Fred Trueman Biography
Fred Trueman was the first bowler to break the 300-wicket barrier in Tests. Though his Test career spanned 13 years, he played in just 67 Tests and made only six overseas tours as he found himself sidelined for non-cricketing reasons.
At 5’10”, Trueman was not tall for a genuine quick bowler, but he was as strong as a Spanish fighter bull with broad shoulders and legs that resembled a tree trunk. The sight of Trueman at full tilt is one of the most enduring and magnificent images of cricket. He had a longish, angular run-up, from which he bounded, jet-black hair flapping, that culminated in one of the most rhythmic and explosive actions. The combination of physical and verbal intimidation made up a deadly alchemy for the batsmen and with Brian Statham he formed one of the deadliest fast bowling partnerships in Test history.
Trueman’s precocious talents were evident on his Test debut in 1952 when he reduce India to zero for four — Trueman scalping three. At Old Trafford, in the same series, India were dismissed for 58 and 82 inside a day. Trueman took eight for 31 in 8.4 overs in the first innings. He finished with 29 wickets from four Tests in that series at a frugal average of 13.31.
Even the best of batsmen found Trueman really hot on his day. At Headingly against Australia in 1961, he bowled cutters to take five for nought in 24 balls and finished the match with of 11 for 88.
Nine of his 17 five-for hauls came at under 50 runs apiece. His speed, accuracy and movement were so devastating that 103 of his 307 dismissals were bowled.
Trueman was a master of psychological warfare. He was notorious for getting into the opponent’s dressing room before the game and telling batsmen how he planned to get them!
Trueman was a glutton for hard work. His First-Class career spanned two full decades in which he took 2304 wickets at a measly average of 18.29 and an economy rate of 2.53. Unlike most fast bowlers, he fielded close in and was quite accomplished manning the leg trap.
As fine raconteur and a man who believed in calling a spade a bloody shovel, he made a mark as newspaper columnist and a BBC Test Match Special commentator. He was also a much sought-after after dinner speakers.