl avg2 = 23.35
fivefor2 = 12
tenfor2 = 1
best bowling2 = 6/29
catches/stumpings2 = 37/–
date=24 January
year = 2008
source = http://www.cricketarchive.com/Archive/Players/1/1059/1059.html CricketArchive

Ian Meckiff (born 6 January 1935 in Mentone, Victoria) is a former cricketer who represented Australia in 18 Tests between 1957 and 1963. A left-arm fast bowler, Meckiff is best known for two things that were unrelated to his skill as a player; he was the batsman run out by Joe Solomon, causing the first Tied Test in cricket history and in 1963, his Test career was sensationally ended when he was no-balled in the First Test against South Africa by umpire Col Egar for throwing. During the late 1950s and early 1960s, there had been a media frenzy about the perceived prevalence of illegal bowling actions in international cricket. The controversy and speculation that dogged Meckiff in the years leading up to his final match caused sections of the cricket community to believe that he had been a scapegoat of the Australian cricket authorities in proving their intent to stamp out throwing.

A fast bowler with an unconventional front-on bowling action, Meckiff progressed through the district cricket ranks in Melbourne at South Melbourne Cricket Club, making his first-class debut for Victoria in 1956–57. After a productive first season, Meckiff was selected for a new-look Australian team for the 1957–58 tour of South Africa. This was the result of a generational change in Australian cricket with the adopting of a radical youth policy in the wake of a decline in Australia's Test team in the 1950s. The sweeping changes saw Meckiff open the bowling in his debut Test, where he performed strongly to take eight wickets. Meckiff generated his pace from an unusual bent-arm action which involved a flick of the wrist, and it was in front of his home crowd in the Second Test of the 1958–59 season against England at the Melbourne Cricket Ground that Meckiff reached his peak. He took 6/38 in the second innings as England were skittled for 87, setting up an Australian victory. However, Meckiff's achievement was surrounded in controversy, as English media and former players accused him of throwing Australia to victory.

The controversy over Meckiff's action persisted as throwing was in the spotlight in England where it was regarded as a growing problem at the time. This saw numerous international discussions and meetings on amending the throwing law and the interpretation thereof. An expected confrontation with English umpires in 1961 was averted when Meckiff suffered an injury hit season and was omitted from the 1961 team to tour England, but Meckiff had two strong seasons in domestic cricket that forced Australian selectors to recall him for the Test series against South Africa starting in late 1963. This recall had occurred despite Meckiff being no-balled for throwing in two separate Sheffield Shield matches in the previous season. In his first over of the match, Meckiff was no-balled four times by Egar. Australian captain Richie Benaud chose not to bowl Meckiff again and the paceman retired from first-class cricket at the end of the match. The throwing controversy caused heavy debate among cricket commentators, players and umpires, past and present; some praised Egar's no-ball call while others condemned it and felt that Meckiff had bowled in the same manner as he had always done. Others felt that Meckiff had been set up so that he would be no-balled in an "execution" or "sacrifice" to prove Australia's resolve against throwing.

Early life

Meckiff was the second of three children born to Vera and Walter Meckiff, with an older brother Don and a younger sister Margaret. Meckiff and his siblings went to the Mentone Primary School and then on to Mordialloc-Chelsea High School, where both brothers became prefects. The Meckiff children were adept at sport, with Don and Ian representing Mordialloc High at athletics, swimming, football and cricket, while Margaret, played softball for the school team. Meckiff and his brother started playing their junior cricket for Mentone, and Meckiff started his career as a left-arm unorthodox spinner. He routinely dominated the other teams in the competition, taking 200 wickets at a bowling average of only 4.5.cite web|title=The Meckiffs of Mentone |first=Leo |last=Gamble |publisher=City of Kingston |url=http://localhistory.kingston.vic.gov.au/htm/article/184.htm |accessdate=2008-01-23]

