Len Hutton Biography
The boy from Pudsey took the cricket world by storm scoring 364 at The Oval, breaking the World Record for the highest individual innings in Test cricket. He was hailed as the greatest thing in cricket since Don Bradman. And then came the injury during the World War, which resulted in painful operations, bone grafts and ultimately a shortened left arm. However, the physical deformity, as well as the seven best years of his life taken away due to the madness and mayhem of Hitler, could not prevent him from becoming the greatest batsman of his time and arguably the best opener the world has seen after Jack Hobbs.
Hutton's batting was purity itself. Herbert Sutcliffe opined that he was the discovery of a generation, with as many shots as a Bradman or a Hammond, his technique is that of a maestro. Later he received a letter from an Aussie admirer drawing comparisons with Victor Trumper, and there is no greater compliment. In America, he was excused for having some magnificent ham in his baggage because he was 'The Babe Ruth of Cricket'. According to Alan Gibson, Hutton’s off-drive was the glory of the game. In the tradition of Hobbs and Sutcliffe he was also one of the best batsmen on bad wickets.
Hutton was the only Englishman to deal with the furious pace of Ray Lindwall and Keith Miller with success and counter the spin twins Sonny Ramadhin and Alf Valentine with equal mastery. During the post-War period, when a weakened England was still suffering from the effects of rationing and depleted cricketing riches, Hutton was the bulwark of batsmanship on which the side was rebuilt. And it was under his captaincy (after he became the first professional skipper of a full-strength England side) that the team started on its journey of becoming the best in the world. It was Hutton's strategy of furious pace that won them the Ashes in 1954-55, marking him as one of the canniest captains of the game as well as the world's best batsman since Bradman.
A soft spoken man with a quiet disposition, Hutton was said to have the passionate concentration of a scientist dissecting a beetle. According to Brian Statham, he was a master captain who filled every scrap of cricketing knowledge in his brain. His pleasant smile hid a steel within that made him stay on in the field as riots sparked in the stands of Georgetown. He wanted wickets and was not going off.
Hutton stands shoulder to shoulder with Sutcliffe and Hobbs as the greatest openers produced by England. Along with his great contemporary, Denis Compton, he defined English batsmanship of his era. And like Compton, he graced billboards as well, although preferring to endorse bat and pads rather than cigarettes and hair cream.
Hutton ended his career with 6,971 runs at 56.67 with 19 hundreds from 79 Tests.