Brian Booth

Brian Booth

Infobox cricketer biography
playername = Brian Booth

country = Australia
fullname = Brian Charles Booth
nickname =
living = true
dayofbirth = 19
monthofbirth = 10
yearofbirth = 1933
placeofbirth = Perthville, Bathurst, New South Wales
countryofbirth = Australia
dayofdeath =
monthofdeath =
yearofdeath =
placeofdeath =
countryofdeath =
heightft =
heightinch =
heightm = 1.81
batting = Right-hand
bowling = Right-arm off spin
role = Middle-order batsman
international =
testdebutdate = 27 July
testdebutyear = 1961
testdebutagainst = England

lasttestdate = 7 January
lasttestyear = 1966
lasttestagainst = England
odidebutdate =
odidebutyear =
odidebutagainst =

lastodidate =
lastodiyear =
lastodiagainst =
odishirt =
club1 = New South Wales
year1 = 1955–1968
clubnumber1 =
club2 =
year2 =
clubnumber2 =
club3 =
year3 =
clubnumber3 =
club4 =
year4 =
clubnumber4 =
deliveries =
columns = 2
column1 = Tests
matches1 = 29
runs1 = 1773
bat avg1 = 42.21
100s/50s1 = 5/10
top score1 = 169
deliveries1 = 436
wickets1 = 3
bowl avg1 = 48.66
fivefor1 = 0
tenfor1 = 0
best bowling1 = 2/33
catches/stumpings1 = 17/0
column2 = FC
matches2 = 183
runs2 = 11265
bat avg2 = 45.42
100s/50s2 = 26/60
top score2 = 214*
deliveries2 = 2112
wickets2 = 16
bowl avg2 = 59.75
fivefor2 = 0
tenfor2 = 0
best bowling2 = 2/29
catches/stumpings2 = 119/0
column3 =
matches3 =
runs3 =
bat avg3 =
100s/50s3 =
top score3 =
deliveries3 =
wickets3 =
bowl avg3 =
fivefor3 =
tenfor3 =
best bowling3 =
catches/stumpings3 =
column4 =
matches4 =
runs4 =
bat avg4 =
100s/50s4 =
top score4 =
deliveries4 =
wickets4 =
bowl avg4 =
fivefor4 =
tenfor4 =
best bowling4 =
catches/stumpings4 =
date = 4 March
year = 2008
source = []

Brian Charles Booth (born 19 October 1933 in Bathurst, New South Wales) is a former Australian Test cricketer who played 29 Tests from 1961 to 1966. He captained Australia for two Tests during the 1965–66 season while standing in for regular captain Bob Simpson due to illness and injury. Booth was primarily a graceful right-handed middle order batsman at No. 4 or 5 who occasionally bowled right arm medium pace or off spin. Booth was of modest height and had an inclination to use his feet to attack spin bowling. Booth was also a member of the Australian field hockey team that competed at the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne.

Born in the New South Wales country town of Bathurst, Booth moved to Sydney in 1952 and played in the grade cricket competition while he trained to become a teacher. He made his first-class debut for New South Wales in dramatic circumstances against the touring Englishmen in 1954–55, being drafted in as an emergency after the start of the match. Booth struggled to make an impression early in his career and took 1956 away from cricket to prepare for the 1956 Olympics in hockey. Upon returning to first-class cricket in 1957–58, he was able to hold down a regular position in the state team while the Test players were on overseas duty. Booth gradually progressed and gained selection on the 1959–60 Australian Second XI tour to New Zealand.

He was selected for the Australian team to tour England in 1961 and played in the final two Tests. Upon his return to Australia, Booth made two centuries in the 1962–63 home Test series against England to establish himself in the Australian team. He made two further centuries in the following summer against South Africa and was named as the Australian player of the year. Following the retirement of Richie Benaud, Booth was appointed as the vice-captain under Simpson as Australia embarked on a successful 1964 tour of England which saw the successful defense of the Ashes. Booth played his final Test series in 1965–66 against England, captaining Australia in the First and Third Tests as Simpson was sidelines with a broken wrist and chickenpox respectively. The First Test was drawn but the Third saw Australia fall to its first innings defeat in almost ten years. Coupled with a form slump, Booth was dropped as the Australian selectors made mass changes, ending his career. In retirement, Booth returned to his teaching duties and also worked as an Anglican lay-preacher. Booth was known for his sportsmanship on the field and often invoked Christianity while discussing ethics and sport.