Early career and Test debut

Meckiff started his district cricket career playing for South Melbourne in Melbourne District Cricket in the 1951–52 season and switched to fast bowling.Cashman, p. 211.] He made his first-class debut in 1956–57, and performed strongly in his first season, taking 27 wickets at an average of 23.66. He was the ninth-highest wicket-taker of the Australian season and his bowling average was superior to all eight bowlers who took more wickets.cite web|url=http://aus.cricinfo.com/db/ARCHIVE/1950S/1956-57/AUS_LOCAL/STATS/FC_1956-57_BOWL_MOST_WKTS.html |title=Australian First-Class Season 1956/57: Bowling - Most Wickets |accessdate=2008-01-23 |publisher=Cricinfo] At the end of the season, he was rewarded with selection for Australia's non-Test tour of New Zealand. The tour represented a changing of the guard in Australian cricket following the tour of England and the Indian subcontinent in 1956. In their late 30s, Australian captain Ian Johnson and his deputy Keith Miller had retired from first-class cricket upon their return to Australia.Perry, p. 192.] Perry, p. 198.] Johnson was Australia's first choice spinner while Miller, along with Ray Lindwall had formed Australia's new ball pairing for the previous decade. [Cashman, pp. 174–175.] After three consecutive Ashes defeats during Australia's decline in the mid 1950s, the selectors had turned to youth in an attempt to reverse the slide. Ian Craig was made youngest Australia's captain at the age of 22, having played only six Tests without securing a regular place in the team.Cashman, p. 67.]

The following season, when the team for the 1957–58 South African tour was announced, Lindwall's name was omitted altogether, despite his 212 Test wickets.Perry, p. 204.] Meckiff was selected for the tour as part of Australia's generational change, after just one season in first-class cricket. Meckiff was under a heavy burden when he made his Test debut in the First Test at Johannesburg. He opened the bowling along with Alan Davidson, who had managed only 16 wickets at 34.06 in 12 Tests to date. [Cashman, pp. 72–73.] Meckiff's start to his international career was highly impressive, taking 5/125 in South Africa's first innings. The match began badly for Australia and its inexperienced attack as the openers Jackie McGlew and Trevor Goddard put on an opening stand of 176. Meckiff broke through for his first Test wicket and Australia's first breakthrough when he bowled Goddard. Meckiff then removed McGlew after he had reached a century and then removed the batsmen Russell Endean and Roy McLean both for 50. South Africa amassed 470 and Meckiff played the dominant part in restricting them, removing five of the six specialist batsmen. He returned to take 3/52 in the second innings as the match ended in a draw. [cite web|title=1st Test:South Africa v Australia, Johannesburg Dec 23-28 1957|url=http://content-aus.cricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/62830.html| publisher=Cricinfo |accessdate=2007-12-18] Meckiff's fine start to his Test career was halted in the Second Test at Cape Town, where he broke down early in the first innings and took no further part in an Australian innings victory. Meckiff missed the Third Test in Durban but returned for the final two Tests. He was unable to maintain the standard of performance he showed on debut, taking two and one wicket respectively. He scored 26 in the Fourth Test. Overall, Meckiff had made a steady start to his international career, with 11 wickets at an average of 32.09 and 56 runs at 18.66. However, it appeared that there was a hint of the controversy that was to end his career. The South African Test umpire Bill Marais said a year later that he was prepared to no-ball Meckiff and his team-mate Jim Burke for throwing.Haigh and Frith, p. 119.] There were reports that Craig had been tipped off about the impending calls and therefore operated Meckiff and Burke only from the other end.

Peak and eruption of chucking row

Meckiff's career peaked in his second season in international cricket in 1958–59 during the English tour of Australia. Australia was now under the leadership of Richie Benaud after Craig was forced to withdraw due to hepatitis.Perry, p. 210.] The Benaud era started well for Australia and Meckiff, with a comfortable eight wicket victory in the First Test in Brisbane. Meckiff took 3/33 and 2/30 in the match.

