When people think of great cricketers, certain names like Donald Bradman, Sachin Tendulkar, Kerry Packer etc. come to mind. However, there is one ace cricketer whose record still remains unbroken.
Jim Laker, an English cricketer, played for his country between 1948 and 1959. Laker was an off-spinner who played 46 test matches for England. He is best known for “Laker’s match” in 1956 at Old Trafford between England and Australia where Laker took 19 wickets for England’s victory. He took 193 wickets during his entire career with a bowling average of 21.24; in all first-class matches he took 1,944 wickets at 18.41.
Laker was the first one to take all 10 wickets in a test match innings, with a ten for 53 score of the Australians. Having also taken 9 for 37 in the first innings, Laker’s match bowling figures were 19 for 90 – a score that still remains unbeaten. The only other cricketer who took 10 wickets is Anil Kumble.
Laker’s record-breaking performance during the 1956 Ashes series was awarded with the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award in 1956, making him the first cricketer to win this prestigious award. Apart from the Laker’s match, Laker had also attracted limelight when he took 8 wickets for 2 runs at a test trial at Bradford.
Laker was inducted in the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame on August 23, 2009 and was an expert at bowling and a close-in fielder. Known as the elegant off-spinner, he had created fear in the mind of Australians and ensured that he delivered his best even at the worst pitches. Many people claim that they could hear the ball buzz as Laker let it go.