Early years

The son of a market gardener, Booth was born in Perthville, 9.5 km out of Bathurst. Booth represented Bathurst High School at the age of 13, and at 15 he played first grade cricket in Bathurst. He was selected to the New South Wales country side in 1947 at the age of just 14. In 1950 he represented New South Wales Country against a combined Sydney team, and in 1952 moved to St. George to play on a regular, weekly basis. He made the first grade team at the age of 19 and began a four-year course at Sydney Teachers' College.Perry, p. 246.]

He made his first-class debut for New South Wales in the 1954–55 season against Queensland in Sheffield Shield. He made a duck and was dropped when the Test players returned from international duty. Booth was recalled later in the season for a match against the touring England cricket team of Len Hutton at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Arthur Morris and Bill Watson had to withdraw at late notice and Booth received an emergency call-up while on teaching duties at Hurlstone Agricultural College. He caught a train and arrived at the ground more than half an hour after the start of play by which time New South Wales had collapsed to 3/12. New South Wales fell further to 5/26 before Booth came in with a borrowed cap and bat to join Peter Philpott. They put on an 83-run partnership. Booth eventually finished the innings unbeaten on 74.Robinson, p. 275.] He played in only one other match in his debut season. [cite web|url=| title=Australian First-Class Season 1954/55: Batting - Most Runs| publisher=Cricinfo |accessdate=2007-12-04]

Booth had a low key season in 1955–56, struggling to find a regular position in the New South Wales team. He played in six matches and managed only 157 runs at 31.40, passing fifty on only one occasion. [cite web|url=| title=Australian First-Class Season 1955/56: Batting - Most Runs| publisher=Cricinfo |accessdate=2007-12-04] Booth then missed the 1956–57 Sheffield Shield season when he was part of the Australian field hockey team which finished fifth in the 1956 Olympics. [cite web|url=|title=Brian Booth|publisher=Australian Olympic Committee|accessdate=2007-04-02] Booth was an inside left, although he was not utilised in any of Australia's matches.cite book | last = Pollard | first = Jack | year = 1969 | title = Cricket the Australian Way| publisher=Lansdowne Press |isbn=0-7018-0388-6 |pages= p. 1] Robinson, p. 274.]

In 1957–58, the Australian Test team toured South Africa during the southern hemisphere summer, opening opportunities in the Shield competition beack in Australia. Booth established himself at first-class level with 503 runs at 50.30, scoring his maiden first-class century against Victoria at the SCG. He put on triple century partnership of 325 with future Test team-mate Norm O'Neill in less than four hours. It was his 15th first-class match. With the Test players returning in 1958–59, Booth again struggled, playing six matches and aggregating only 190 runs at 31.66. [cite web|url=| title=Australian First-Class Season 1960/61: Batting - Most Runs| publisher=Cricinfo |accessdate=2007-12-04]

Test career

In 1959–60, Booth had a strong first-class season, scoring 718 runs at 65.27 for the season with two centuries, placing third on the run scoring lists. [cite web|url=| title=Australian First-Class Season 1959/60: Batting - Most Runs| publisher=Cricinfo |accessdate=2007-12-04] This saw him selected for a second choice Australian cricket team that toured New Zealand under Ian Craig. Booth considered retiring after the season, feeling that the time commitment of four-day cricket matches was impinging on his work as a lay preacher and a Christian youth worker.

Booth brought himself into contention for the Test selection with a strong season in the 1960–61 Australian season. He aggregated 981 runs at an average of 65.40 with three centuries. Only five players scored more runs, all at lower averages. [cite web|url=| title=Australian First-Class Season 1960/61: Batting - Most Runs| publisher=Cricinfo |accessdate=2007-12-04] Two of the centuries were in combined Australian XI matches at the end of the season for expected Australian squad members. [cite web|url=| title=Other First-Class Matches, 1960-61| publisher=Cricinfo |accessdate=2007-12-04] In the match against Tasmania, Booth struck a breezy 100 from 104 balls in 90 minutes of batting. One of his sixes flew out of the ground.