Meckiff's Test career reached its peak at the Second Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, his first in front of his home crowd, but it also marked the start of a career-long public problem with accusations of throwing. It was a match dominated by Meckiff and his fellow left-arm pace partner Davidson, who took 18 of the 20 English wickets to fall. Meckiff took 3/69 in England's first innings, which was dominated by Davidson's 6/64. Meckiff took the wicket of English captain Peter May for 113, ending a century partnership with Colin Cowdrey and triggering a collapse of 6/49 for England to be dismissed for 259. It was in England's second innings that the pair were at their most potent; both men bowled unchanged and England were skittled for a total of just 87 in the 32nd over, with Meckiff taking 6/38.Whimpress, p. 69.] He dismissed opener Peter Richardson for three, before removing Trevor Bailey, Tom Graveney and Cowdrey in quick succession. He then picked up the English skipper for a second time to leave England at 7/71. This set up a comfortable Australian victory by eight wickets.cite web|title=2nd Test:Australia v England at Melbourne, Dec 31 1958 - Jan 5 1959|url=http://content-aus.cricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/62851.html |accessdate=2007-12-18|publisher=Cricinfo]

It was the eve of Meckiff's 24th birthday, but the celebrations were marred by criticism by English news reporters. The evening edition of the Melbourne "Herald" carried a column by former English spinner Johnny Wardle that accused Meckiff of "throwing England out".Whimpress, p. 70.] This was followed by comments from the English press such as "the greatest ogre of international cricket since Larwood". The Evening News reported that "Meckiff's throwing was devastating" and The Star claimed that "at least two of his wickets were obtained by deliveries which looked to be thrown". Former England spinner Ian Peebles said that Meckiff threw "the greater number of balls they deliver",Haigh and Frith, p. 120.] while former English paceman Alf Gover claimed that none of Meckiff's deliveries were legal. The English writer E. M. Wellings accused Meckiff, along with Burke, Gordon Rorke and Keith Slater, of throwing for Australia in the Tests.Haigh and Frith, p. 118.] The former Australian Test opener Jack Fingleton said that "when he [Meckiff] delivered to Bailey, that his fastest ball looked most suspect" and that Meckiff should have been called. Fingleton said that he knew of five formed Australian Test cricketers who felt that Meckiff threw. He explicitly named former paceman Ernie McCormick but did not name the other four.

Neither the English captain Peter May nor the manager Freddie Brown raised any complaints after the Test about Meckiff's action. However, it was later revealed that Brown had wanted to lodge an official complaint with the Australian Board of Control, but that May had refused, feeling that an official complaint would give the impression of sour grapes. Australian captain Richie Benaud stated that he was "completely satisfied that his delivery was fair and legitimate", while the selection panel of Don Bradman, Dudley Seddon and Jack Ryder continued to pick him, believing him to legitimate.Whimpress, p. 74.] The chairman of the Australian Board of Control, Bill Dowling maintained that the amount of media attention on suspect bowling actions was excessive.

Meckiff went onto the Third Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground, where he took one wicket in the first innings before breaking down in the second. This forced Meckiff out of the Fourth Test,Perry, p. 243.] before he returned for the final Test in his home town, where he took two wickets. It had been a successful series for Meckiff on the field, taking 17 wickets at 17.17 and scoring nine runs at 2.25.

Off the field however, the controversy was beginning to take its toll. In his autobiography "Thrown Out", Meckiff said that the accusations took a deep personal toll on him and his family and he began to shun the public. Meckiff denied ever throwing a ball but admitted that he may have been open to suspicion after bowling 15 to 20 overs in a day's play when his body fell away in the delivery stride due to fatigue. Meckiff has a permanently bent left bowling arm. He generated his pace from his wrist action, and asserted that since his wrists were thin, it gave the impression that his whole arm was bending. Journalists who wrote books about the 1958–59 season made references to the controversy in their book titles. Fingleton wrote a book on the series under the title "Four Chukkas to Australia", while Wellings explicitly stated "The Ashes Thrown Away". The Australian television debate program featured an entire session where English journalists Wellings and Crawford White debated former Australian Test cricketers Keith Miller and Sid Barnes.

