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Remembering John Edrich on his 82nd birthday, first player to receive ‘Man of the Match’ in ODI

Edrich belonged to a family of cricketers but none as talented as the left-handed opening batsman that he himself was.

SNS | New Delhi |

Although Test Cricket’s history dates back to more than a century ago, One Day International Cricket was born in the 1970s. It was in 1971 that the first ever ODI was played between Australia and England. Although it was the Aussies who won the match, the most talked about player in the match was English cricketer John Edrich. Edrich played a superb knock and was thus adjudged the “Player of the Match”.

Edrich became the first ever cricketer in One Day Internationals to be given the Player of the match honour.

The former English cricketer celebrated his 82nd birthday on 21 June, Friday.

Let us have a look at a few interesting stories from his cricketing journey:

Who is John Edrich?

Edrich belonged to a family of cricketers but none as talented as the left-handed opening batsman that he himself was.

He made his Test debut in 1963 and played his first match against West Indies. The Englishman was a master of the late cut as he waited for the ball to come to him before playing his trademark cut and accumulating loads of runs.

In his 13-year-long international career, Edrich played as many as 77 Tests making 5138 runs at an average of 43.54. This included 12 hundreds and 24 half centuries.

The maiden “Player of the Match”

Till 1970, no one had a clue about what One Day Cricket was all about. A year later, when England and Australia played the first ever ODI, the World saw One Day Cricket for the first time.

Batting first, England made 190 runs in the contest and in response, the Aussies chased it down with five wickets in hand. Although the Aussies won the match quite comfortably, Edrich won the Player of the Match for top scoring in the match.

Notably, this was a 40 overs a side match.

When Edrich played with a broken rib

He played in an era when helmets and safety guards were unimaginable. Batsmen getting injured to pace bowlers were quite common. Even Edrich received quite a many blows during his career.

In 1975, a Dennis Lillee delivery hit him and cracked his rib. When everybody felt it was impossible for him to continue, he stood up and continued to bat.

That sums up Edrich to a large extent – a man with grit and determination and a player who defined the gentleman’s game.