One of the great English batsmen and captain of Surrey hailed for his gritty concentration
The cricketer John Edrich, who has died aged 83 after suffering from leukaemia, was one of the best English top order batsmen of the 20th century. Short, stocky, bushy-eyebrowed and brave, he played 77 times for his country between 1963 and 1976, and had an especially good record against the two best sides of his era – Australia and West Indies. In 1970-71, his superb batting performances were one of the key reasons that England managed to win the Ashes in Australia for the first time since 1956, and with Geoffrey Boycott in the late 1960s and early 70s he created a formidable opening partnership that provided many good platforms in Test matches. His best score, 310 not out against New Zealand, is the fifth highest for England in Tests.
In county cricket, Edrich was a leading figure for Surrey, whom he captained in his later days and with whom, from 1958 to 1978, he accumulated most of his 39,790 career runs, one of the highest tallies in history and at an impressive average of 45.47. By the end of his career, he had also become one of the rare breed of cricketers to have scored 100 hundreds (103 in all), putting him in the company of greats such as WG Grace, Jack Hobbs and Wally Hammond.