At the time, there was gradual crescendo of comment in the cricket community speaking out against the prevalence of bowlers with suspect actions. Prior to the alteration of the bowling law by the Imperial Cricket Conference in 1960, the law stated:Whimpress, p. 71.]

For a delivery to be fair, the ball must be bowled, not thrown or jerked; if either umpire be not entirely satisfied of the absolute fairness of a delivery in this respect, he shall call and signal no-ball instantly upon delivery.

Former Australian captain Ian Johnson noted that if Meckiff were to be called for an illegal action for jerking his wrist, then highly regarded English bowlers such as Brian Statham, Fred Trueman and Tony Lock would also have an illegal action.Whimpress, p. 72.] Johnson also noted that any successful spin bowler would be called if the law were enforced strictly due to the flicking of the wrist and fingers in the delivery of the ball, for without it, they could not extract spin.Whimpress, p. 73.]

Subcontinent tour

In 1959–60, Meckiff toured Pakistan and India as part of the Test team, and was not called after playing in five countries. He was wicketless in Australia's win in the First Test against Pakistan on the matting wicket in Dacca (now in Bangladesh). He then took three wickets in the Second Test in Lahore, which proved to be Australia's last win on Pakistani soil for 39 years. [Benaud, pp. 164–167.] cite web|url=http://stats.cricinfo.com/guru?sdb=team;team=AUS;class=testteam;filter=basic;opposition=0;notopposition=0;decade=0;homeaway=0;continent=0;country=0;notcountry=0;groundid=0;season=0;startdefault=1877-03-15;start=1877-03-15;enddefault=2007-11-20;end=2007-11-20;tourneyid=0;finals=0;daynight=0;toss=0;scheduledovers=0;scheduleddays=0;innings=0;followon=0;result=0;seriesresult=0;captainid=0;recent=;viewtype=resultlist;runslow=;runshigh=;wicketslow=;wicketshigh=;ballslow=;ballshigh=;overslow=;overshigh=;bpo=0;batevent=;conclow=;conchigh=;takenlow=;takenhigh=;ballsbowledlow=;ballsbowledhigh=;oversbowledlow=;oversbowledhigh=;bpobowled=0;bowlevent=;submit=1;.cgifields=viewtype |title=Statsguru - Australia - Tests - Results list |publisher=Cricinfo |accessdate=2007-12-21] Meckiff then missed the Third Test in Karachi. Meckiff returned for the First Test against India in Delhi. After taking 1/52 in the first innings, he scored his Test best score of 45 not out as Australia took a first innings lead of 333.Cite web|title=1st Test:India vs Australia at Delhi, Dec 12-16, 1959|url=http://content-aus.cricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/62868.html |publisher=Cricinfo|accessdate=2007-12-18] Meckiff was unable to take a wicket in the second innings as Australia took an innings victory. Meckiff had another unsuccessful match with the ball in the Second Test in Kanpur, taking one wicket in a spin-dominated Test as Jasu Patel bowled India to its first ever win over Australia.Cite web|title=A history of Australia in India over the years |first=Siddhartha |last=Vaidyanathan |url=http://content-aus.cricinfo.com/ci/content/story/142176.html |publisher=Cricinfo|accessdate=2007-12-18] He remained unbeaten on 14 when India took the final wicket. Meckiff's most successful Test of the tour came at Brabourne Stadium in Bombay, taking 4/79 and 3/67 in the drawn Third Test. He had little success in the final two Tests, taking only three wickets. Meckiff ended the subcontinental tour with 15 wickets at 35.73 and 70 runs at 23.33.cite web|url=http://stats.cricinfo.com/guru?sdb=player;playerid=1059;class=testplayer;filter=basic;team=0;opposition=0;notopposition=0;season=0;homeaway=0;continent=0;country=0;notcountry=0;groundid=0;startdefault=1957-12-23;start=1957-12-23;enddefault=1963-12-11;end=1963-12-11;tourneyid=0;finals=0;daynight=0;toss=0;scheduledovers=0;scheduleddays=0;innings=0;result=0;followon=0;seriesresult=0;captain=0;keeper=0;dnp=0;recent=;viewtype=aro_list;runslow=;runshigh=;batposition=0;dismissal=0;bowposition=0;ballslow=;ballshigh=;bpof=0;overslow=;overshigh=;conclow=;conchigh=;wicketslow=;wicketshigh=;dismissalslow=;dismissalshigh=;caughtlow=;caughthigh=;caughttype=0;stumpedlow=;stumpedhigh=;csearch=;submit=1;.cgifields=viewtype| title=Statsguru - I Meckiff - Tests - Innings by innings list| accessdate=2007-12-18| publisher=Cricinfo]