He was then selected for The Ashes tour of England in 1961, and quickly gained a reputation for his attention to fitness, leading the Australian in their morning exercises during the sea voyage. In a match against Lancashire, Booth was caught behind for 99, from the bowling of another Brian Booth.Robinson, p. 276.] He played consistently to earn his Test debut in the Fourth Test at Old Trafford in place of Colin McDonald.cite book | last = Cashman, Franks, Maxwell, Sainsbury, Stoddart, Weaver, Webster | year = 1997 | title = The A-Z of Australian cricketers|pages =pp. 27–28|isbn=0-19-550604-9|publisher= Oxford University Press|location=Melbourne] The series was evenly poised at 1–1 and Australia batted first on a pitch that initially assisted fast bowling with a green tinged surface with England fielding a pace lineup including Brian Statham and Fred Trueman. Booth was struck in the torso on his first ball after a bouncer did not bounce as high as was expected. He managed to repel a spearing yorker on the second ball and compiled a battling 46, the second highest score on the difficult pitch after a partnership with centurion Bill Lawry. Australia managed only 190. He only managed nine in the second innings before Australia retained the Ashes after an English collapse on the final day. Booth finished his tour in the drawn Fifth and final Test at The Oval, coming in with the score at 4/211 after the dismissal of O'Neill for 117. He featured in a 185 run partnership with Peter Burge, finishing with 71. Booth was dismissed attempting to loft the spin of Tony Lock over the infield. He was trying to lift the run rate when captain Richie Benaud need quick runs, something that observers felt cost him his maiden Test century.

The 1961–62 season was a purely domestic season. Booth scored 507 runs at 42.25 with two centuries, placing 13th on the run scoring aggregates as he helped New South Wales to win its ninth consecutive Sheffield Shield.cite web|url=|accessdate=2007-11-30|title=A history of the Sheffield Shield |publisher=Cricinfo |first=Martin |last=Williamson] [cite web|url=| title=Australian First-Class Season 1961/62: Batting - Most Runs| publisher=Cricinfo |accessdate=2007-12-04]

Booth retained his place in the Test team when England returned in 1962–63 for another Ashes battle. He made his maiden Test century in the First Test at the Gabba, compiling 112 in the first innings in a high scoring draw. Thirteen innings reached fifty, but Booth was the only player to reach three figures. English captain Ted Dexter decided to shut down Booth's scoring by employing leg theory. In the Second Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Fred Titmus bowled outside leg stump with five men on the leg side, but Booth complete consecutive centuries with 103 in the second innings. As a result of Dexter's defensive field placings, Booth could only score at half the rate that he managed in the First Test. Booth was unable to maintain his form for the rest of the season, with 34 and 77 in the Fourth Test in Adelaide being the only other times that he passed 20. He ended the series with 404 runs at 50.50.

Booth started the 1962–63 season against South Africa the way he began the previous season. Coming to the crease with Australia at 3/88 in the first innings of the First Test in Brisbane, Booth withstood an opening burst of bouncers from South African spearhead Peter Pollock. Booth went on to accumulate his Test best of 169, an innings that gained wide praise from for his elegant strokemaking. One newspaper proclaimed that his innings had "more Grace than the Princess of Monaco." Ray Robinson said "it was a tailored innings, fit to be put on display in a showcase and unrumpled by a single chance". South African skipper Trevor Goddard later said "We didn't mind the leather chasing, when he played so charmingly.Perry, p. 248.] A broken finger stopped Booth from playing in the Second Test, but he returned in the Third Test in Sydney, and began a sequence of 75, 16, 58 and 24. He finished the series in his home town in the Fifth Test, top scoring in both of Australia's innings, with 102 not out and 87. In four Tests, be had aggregated 531 runs at 88.5. For the entire first-class season, he had struck five centuries and totalled 1180 runs. In a match against Western Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground, Booth scored 121 in 94 minutes during a passage of play in the second session of the day. One six came from a beamer from Des Hoare, which he hooked onto the roof of the hill section. Booth modestly claimed that the shot was a top edge. The season was his career peak and saw him awarded the Australian Cricketer of the Year for 1963–64.

Captain Benaud retired at the end of the South Africa series, and Booth was elevated to the vice-captaincy of Australia behind Bob Simpson for the 1964 tour of England. Some players felt that Booth would have been more popular among the playing group, but other cricket observers thought that Booth would not have been hard-nosed enough in pursuing his team's competitive interest.Robinson, p. 277.] He struggled initially, failing to pass 20 in the first six Test innings of the series. With Australia 1–0 up after three Tests, a draw in the Fourth Test was sufficient to retain the urn. Booth made 98 in a 219 run partnership with Simpson as the Australians batted for more than two days to burn off any chance of an England victory.Perry, p. 234.] He made 74 in the Fifth Test and ended the series with 210 runs at 42.

