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Leading wicket taker for Glamorgan Don Shepherd passes away at 90

Shepherd claimed over 2200 in 22 year career

Don Shepherd
Don Shepherd bowling for Glamorgan. (Photo by Patrick Eagar/Popperfoto/Getty Images)

Don Shepherd, all time leading wicket-taker of Glamorgan, recently passed away at the age of 90 years. In his cricketing career spanning over 22 years, he has claimed as many as 2174 wickets with the county of Wales. His tally of 2218 First Class wickets is the highest achieved by an England-qualified player never to play Test cricket.

In 1970, Shepherd was one of Wisden’s five cricketers of the year. He was highly respected as a bowler in the First Class circuit since he made his debut for Glamorgan in 1950, until the time he retired from cricket in 1972. He also acquired the feat of claiming over 100 wickets in a season for as many as 12 occasions. He held an average of only 21.32 throughout his career.

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“It never worried me [not playing for England]. I played for MCC against the West Indians at Lord’s in 1957, and I played for a Commonwealth team under Australian captain Richie Benaud. If I’d been an Australian, he told me I would have played quite a lot of times,” said Don Shepherd in his last interview he had with BBC Wales Sport.

“But there were so many terrific off-spinners around towards the end – Fred Titmus, David Allen, John Mortimore, Ray Illingworth – and they could bat, while I was a bit of a slogger. I was happy enough doing what I did and what happened to me through my life,” further added Shepherd.

Story of Shepherd

Don Shepherd was a unique bowler who started out as a medium pace bowler but later switched to spin in the mid-1950s. He was effective in his move as he claimed 10-85 in the last game of the 1955 season against Warwickshire. His off-cutters were delivered at a quicker pace than usual, and he used to ask his wicketkeepers to stand back from the stumps to compensate for the speed.

That he did not play for England was a measure of the quality of his contemporaries – particularly Fred Titmus, Derek Underwood and Ray Illingworth. Shortly before his death as he celebrated turning 90, Shepherd shared the memories of his career with BBC Wales Sport.

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