Alterations of the throwing law and the Tied Test

In 1960, the throwing law was changed so that it stipulated that there was to be no straightening in the arm at the instant of delivery. A settlement was formed due to the conflicting interpretations of the law, so that during the 1961 Australian tour to England, there would be an amnesty period in which the umpires would privately report concerns about bowling actions to the respective teams to remediate. After that, umpires would be instructed to call bowlers where necessary.Whimpress, pp. 73–75.]

The president of the Marylebone Cricket Club, Sir Hubert Ashton hoped that Australia would not select Meckiff. Meckiff was not called in the 1960–61 Australian season, but his performances were ineffective as injuries restricted him. He played in the First and the Third Tests, taking two wickets at 117.00 and scoring 12 runs at 6.00, but was unable to complete either match due to injury, breaking down in the second innings in both matches.Whimpress, p. 79.] These injuries caused his omission for the other Tests of the series. During the series, Meckiff was passed by Col Egar, who later called him and ended his career. Meckiff noted that Egar told him that there was little point in changing his action. His performance was noted mostly for his run out in the First Test in Brisbane by Joe Solomon, which resulted in the first tie in Test history. He took only 19 wickets for the season at 40, as ankle and back injuries interrupted his season on multiple occasions. Meckiff was not selected for the Ashes tour, but critics claimed that adjustments he had made on the subcontinent tour to his action had made him legitimate but ineffective due to a loss in pace. The changes involved Meckiff keeping his arm straight during his approach before he swung the arm over to deliver the ball.Whimpress, p. 80.]

1962–63: No balled in the Sheffield Shield

The throwing controversy subsided during the 1961 English season, and as the 1961-62 Australian season was purely domestic, consisting only of Shield fixtures, with no international teams touring the country. As a result, there were no immediate cricket international diplomacy imperatives involving throwing. Meckiff was Victoria's leading bowler with 28 wickets at 27.14 and was not called.

In 1962-63, Meckiff was again under the spotlight when Ted Dexter's Englishmen toured Australia. He topped the Australian bowling averages for the first-class season with 58 wickets at 19.86 as Victoria ended a run of nine successive Shield triumphs by New South Wales. Despite this, he was overlooked for selection in all five Tests. His season was marred when he was twice called for throwing. In January 1963, Victoria played South Australia at the Adelaide Oval. After Victoria had made 218, Meckiff removed both South Australian openers for the cost of 19 run, when Jack Kierse no-balled the fourth ball of his fourth over. The rest of his bowling was cleared as he took 5/84 and 3/25.Whimpress, p. 81.] In the final match of the season against Queensland in Brisbane, Meckiff's slower ball was no-balled in his fifth over of the second innings. He bowled 14 further overs without incident.Whimpress, p. 82.]

Test no ball

Due to his performances in 1962–63, Meckiff could not be ignored for national selection on grounds of cricketing performance, so his legitimacy had to be resolved. The retirement of pace spearhead Davidson left a vacancy in the team for the 1963–64 home Test series against South Africa. In the opening Shield matches of the season in Melbourne, Meckiff took 5/102 and 6/107 against South and Western Australia respectively to claim the vacancy for the First Test in Brisbane.Whimpress, p. 83.]

