Home > Features > Moments in history >

When Ray Lindwall ‘floored’ his critic and then the South Africans — in champion style

When Ray Lindwall ‘floored’ his critic and then the South Africans — in champion style
Ray Lindwall © Getty Images

Great sportsmen generally respond to nasty press articles through their performance on the field. Ray Lindwall did that on January 4, 1950. However before that, he also chose to respond on the dance floor. Arunabha Sengupta recalls a side-splitting incident from the Australian tour of South Africa 1949-50.

 

 

The greatest of cricketers respond to criticism by delivering the goods on the field, making the critics eat their own spiteful words.

 

And without doubt Ray Lindwall was one of the greatest of them all. He did respond on the pitch.

 

But he also had a sense of humour that hit back stingingly off the field — on the dance floor.

 

Lindwall had arrived in South Africa with the reputation of a fearsome fast bowler. He had 65 wickets in Test matches at an average of 19, having demolished the Englishmen at home and in England.

 

Hence, when he remained wicketless in his 18 eight-ball overs in the Johannesburg Test, it came as a disappointment. In particular Sydney Sun’s Dick Whittington, a former opening batsman of South Australia, was less than impressed. He hit out at both Lindwall’s rather insipid bowling and increasing bulk by describing him as ‘the poor portly ghost of a once great fast bowler.’

 

Lindwall’s doting sisters loyally wired him Whittington’s report at Cape Town’s Langham Hotel.

 

Shortly after that a dance was arranged at the Cape Town Rotunda for the players and accompanying press. During the evening, Lindwall spied Whittington indulging in a rather smooth ‘excuse-me’ Foxtrot with a stunning lady for his partner. The fast bowler quietly made his way to the couple and tapped the critic on the shoulder before extending his arm towards his pretty woman. “May I have the rest of this dance? Don’t mind me, I’m only a ghost!”

 

He was not done with just this retort, though. On January 4, 1950, the last day of the second Test at Cape Town, Lindwall picked up five second innings wickets to help Australia to an eight-wicket victory.

 

(Arunabha Sengupta is a cricket historian and Chief Cricket Writer at CricketCountry. He writes about the history and the romance of the game, punctuated often by opinions about modern day cricket, while his post-graduate degree in statistics peeps through in occasional analytical pieces. The author of three novels, he can be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/senantix)

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 20, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Kolkata

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Dubai

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (19:00 IST)   at Cuttack

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 24, 2014 (03:00 IST)   at Mount Maunganui

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Oct 25, 2014 (09:00 IST)   at Dhaka

More

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 21, 2014  at Mount Maunganui

South Africa won by 6 wkts

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 17, 2014  at Dharamsala

India won by 59 runs

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 14, 2014  at Visakhapatnam

Match cancelled

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 12, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

Australia won by 1 run

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 11, 2014  at Delhi

India won by 48 runs

Photos

New Zealand vs South Africa, 1st ODI

Videos

Australia perpare for 1st Test against Pakistan

Pakistan’s chances in ICC World Cup 2015 bleak: Mohammad Zahid

Pakistan vs Australia 1st Test in Dubai Preview: Motivated Pakistan look to hurt rusty Australia

MS Dhoni rested, Virat Kohli as captain, and other points of interest from squad for first 3 India vs Sri Lanka ODIs

India vs Sri Lanka 2014: MS Dhoni gets much-needed break ahead of Australia tour

A Pakistan all-time XI: A galaxy of captains

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 Australia vs Pakistan Australia vs Pakistan 2014 India India vs West Indies India vs West Indies 2014 New Zealand Pakistan Salaam Cricket South Africa West Indies West Indies tour of India 2014 West Indies vs India West Indies vs India 2014

Duleep Trophy 2014-15 East Zone vs South Zone 2nd Semi-final at Rohtak Day 1: South Zone make steady start

“Net Bowler’ program to be launched for the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: Mitchell Johnson not in same league as Wasim Akram, says Waqar Younis

IPL 2015 scheduled to begin from April 9

South Africa vs New Zealand 2014: Kane Williamson out with wrist injury

Australia’s best opportunity to bury ghosts of playing on spinning track

Duleep Trophy Semi-Final, Central Zone vs North Zone: Players to watch out for

Pakistan’s chances in ICC World Cup 2015 bleak: Mohammad Zahid

Quinton de Kock equals wicketkeeping record with six catches in South Africa vs New Zealand 1st ODI

MS Dhoni rested, Virat Kohli as captain, and other points of interest from squad for first 3 India vs Sri Lanka ODIs

Fan of the Day

Suraj Gowda

Suraj Gowda

642 Posts | 9 Fans

Virat Kohli's Family Meets Anushka Sharma

IPL scheduled to begin from April 9

Microsoft Lumia to replace the Nokia brand

Delhi Jal Board launches mobile app to receive complaints, suggestions

How BMI and BMR play a role in weight loss

Sensex surges 215 points; auto stocks gain

Revealed: Shah Rukh Khan gets injured while promoting Happy New Year!

Deepika Padukone beats Sunny Leone and Malaika Arora Khan to become the hottest pole dancer in B-town!

Drink ginger tea to relieve a migraine naturally

Nokia HERE maps now available for all Android devices running Jelly Bean or higher

Live Cricket Score Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test at Dubai Day 1

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here