David Hookes

David Hookes
David Hookes
Personal information
Full name David William Hookes
Born 3 May 1955(1955-05-03)
Mile End, Adelaide, Australia
Died 19 January 2004(2004-01-19) (aged 48)
Prahran, Melbourne, Australia
Batting style Left-handed
Role Batsman, coach, commentator
International information
National side Australia
Test debut (cap 276) 12 March 1977 v England
Last Test 26 December 1985 v India
ODI debut (cap 32) 2 June 1977 v England
Last ODI 12 January 1986 v India
Domestic team information
Years Team
1975–1992 South Australia
Career statistics
Competition Test ODI FC LA
Matches 23 39 178 82
Runs scored 1306 826 12671 2041
Batting average 34.36 24.29 43.99 27.58
100s/50s 1/8 0/5 32/65 1/11
Top score 143* 76 306* 101
Balls bowled 96 29 4290 591
Wickets 1 1 41 15
Bowling average 41.00 28.00 58.02 33.46
5 wickets in innings 0 0 0 1
10 wickets in match 0 n/a 0 n/a
Best bowling 1/4 1/2 3/58 5/41
Catches/stumpings 12/– 11/– 167/– 37/–
Source: Cricinfo, 19 January 2004

David William Hookes (3 May 1955 – 19 January 2004) was an Australian cricketer, broadcaster and coach of the Victorian cricket team. An aggressive left-handed batsman, Hookes usually batted in the middle order. His international career got off to a sensational start in the Centenary Test at Melbourne in 1977 when he hit England captain Tony Greig for five consecutive boundaries, but a combination of circumstances ensured that he never became a regular in the Australian team. He wrote in his autobiography, "I suspect history will judge me harshly as a batsman because of my modest record in 23 Tests and I can't complain about that".[1]

For many years, he was a leading figure in Australian domestic cricket, most notably in his role as captain of South Australia (SA). Wisden called him, "a first-class destroyer of second-rate bowling ".[1] He scored a century from 34 balls in a match against Victoria in 1982, and finished his career as the highest run-scorer in Sheffield Shield history.

An outspoken man who had several brushes with the game's officials, Hookes retired at the end of the 1991–92 season and pursued his media career. He moved to Melbourne in 1995 and broadcast on Radio 3AW. His popularity among players and his reputation for strong leadership led to his appointment as coach of the Victorian team in 2002. The team enjoyed success under his tutelage, but he died after being punched by a hotel bouncer outside a pub where he had been drinking with Victorian players following their victory in a match earlier in the day.


Cricket career

Hookes made his First Class debut in 1975–76 for SA. A rush of form in February 1977, when he scored five centuries from six innings in 17 days, led to his selection for the Centenary Test in March, 1977, at the age of 21.

Test debut and WSC

During Australia's second innings of the match, Hookes made 56, and hit Tony Greig for five consecutive boundaries. Shortly after, he signed a contract with World Series Cricket (WSC) and then toured England. Playing all five Tests, Hookes compiled 283 runs at 31.44, with scores of 85 at The Oval and 50 at Lord's.

Hookes was one of the key personalities marketed by the breakaway WSC organisation. In a "Supertest" at the Sydney Showground in 1977, a bouncer from Andy Roberts broke his jaw, and his confidence never fully recovered from the injury. Nevertheless, he was the third-best performed Australian batsman behind Ian and Greg Chappell with 770 runs (at 38.5 average) in 12 "Supertests" played during the 1977–78 and 1978–79 seasons. His future in the Australian team following the rapprochement between WSC and official cricket seemed assured.

Problems post-WSC

However, Hookes managed just one Test and two ODIs when injury curtailed his 1979–80 season. Returned to fitness, he toured Pakistan in 1980 but made a pair in the first Test at Karachi, dismissed twice by spin bowler Iqbal Qasim. His play against slow bowling had not developed and he was vulnerable to the well-flighted delivery as his footwork was non-existent.[2] Dropped from the Australian team, his form failed to improve in the following Australian season, and he lost his place in the South Australia team as well.

The SACA took a gamble by appointing Hookes as South Australia captain at the start of the 1981–82 season. He responded to the challenge and led the state to the Sheffield Shield. Improved confidence and form led to his reinstatement in the Australian team for the 1982–83 Ashes series, and he batted consistently for 344 runs at 49.14 average with a best score of 68 in the fourth Test at Melbourne. Continuing his good form on the following tour of Sri Lanka, Hookes scored 143 off 152 balls in the first Test between the nations.

Last seasons

Hookes's performances were more subdued during the 1983 World Cup in England. Australia played poorly in the tournament. When the team returned home, Hookes criticised the team's captain, Kim Hughes. This earned him a fine and he was dropped from the 1983–84 Test series against Pakistan. He returned for five Tests in the West Indies during the 1984 tour and passed 20 in seven of his ten innings, yet made only one half-century, 51 at Antigua in the fourth Test.