An Australian Board directive at the start of the season had called for umpires to "get tough" in enforcing the laws of cricket and asking the state associations to "back the umpires to the fullest extent". Prior to the Test, Meckiff was the centre of media attention, described in the media as cricket's "bogey man". The match as also dubbed as "Meckiff's Test" and Keith Miller described Meckiff's selection as having "peppered this once drab-looking series into a curry hot-pot, with all the excitement and trimmings of an Alfred Hitchcock thriller". Miller further said that the umpires Colin Egar and Lou Rowan would be having sleepless nights and the selectors would be biting their nails. Miller said that he hoped that Meckiff was not being used as a scapegoat for the throwing crusade.

Incident

Australia batted first through the first day, with Meckiff contributing seven. On the second day, South Africa began their innings and Meckiff began the second over, bowling from the Vulture Street End to South African captain Trevor Goddard.Haigh and Frith, p. 133.] He was no-balled four times by Egar standing at square leg in what turned out to be his only over of the match. The South Australian umpire ruled the second, third, fifth and ninth balls illegitimate. Meckiff had previously been passed in five countries, with Tests in four of these countries. Egar had passed his bowling on five previous occasions: three Shield matches and two Tests, in which Meckiff had bowled 119.1 overs. Egar later said "My only judgement was what I saw at the time".Whimpress, p. 84.] Benaud removed Meckiff from the attack and he did not bowl again in the match after Benaud declined to bowl him from the other end. Meckiff conceded eight runs from his solitary over and did not bat or bowl in the second innings of the drawn match. Meckiff retired from cricket at the end of the match, although he continued to proclaim that his bowling action was legitimate.Haigh and Frith, p. 113.]

Egar's actions ignited one of the most emotional crowd displays in Test history, when the public took up Meckiff's cause. Half an hour before stumps, play was suspended for two minutes as the crowd repeatedly chanted "We want Meckiff". The police presence at the ground was increased because of fears that the crowd might endanger Egar or Benaud. When play ended, spectators stormed the field and carried him off the ground as a hero. They then returned to the field and formed two lanes and booed Egar from the ground.Whimpress, p. 87.]

Reaction

There was a rest day after the second day's play with the media heavily diseecting the events of the previous day. The majority of reporters believed that all of Meckiff's deliveries were identical in their action. Louis Duffus of the "Johannesburg Star" said that he felt "sympathy for Meckiff as well as admiration for Egar."Whimpress, p. 85.] Charles Fortune said that the action was "not according to the laws of cricket" although he would not call Meckiff a "chucker".

Of the Australian media, Ian McDonald of Melbourne's "Sporting Globe" said that Meckiff's action had not changed in the previous eight years stating "the whole affair smacks of a set-up". Sydney's "Mirror" labelled Meckiff "the most obvious fall-guy in Australian cricket history". On the morning of the third day's play, former first-class cricketer Percy Beames of the "Melbourne Age" wrote that Meckiff had been used as a "sacrificial goat" and called for the selectors to resign.Whimpress, p. 86.] Miller wrote a column calling for Don Bradman and Jack Ryder to be sacked from their posts as selectors, noting that they watched Meckiff's performance against Western Australia which prompted his Test selection. He felt that if Meckiff was not legitimate he should not have been sent out to be "executed" by the match officials.

The records of the Australian Board of Control show that board member Clem Jones had lodged an objection to Meckiff being selected for Australia after selectors' desired team list had been submitted for approval. Jones cited Meckiff's bowling action but the board chairman ruled that the objection was unconstitutional. Two other board members attempted to overrule the chairman, but their motion was defeated.

Former Australian captain Lindsay Hassett stated that since the Australian selectors must have considered Meckiff to be legitimate, then

If the selectors are right, Egar is wrong, and if he is incapable of interpreting the laws correctly, he should not stand in first-class cricket. On the other hand if the selectors as a body threw Meckiff into this arena merely to be tested by the opinion of a single umpire, they are very much guilty of passing the buck, and of exposing both the bowler and the umpire to extreme embarrassment.