Three Tests against India and one against Pakistan lay ahead of Booth as the Australians visited the Indian subcontinent on the voyage back to Australia in 1964–65. He had a mediocre time, passing fifty only once, a 74 at Mumbai's Brabourne Stadium in the Second Test. He compiled 127 runs at 21.17 and took the only three wickets of his Test career on the spin friendly surfaces. He took 2/33 in the drawn Third Test in Calcutta, before capturing one more in the second innings of the only Test against Pakistan in Karachi. At the time, cricket matches in Australia and England were typically interrupted on Sundays for a rest day and Booth used these for religious observance. However, this custom was not observed on the subcontinent. Booth wanted to withdraw for personal reasons but decided to play on due to injuries and illnesses to other players. He made 57 in a Test against Pakistan in Melbourne upon arrival in Australia, the only home Test of the season before a tour to the Caribbean.

Australia arrived in the West Indies in 1964–65 for five Tests against the emerging power of 1960s international cricket, led by the hostile express pace bowling of Wes Hall and Charlie Griffith. He made a battling top-score of 56 in the First Test loss at Sabina Park in Jamaica, after narrowly evading a bouncer at the start of his innings, before a 117 in Port of Spain in Trinidad including a stand of 222 with Bob Cowper saw Australia hang on for a draw. It was to be his last Test century, an innings be regarded as his "most satisfying", having collected a series of bruises on the way.Roibinson, p. 278.] Booth did not pass 40 again in the series and ended with 234 runs at 29.25 as Australia lost 2–1, their first series loss since the 1956 Ashes series.

Temporary captain

The start of the 1965–66 home Ashes series against England saw Booth captain Australia for the first time in a Test match. Simpson sustained a broken wrist, leaving Booth to lead the Australians in the First Test in Brisbane. He had a quiet preparation, with Simpson continuing to handle the press. Booth won the toss and elected to bat, with less than two hours of play possible on a rain shortened first day before the second day was entirely washed out. Booth made only 16 before being caught and bowled by Fred Titmus on the third morning, but centuries to Lawry and debutant Doug Walters saw him declare Australia's innings at 6/443. Booth rotated his spinners and saw England bowled out for 280, before the match ended in a draw with England at 3/186 after being forced to follow on. [Perry, p. 244.] When Geoff Boycott pushed a ball from leg spinner Peter Philpott with his hand, Booth refused to appeal for handled the ball.

After the Second Test was drawn, Simpson contracted chickenpox, and Booth was again captain in the Third Test in front of his home crowd at the SCG. However, there was to be no fairytale, as Australia were forced to follow on and then fell to an innings defeat. It was the first time Australia had lost by an innings since the Fourth Test in 1956 against England at Old Trafford – Laker's Test. [cite web|title=List of match results (by year) Australia - Test matches|url=;id=2;type=team| accessdate=2007-12-04| publisher=Cricinfo] With Australia 0–1 down, the selectors took drastic action and dropped Booth, Cowper, Philpott and David Sincock. The revamped team won the next match by an innings and Booth never played for Australia again. If he had played another Test, be could have been eligible for the New South Wales Cricket Association's reward of AUD50 a Test. His last five innings had netted only 84 runs.Perry, p. 245.] cite web| url=;playerid=1153;class=testplayer;filter=basic;team=0;opposition=0;notopposition=0;season=0;homeaway=0;continent=0;country=0;notcountry=0;groundid=0;startdefault=1961-07-27;start=1961-07-27;enddefault=1966-01-11;end=1966-01-11;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 - BC Booth - Tests - Innings by innings list|publisher=Cricinfo|accessdate=2007-04-02] After the match, he received a letter from Don Bradman, then a member of the selection panel:

Never before have I written to a player to express my regret at his omission from the Australian XI. In your case I am making an exception because I want you to know how much my colleagues and I disliked having to make this move. Captain one match and out of the side the next looks like ingratitude, but you understand the circumstances and will be the first to admit that your form has not been good.

Booth continued to play for New South Wales before retiring during the 1968–69 season. In 1966–67 season, he scored 638 runs at 49.07, ranking him fifth in the run scoring aggregates for the Australian first-class season, [cite web|url=| title=Australian First-Class Season 1966/67: Batting - Most Runs| publisher=Cricinfo |accessdate=2007-12-04] which saw him made vice-captain to Les Favell of an Australian Second XI that toured New Zealand. During the tour, Booth made his highest first-class score, a 214 against Northern Districts, and was Australia's highest scorer for the tour. His penultimate season in 1967–68 was less successful, with only 426 runs at 23.66. [cite web|url=| title=Australian First-Class Season 1967/68: Batting - Most Runs| publisher=Cricinfo |accessdate=2007-12-04] A decision by administrators to introduce Sunday play into the Sheffield Shield ended his career, as he refused to make himself available for selection on games that involved Sunday play.Robinson, p. 269.] He played in only one match in his final season, scoring 15 and a duck. [cite web|url=| title=Australian First-Class Season 1968/69: Batting - Most Runs| publisher=Cricinfo |accessdate=2007-12-04] He continued to play grade cricket for the St. George club until 1976–77, leading the batting averages and aggregates in 1974–75. As of 1997, he was one only ten batsmen to have exceeded 10,000 runs in Sydney grade competition.


