Geoffrey Boycott scores painfully-slow double hundred and gets dropped from the team

How often do we see a player hit a double ton and yet get dropped from the playing XI for the next match? Legendary England batsman-turned-commentator Geoffrey Boycott is a classic example of this cruelty. The former England-batting great had an appetite for scoring huge runs and occupying the crease for long. Known for his single-minded stonewalling and idiosyncrasies, the batsman got majority of his runs at an excruciatingly slow pace. For all these reasons, he was often described as a loner and an overly defensive selfish player. The incident which we are mentioning below underlines his reputation as all the above.

It was the first Test of 1967 series between hosts England and India at Leeds. Winning the toss, England decided to bat first. Boycott played out the entire day and remained unbeaten on 106. He did pick some pace on the second day and added another 140, as the Indian bowlers failed to get past his defence. Even though his 246 not out helped post his side a winning total of 4 for 550 declared in the first innings, the manner in which he accumulated them came under heavy criticism from all quarters.

He took 555 balls and 573 minutes to get to his highest Test score, which was unacceptable even by the standards of Test cricket. Importantly, his critics argued that the Indian team had two casualties in bowling department, Rusi Surti and Bishen Singh Bedi. In these circumstances, when the opposition was already short of two strike bowlers, Boycott’s slow effort against mediocre bowling was shameful. Even as England went on to complete an easy win by six wickets, Boycott faced the ire.

He was not asked to bat in the second innings and was later dropped from the England side for the second Test. It was a big blow to the side as well as a player of Boycott’s stature, who pledged to return back. He was picked again for the third Test, where he scored 59-ball 25 and 5-ball 6 in the first and the second innings respectively. Later, on the winter tour of Caribbean, Boycott found his mojo back in the perfect playing conditions as there was no English media to hound him.