SA cricketer John Watkins, Passes Away
John Watkins, a seam-bowling allrounder for South Africa, died in Durban at the age of 98. At the time of his death, he was the oldest living male cricketer. Covid-19 virus knocked out the all-rounder ten days ago. Watkins, who made his Test debut against Australia in Johannesburg in 1949, was known for his superb control, as seen by his 1.74 economy rate.
In 15 Tests, he took 15 scalps and scored 612 runs. In the 1952-53 season in Australia, he scored 408 runs and took 16 wickets, which was the pinnacle of his Test career.
Two fifties in the MCG Test
Watkins, who was noted for his stroke play, hit two fifties in the MCG Test of that series, leading the tourists to a four-wicket victory. The series ended in a 2-2 tie, and it was the first time Australia had lost a Test series to South Africa.
Watkins’ finest Test haul of 4 for 22 came against New Zealand in Wellington in 1952-53, when he ripped through the middle and lower order to help his team win by an innings. In the 1956-57 season, Watkins played his final Test match against England.
Watkins grew up in Durban, Natal, where he was born and raised. He was born with modest hip and lower back abnormalities, which required five procedures after he stopped from cricket. He served in the Second World War in Italy after graduating from Glenwood High School, initially as a training Spitfire pilot until his colorblindness was revealed, at which point he was transferred to air traffic control.
He was a secretary-accountant at the time. In 1952–53, he was the last surviving member of the band that toured Australasia. Watkins became the oldest living Test cricketer after Lindsay Tuckett died on September 5, 2016.