Frustrated by Hookes's failure to turn regular starts into big scores, the Australia selectors ignored him for the next eighteen months. He was not selected for the 1985 tour of England even though there had been an exodus of Australian players on a rebel tour of South Africa. His last international appearances were in 1985–86, when he played two Tests against both New Zealand and India, and two ODIs in the World Series Cup. Thereafter, Australia pursued a selection policy of giving prolonged opportunities to younger players and passing over older players with inconsistent records.

Domestic performances

Despite his failure to live up to expectations at the highest level, Hookes continued to captain South Australia until 1990, when he was sacked. In October 1982, Hookes thrashed a 43 minute, 34 ball century, which in some respects is the fastest hundred in first-class history.[3] On 7–8 March 1987, Hookes and Wayne Phillips shared an unbroken fourth wicket stand of 462 for South Australia against Tasmania, with Hookes making his highest ever score of 306 not out. In all First Class cricket, Hookes scored 12,671 runs in 178 matches at an average of 43.99.

Batting style

Hookes was an aggressive strokeplayer against fast bowling, and was known to play the hook shot effectively.[4] However he had problems playing spin. He was known as an "eye" player - or one who relied more on his eye, than on sound batting technique.


After his retirement, he became involved in the media, making appearances on television and hosting a radio programme with fellow sportscaster Gerard Healy.

In 2002, he was selected as the new coach of the Victorian cricket team. He led a revival of the team, which had struggled in previous years. The team subsequently rose back to the top of the Australian domestic competition.

During August 2003, Hookes was criticised after his comment in reference to Helen Cohen Alon, a South African woman who had claimed Australian cricketer Shane Warne had sexually harassed her via telephone. Commenting on her as "some dopey, hairy-backed sheila who has dobbed [Warne] in across the other side of the world. If that's what she wants to do to earn some cash that's her decision. Let's find out the facts before we hang Warney on this one".[5][6]

Personal life

Hookes married his childhood sweetheart and first wife Roxanne, but left her for his second wife, Robyn Gellman. They were married for 22 years. Hookes had two stepchildren from Robyn, Kristofer Gellman and Caprice Gellman. Hookes and Robyn separated in late 2003 due to Hookes's infidelities.[1] At the time of his death he had been in a two-year relationship with Christine Padfield, then marketing coordinator at Cricket Victoria.[2] Miss Padfield was present when he died, this fact controversially highlighted by Derryn Hinch on his Melbourne radio show.[3]


On the night of 18 January 2004, Hookes went to the Beaconsfield Hotel in St Kilda, Melbourne, with members of the Victoria and South Australia cricket teams, to celebrate a win by the former over the latter in a one-day match. Shortly after midnight, the party was asked to leave the hotel, though there are conflicting stories as to the reason. It is also unclear whether the party left voluntarily or were forced to leave. The security staff continued following the party for a short distance outside the hotel, and there was an altercation. Witnesses gave highly conflicting testimony of what occurred and who started the fight, but what is not in doubt is that Hookes fell to the ground, hitting his head in the process, and going into cardiac arrest.[7] He was revived by paramedics but did not regain consciousness. He was taken to Melbourne's Alfred Hospital and placed on life support. The following evening after family and friends had said their goodbyes Hookes was taken off the machine and died shortly afterwards. Hookes was an organ donor and ten people received transplanted organs.[8]

A memorial service was held on Adelaide Oval on 27 January 2004 attended by all members of the Australian, South Australia and Victoria cricket teams, as well as the Premier of Victoria, Steve Bracks.[9] Total attendance was estimated at 10,000. His estranged wife Robyn declined to participate in his memorial service, but sat in one of the outer grandstands.[9] Zdravko Micevic, who punched Hookes, was charged with manslaughter but was acquitted. Micevic claimed that Hookes had punched him first without provocation.


  1. ^ a b Cricinfo.com: David Hookes player profile.
  2. ^ Cricinfo - How good was David Hookes?
  3. ^ Cricinfo - The 34-ball carnage
  4. ^ Cricinfo - Playing hooky
  5. ^ Cricinfo - Hookes puts his foot in it ... again
  6. ^ Cricinfo - 'A dopey, hairy-backed sheila'
  7. ^ http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/hookes-death-cricketer-tried-to-breakup-fight/2005/08/24/1124562902848.html
  8. ^ Department of Health & Ageing -Flame of life ignites awareness of organ donation
  9. ^ a b Silence and applause: a cricketer's farewell for David Hookes - www.theage.com.au

External links

Preceded by
Kim Hughes
Australian One-day International cricket captains
Succeeded by
Allan Border

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