Australian cricketing legend and larrikin Doug Walters MBE (pictured) will be visiting Narrandera this Saturday for a Narrandera Carpheads’ Cricket Club sportsman’s night at the Charles Sturt Hotel.
Walters was inducted into the Cricket Hall of Fame in 2011.
Walters was compared to Bradman early in his career. Comparisons were also drawn between former skipper Michael Clarke and Walters, probably because both had a short frame, similar back-lift and perhaps because both scored hundreds on their respective Test debuts.
Walters made his first class debut for NSW against Queensland in the 1962-63 season. His highest score was 253 and his best bowling was 7/63, both against South Australia in the 1964-65 season.
In the domestic Sheffield Shield competition he played 91 matches, scoring 5,602 runs at 39.73 and taking 110 wickets at 32.81.
Walters announced his retirement from all forms of cricket in October 1981.
He had made his debut in Test cricket on December 10 1965 at the Gabba against England in the 1965-66 Ashes series and quickly developed a reputation as a batsman who could ‘make things happen’ with a moment of brilliance on an important occasion.
Walters scored 155 in his first Test innings and another century in his second Test.
He was not at his best in England, averaging only 25.68 in 18 matches there, but elsewhere he was a quick-scoring batsman.
He was denied an opportunity to tour South Africa in 1966-67 when he was conscripted to two years of National Service training, although effectively being exempted from Vietnam service in order to pursue his professional, cricketing career in Australia, and it wasn’t until 1968 that he returned to the test arena.
In the 1968-69 series against the West Indies, Walters was injured and unavailable for the first Test match, but in the remaining four Tests he scored a Bradman-like 699 runs, at an average of 116.5, with a highest score of 242 (in the process he became the first player to score a century and a double century in a single Test).
He starred in an unofficial Test series to a Rest of the World team led by Gary Sobers that toured in 1971–72 as a replacement for the South Africans, scoring 355 runs in four matches at an average of 71.00, with two centuries.
He famously hit a century in a session at the WACA against England in 1974, where he hit Bob Willis for six from the last ball of the day to bring up his ton. His 250 against New Zealand in 1977 is the highest by any batsman in the number six position.
Walters was a part-time bowler, but his medium-paced “Golden Arm” broke many partnerships and yielded 49 Test wickets at 29.08.
He wore the large sideburns popular in the 1960s and 1970s and when not on the field was seldom seen without a cigarette hanging from the corner of his mouth. He was also famous for his laconic humour.
Walters holds a somewhat mythical place in Australian cricket. Small, cheeky, popular and multi-skilled, he would drink all night without getting drunk then wipe sleep from his eyes to make a shot-laden century or take a crucial wicket or stunning catch – sometimes, in folklore at least, on the same day.
Walters, the country boy who grew up on a Dungog dairy farm with a bush technique, was a knockabout who disliked training and going to bed early, and favoured drinking, smoking, solitaire and cribbage.
He was a Channel Nine cricket commentator in the 1987/88 season.
In 1988, he wrote One for the Road which is a combination of stories and anecdotes from his early and later cricketing days.
He later co-wrote a book, The Entertainers, with Mark Waugh in 1999.
Walters will be arriving in Narrandera around lunchtime on the Saturday.
A punters club will be running at the Charles Sturt Hotel throughout the arvo for anyone interested, then the evening will commence around 6.30pm at $10 a head.
This will give everyone a chance to have a few beers and some food and Doug will talk a bit later in the evening.
Pre-sale tickets are available from Dave Kroek, Rohan Rehwinkle or Matt McLellan or at the Charles Sturt Hotel for $10 a head or can be purchased at the door.