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Monday, December 24, 2018

Ken Barrington, extract from Paul Rance's England's 50 Greatest Cricketers

29. KEN BARRINGTON 
Surrey
RHB, RLS

Ken Barrington's Test average of 58.67 in 82 Tests underlined his importance to the England side of the 1950s and 1960s. Ken was probably at his peak in the mid-1960s, and this period included his Testbest score of 256 (also his best score in his firstclass career) against Australia at Old Trafford in 1964. That is still the highest innings for England against Australia since Len Hutton's 364. Barrington scored 6,806 Test runs, and reached the century mark for England 20 times. 

A major reason for Surrey's dominance in the 1950s, Ken Barrington was a big match player. He averaged just under 40 in the County Championship, but nearly 64 in Tests against Australia. He made his Test debut in 1955 against South Africa, but like many great players he failed to trouble the scorers in his first Test innings. 

Ken scored 76 first-class hundreds, and scored 31,714 runs in his first-class career. His outstanding Test average helped to boost his overall first-class batting average to 45.63. A useful bowler, Barrington took 5 wickets in an innings 8 times, with a best of 7-40, and a remarkable best of 3-4 in Tests. 

A heart attack in 1968 ended Barrington's career prematurely. In 1981, when England's assistant tour manager, Ken Barrington died aged only 50 following another heart attack. England's outstanding young players of the time respected him, and Graham Gooch described Ken as a mentor to him, David Gower, Ian Botham and Mike Gatting. That Barrington is seemingly not so revered as other batsmen of his generation, such as May, Cowdrey and Tom Graveney, is perhaps because of a reputation for slow scoring. That, though, seems to be a contradiction of the facts. He hit the quickest Test hundred of 1966, and also had another reputation - of reaching a Test hundred with a six. Of retired players who scored 6,000 Test runs or more, only Don Bradman has a better average than Barrington's.