Fred Trueman, born on February 6, 1931, was the first man in the history of the game to take 300 Test wickets. He remains one of the greatest fast bowlers to have played for England. Nishad Pai Vaidya picks nine facts about the legendary fast bowler.
1. Jewish roots? There are a few accounts about Trueman’s Jewish heritage. It is said that he found out about it later in life and not when he was young. One account is that his mother was Jewish. The other stipulates that his grandmother was Jewish.
2. A heavy baby! There was a famous rumour that Trueman weighed over 14 pounds when he was born. He was the fourth among his parents’ seven children.
3. Young cricketing prospect: Trueman started cricket at a young age and was a fast bowler. He was only 14 when he first played club cricket and two years later, he was a part of the Sheffield United Cricket Club.
4. Lost time: As a young boy, Trueman could not play cricket for two seasons because the ball hit him in the groin and the injury took time to heal, The Guardian noted. Wisden mentions that he wasn’t wearing the abdominal guard and due to the injury, he also could not attend school for one year.
5. Called up for Test debut from duty: In 1952, Trueman was in a Royal Air Force (RAF) base when he was called up for a Test debut by England. Trueman faced India at Headingley and in the second innings, he went on to reduce them to zero for four.
6. Sledging the teammate: During a Test match, Raman Subba Row failed to hold on to a catch off Trueman in the slips. The ball went through Subba Row’s legs. At the end of the over, he is said to have told Trueman, “Sorry Fred, should have kept my legs together.” To which, Trueman replied, “Not you son, your mother should have.”
7. Sleeping in the car and then producing match winning figures: Before the Headingley Test against Australia in 1961, Trueman was going through a turbulent time in his personal life as his marriage was not working out. He spent the night in a car before the game and then ended up producing astonishing figures of 11 for 88.
8. The first man to 300 Test wickets: Trueman was the first man in the history of the game to take 300 Test wickets. Being the first man to the milestone, he was asked the obvious question about the possibility of someone else doing it. He famously said, “Aye, but whoever does will be bloody tired.” Years later, Test cricket’s leading wicket-taker stands tall with 800 wickets.
9. Celebrity connection: Trueman attained legendary status on the field of play to become a famous personality in the cricketing world. To bring a celebrity angle to his family, his daughter, Rebecca, married the son of actress Raquel Welch.
(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_45)