When asked why he had not switched Meckiff to the other end, Benaud replied "over the year I have accepted the umpire's decision",Whimpress, p. 88.] but declined to test the decision of Egar's partner. Benaud was criticised for being acquiescent, with Hassett believing that Meckiff should have been allowed to bowl with instructions to reduce his speed.

There were two retired Test umpires Col Hoy and Les Townsend who were at the ground when Meckiff was called. The day after the incident, both asserted that they would not have no-balled Meckiff. Hoy said that in the Test and Shield matches that he had officiated with Meckiff bowling that he had never had any problem with Meckiff's action from square leg. Hoy said that Meckiff's action was "slightly different" but believed that it was due to his accentuated wrist action in an attempt to get more out of dead pitches. Townsend said that he watched Meckiff with binoculars and found all of his 12 balls in the over to be identical. Townsend felt that Meckiff had a "peculiar arm action" but that he did not throw.Whimpress, p. 89.]

David Frith wrote that "Meckiff was a popular Australian, and won much sympathy among those who believed him innocent or to have been victimised in a "clean-up campaign." Sections of the cricket community believed that Meckiff was called to prove that Australia was serious about dealing with the wave of complaints about suspected throwing in the 1950s. A incident prior to the selection of Meckiff that suggested that he was used as a sacrificial offering by selectors was a dinner that Bradman had hosted in January 1963 for visiting state captains at his Adelaide home. The dinner was attended by Bill Lawry, Barry Shepherd, Ken Mackay and Benaud.Whimpress, p. 90.] There Bradman showed frame-by-frame film of Meckiff and other suspect Australian bowlers, which purported to show incriminating evidence against their bowling actions.Whimpress, p. 91.] Over 40 years after Meckiff's demise, Jones maintained that Meckiff's fate had been predetermined. He said "They'd decided to do it a week before the game, so the poor bloke had no hope...I was chairman of the umpires selection committee". Jones remained convinced that Bradman was intent on having Meckiff called for throwing, something that Bradman flatly denied.Haigh and Frith, p. 124.]

Outside cricket

Meckiff also played Australian Rules Football for Mentone in the Federal League, helping to win the league premiership in 1956. He had received offers to play in the VFL, the leading Australian Rules competition of his time, but declined contracts so that he could pursue his Test cricket career. He also played golf in pennant competition. Meckiff later worked in advertising, and also worked as a cricket commentator. In retirement, the throwing issue continued to dog Meckiff. Former Australian captain and teammate Bob Simpson, wrote a book called "Captain's Story" in which he assailed various cricketers—Meckiff chief among them—for throwing. Meckiff sued for libel in a five-year case that ended with an out-of-court settlement and apology from Simpson. [Perry, p. 241.]

ee also

*List of international cricketers called for throwing
*List of cricketers called for throwing in major cricket matches in Australia
*Tied Test

Notes

References

*cite book|first=Richie |last=Benaud |authorlink=Richie Benaud| year=1998| title=Anything But |publisher=Hodder & Stoughton |isbn=0-340-69641-6
*cite book | last = Cashman, Franks, Maxwell, Sainsbury, Stoddart, Weaver, Webster | year = 1997 | title = The A-Z of Australian cricketers|isbn=0-19550-604-9
*cite book |first=Gideon |last=Haigh |authorlink=Gideon Haigh |coauthors=Frith, David |title=Inside story:unlocking Australian cricket's archives |year=2007 |isbn=1-921116-00-5 |publisher=New Custom Publishing
*cite book |last=Perry |first= Roland |authorlink=Roland Perry |year=2000 |title=Captain Australia: A history of the celebrated captains of Australian Test cricket |location=Sydney| publisher=Random House Australia |isbn=1-74051-174-3
*cite book| first=Bernard |last=Whimpress |title=Chuckers: A history of throwing in Australian cricket| year=2004 |publisher=Elvis Press |location=Adelaide | isbn=0-9756746-1-7

External links

* [http://content-aus.cricinfo.com/wisdencricketer/content/player/6598.html Cricinfo article on Ian Meckiff]


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