Herbie Taylor

Herbie Taylor

Infobox Historic Cricketer

nationality = South African
country = South Africa
country abbrev = RSA
name = Herbie Taylor
picture = Cricket_no_pic.pngbatting style = Right-hand bat
bowling style = Right-arm bowler
tests = 42
test runs = 2936
test bat avg = 40.77
test 100s/50s = 7/17
test top score = 176
test balls = 342
test wickets = 5
test bowl avg = 31.20
test 5s = -
test 10s = -
test best bowling = 3/15
test catches/stumpings = 19/-
FCs = 206
FC runs = 13105
FC bat avg = 41.86
FC 100s/50s = 30/64
FC top score = 250*
FC balls = 1185
FC wickets = 22
FC bowl avg = 25.45
FC 5s = -
FC 10s = -
FC best bowling = 4/36
FC catches/stumpings = 75/-
debut date = 27 May
debut year = 1912
last date = 27 February
last year = 1932
source = http://content-uk.cricinfo.com/ci/content/player/47535.html Cricinfo

Herbert Wilfred Taylor, MC (5 May 1889 - 8 February 1973) was a South African cricketer who played 42 Tests for South Africa, becoming the first South African batsman to hit 2,500 Test runs. He also captained South Africa in four Test series, and was Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1925.


Born in Durban, Taylor attended Michaelhouse School where he was coached by George Cox. He made his first-class debut for Natal in 1910 against the touring MCC team he opened the batting in both innings and scored 55 and 30. After scoring impressively in 1911, averaging 41.33 he was selected for South Africa's touring party to England in 1912. In the first match of the Triangular Tournament he made his Test debut against Australia scoring 0 and 21. He struggled in the first three Tests but in the fourth Test having dropped down the order to number 6 he top scored in the first innings with 93. He played in all six Test of the series but like South Africa themselves struggled finishing with just 194 runs at 19.40, on the whole tour he failed to score a century but still racked up 1340 runs only bettered by Dave Nourse.

In 1912/3 he captained Natal as they won the Currie Cup, he started his captaincy career with a match against Transvaal he scored 250 not out, in 225 minutes, out of a score of 384/7 dec.

England toured South Africa in 1913/4, the tourists first look at the new captain, Taylor, was in the final warmup game against Natal at Pietermaritzburg. He carried his bat for 83 in a first innings of just 124 and finished with 42* in the second. Similar performances were to come, in the First Test at Durban he scored his maiden Test century - 109 - in a score of 182. Scores of 8, 29 and 40 followed, each time he was dismissed by Sydney Barnes, as South Africa lost the first two Tests by an innings. In the Third Test his bowling came to the fore with 3/15 off 10 overs in the first innings and opening the bowling in the second, he also scored 70 but South Africa still lost.

Between the third and fourth Tests the tourists played Natal again and Taylor produced two match winning innings, 91 (out of 153) and 100 (out of 216), as Natal won by 4 wickets. In the Fourth Test Barnes took 14 wickets, two of these were Taylor's but he was able to score 93 in the second as South Africa were able to declare. This was his brother Dan's Test debut and the two shared in a 69 run stand. He finished the series with scores of 42 and 87 as England won the final Test at Port Elizabeth. A strong England team had won the series 4-0, Barnes finished with 49 wickets in the series at 10.93 but Taylor had amassed 508 runs, at 50.80. The confrontation between Barnes and Taylor is remembered as one of the classics of cricket history. The cricket historian H.S. Altham wrote: "The English cricketers were unanimous that finer batting than his against Barnes at his best they never hoped to see."


Taylor's returned to cricket in 1919/20 having won the Military Cross in World War I, he spent 18 months in the Royal Field Artillery and 2 years in the Royal Flying Corps. His first match back for Natal saw him score 76 but Dave Nourse took the headlines having scored 304*. The Currie Cup returned in 1920/1 and Taylor led Natal he also led South Africa when Australia toured in 1921/2, however he moved down the order to number 4 after the first innings of the first Test, the move had reasonable success with scores of 29, 47, 80, 26 and 17. South Africa drew the first two Tests but lost the Third.

England toured the following season and Taylor picked up from where he left off against them in 1913/4. In the first Test at Johannesburg he batted at number 3 and in the second innings scored his finest innings of 176, the next highest score in the match was 50 [ [http://content-uk.cricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/62534.html South Africa v England 1922-23 1st Test Scorecard] ] , as he finally finished on the winning side in Test cricket. He contributed 9 and 68 as England won the second Test by 1 wicket, he top scored for South Africa with 91 in the rain affected third Test. The fourth was also drawn after he scored a third Test century to remove any chance of defeat of the final day. With the series level the fifth Test was Timeless, Jack Russell scored two centuries for England and South Africa were left a target of 344. Taylor scored his third century of the series but it proved in vain as the tourists won the Test and with it the series. He finished the series with 582 runs at 64.66 and became the first South African to score three tons in a series. [ [http://statserver.cricket.org/ci/engine/records/batting/most_runs_series.html?class=1;id=3;type=team Most runs in a series for South Africa] ]

