Chris Wilkins, the original pinch-hitter, dies aged 74

Chris Wilkins, former provincial and South African county hitter, died at the age of 74. Cricket South Africa announced the death of Wilkins "with shock and sadness" on Tuesday morning.

An aggressive opening hitter who could also, at medium pace, Wilkins represented Border, Eastern Province and Natal in a career spanning almost 20 years. Wilkins settled in KwaZulu-Natal after his retirement, becoming a farmer in the Harding district. He had been in deteriorating health for some time.

During his playing days, Wilkins also had a period with Derbyshire in the County Championship, and in all he scored 10,966 first-class races, including 18 centuries, and took 142 wickets. He was also an excellent fielder, often keeping wicket when he was not playing bowling, or standing on the slide.

However, he was a limited cricketer which made his biggest impact during his time with the Eastern Province. His ability to hit the player faster on mid-on and mid-off made him a feared competitor.

In an interview with The Cricket Monthly in 2017, the legendary South African fast bowler Garth Le Roux made a special mention of Wilkins & # 39; positively modern approach to batting.

"One or two hitters hit me in the head for six," he said. "Viv Richards did it once or twice, but the player who tried it most often was Chris Wilkins, he was particularly good at that, he moved directly on his stumps and hit directly, which also gave him more time to engage and" [19659002] On Twitter, former South African spinner Pat Symcox commented: "It is sad to know of the passing of possibly one of the most attacked hitters in South Africa, opening the nightmare of the bowler Chris Wilkins was a legend."

Wilkins transferred his skills as a kicker to the first cricket, forming a formidable opening society for Eastern Province with Simon Bezuidenhout. On one occasion, Wilkins scored a century in just over an hour and the pair managed to secure an extra batting point before the lunch break. With the Currie Cup bonus points allocated to surpass the established team totals, this would have meant that the pair must have scored at least 175.

"On behalf of the CSA Family, I express our deepest condolences to your family , his friends and his many cricket colleagues, "said CSA CEO Thabang Moroe.


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