Booth was regarded as an elegant batsman, who had an erect stance at the batting crease. He was known for not hitting the ball hard but for his easy and relaxed style. In hockey, a player is not allowed to lift his stick above the shoulders; this training strengthened Booth's forearms and wrists and he was able to put momentum on the ball without a large swing of the blade. He was particularly known for his late cut and his cover drive, in a manner not dissimilar to Mark Waugh. He was known for his quick feetwork to the spinners and was rarely stumped, and had the ability to change his batting tempo. He quickly got into position and typically moved onto the back foot to cover his stumps. Booth was a lean player, standing 181 cm and weighing 66 kg who refrained from smoking and drinking. He was known for his efficient outfielding, and on the second day of the Second Test against the West Indies in Trinidad, he ran out Gary Sobers and Basil Butcher with strong throws from the outfield. He started as a part-time leg spin bowler but later converted to bowling slow-medium paced off spin.

Booth is a committed Christian and Anglican lay-preacher. He co-authored "Cricket and Christianity" with Paul White and wrote "Hockey Fundamentals", "Booth to Bat" and "Cricket and Christianity". He often invokes Christianity and ethical points while talking about issues such as sportsmanship. Booth believed that the foundations of sport were courtesy and fairness and condemned the verbal jousting prevalent in the modern game. During his career, Booth often addressed Christian functions in combination with other other platers. He appeared with the English Test opener Reverned David Sheppard at Sydney Town Hall and preached with Conrad Hunte in the West Indies. Booth was one of the last players to walk when he knew that he was out, without waiting the umpire's decision and was regarded as a player and leader of the highest principles. He was known for his record of controlling his players and preventing them from showing dissent against unfavourable umpiring decisions.Robinson, p. 277.] Robinson said that "if a prize were offered for fairplaymanship among Australia's post-war cricketers Brian Booth ought to win it hands down".Robinson, p. 279.]

Outside cricket

After retirement Booth resumed full-time duties as a Sydney schoolmaster. He had been a teacher in the secondary schools of New South Wales for 12 years before becoming an instructor in physical education to other trainee teachers at Sydney Teachers' College in 1967. Before retiring in 1989, he served for five years as the head of the Health and Human Movement Studies Department at the Sydney Institute of Education, the successor of the STC. In 1958, he married Judith Williams, whom me met at Sydney Teachers' College. They had two daughters, the first being born in 1961.Perry, p. 247.] Booth is the uncle of hammer thrower Brooke Krueger-Billett, who represented Australia at the 2006 Commonwealth Games. [cite web|url=|title=KRUEGER Brooke |publisher=2006 Commonwealth Games |accessdate=2007-04-02]

In 1967, Booth was appointed as the founding chairman of the Youth Advisory Council, which aimed to address community issues such as hooliganism. Booth was made a life member of the New South Wales Cricket Association (NSWCA) in 1974 and served as a vice-president for four years starting in 1973–74. He was awarded life membership of the Marylebone Cricket Club, the home of cricket. In 1974, he was preselected as the Liberal candidate for the federal election in the Division of St George, standing against Science Minister William Morrison of the Australian Labor Party. He was unsuccessful as the ruling Australian Labor Party was returned to office. In 1982, Booth was awarded a MBE for "services to the community and sport".

In 2002, he returned to the public spotlight when he condemned the sledging or verbal intimidation tactics that are used in modern cricket, stating "I can't remember in the games that I played in, I can't ever remember being sledged, and I can't ever remember sledging anybody" with particular reference to the current Australian team. [cite web|url=|publisher=Australian Broadcasting Corporation|title=The Spirit of Cricket. |date=2002-11-22|accessdate=2007-04-02] In the Australian edition of the Wisden Cricketers' Almanack for that year, he wrote a chapter titled "The Curse of Sledging".



*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

NAME=Booth, Brian Charles
DATE OF BIRTH=19 October 1933
PLACE OF BIRTH=Bathurst, New South Wales

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