Taylor played only one Currie Cup match in 1923/4, but played 34 games on South Africa's tour of England. His form going into the First Test was poor, just two fifties in eleven matches, but at Edgbaston things got worse as South Africa were all out for 30. Taylor top scored with seven, The Times described his dismissal "came back like lightning from the line of off stump to send the leg cartwheeling". Despite scoring 390 in the second innings they lost by an innings, another innings defeat followed at Lord's. His form on the tour improved with centuries against Essex, Northamptonshire and got his revenge at Edgbaston against Warwickshire, he top scored in both innings with 94 and 116 but was out both times hit wicket. This good form continued into the Third Test with two fifties but South Africa followed on and lost by 9 wickets. The final two Tests were drawn as the series finished 3-0. This was to be Taylor's last series as captain, under his captaincy South Africa won just one of eighteen matches, he averaged 47.96 during this time.


The next Test series was in 1927/8, between this time Taylor moved from Natal to Transvaal, in 1925/6 he averaged 68.80 as they won the Currie Cup, in 1926/7 he scored 481 runs at 80.16 as Transvaal retained the title.

Nummy Deane replaced Taylor as captain when England toured in 1927/8, the tourists won the first two Tests, in the second at Cape Town Taylor top scored in both innings with 68 and 71. In the fourth Test, the third was drawn, he scored his sixth Test century as South Africa won by 4 wickets. South Africa also won the fifth Test, to square the series, thanks to George Finlay-Bissett taking 7/29 in the second innings.

Taylor toured England for the final time in 1929 overall he scored 1575 first-class runs at 38.41 but was only available for three Tests due to injury missing his first Test in seventeen years. After scoring 2 in the first Test he returned for the fourth Test and scored two quickfire innings of 28 and 70. In the final Test he scored 121, his only Test century outside of South Africa, and shared in a 214 run stand with Deane it was South Africa's biggest fourth wicket partnership until 2003 when beaten by Gary Kirsten and Jacques Kallis. [ [http://content-uk.cricinfo.com/ci/content/story/126166.html Kallis and Kirsten make Windies toil] ]

Transvaal and Taylor won another Currie Cup in 1929/30 although he played in only two matches he managed two centuries. He missed the first Test of England's tour in 1930/1, South Africa won with Buster Nupen taking 11 for 150. Returning for the second he scored his seventh and final Test century. His 64* helped secure a draw in the Third Test, he scored 72 in the fourth as he was left with the tail. The final Test like the three that preceded it was drawn leaving South Africa with a series victory.

The tour of Australia in 1931/2 was less successful as South Africa were whitewashed. This was Taylor's first Test against them in 10 years and despite being 42 this was his first tour to Australia. He warmed-up for the Test series with a century against New South Wales. The first two Tests were lost by an innings, Taylor scoring 41 and 47 at Brisbane, the third was lost by 169 runs even after South Africa took a first innings lead of 160. Before the next Test he scored 97 and 68* against South Australia this form continued into Adelaide where he produced scores of 78 and 84, Donald Bradman's 299* was the difference between the teams. South Africa were skittled for 36 and 45 in the final Test with only two double figure scores.

Following the Australia tour South Africa played two Tests in New Zealand, in the only warm up against Auckland Taylor scored a century. In the First Test at Christchurch Taylor scored 9 this was his final innings as after the match he retired from Test cricket. He finished on the winning side in only 4 of his 42 Test matches.

In 1932 Taylor played in England for: The MCC, Gentlemen, England XI and Rest of England teams. When he returned to South Africa he played his domestic cricket for Natal, in his first match back he scored 158 against his old team Transvaal. He was part of another Currie Cup winning team in 1934/5, scoring 321 runs at 53.50 with a final century in December 1934 at the age of 45. In March 1936 he made a brief comeback playing one first-class match for Western Province against the touring Australians.

Taylor took up coaching schoolboys upon retirement, and died in Cape Town in 1973.

His father, Daniel Taylor, and older brother, Dan Taylor, both played first-class cricket for Natal.

He was the first person, and only one before readmission, to score 2,000 Test runs in South Africa. He was considered a master on the matting wickets on which he made all these runs. Thirty of his Tests and all his centuries came against England. His aggregate of 2,287 runs against England is second only to Bruce Mitchell and the seven centuries is a record that he shares with Mitchell, Denis Compton and Dudley Nourse in England vs South Africa contests. [ [http://statserver.cricket.org/ci/engine/records/batting/most_runs_career.html?class=1;id=1;id=3;type=headtohead Most runs in England v South Africa - Test matches] ] In the Currie Cup matches he scored 3,226 runs at an average of 58.65 and was part of seven winning teams, four with Natal and three with Transvaal.


External links

* [http://www.cricketarchive.com/Archive/Players/0/350/350.html CricketArchive Player Profile]
* [http://content-uk.cricinfo.com/southafrica/content/story/154711.html Wisden Cricketer Of The Year]
* [http://content-uk.cricinfo.com/southafrica/content/story/155734.html Wisden Obituary]

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