With his cricket cap cocked in trademark jaunty style, batsman Cyril Washbrook was an absolute favourite of Lancashire and England sports fans in the 1940s and 1950s.
During his long career, he was most famous for opening the batting for England with Len Hutton on no less than 51 occasions.
Washbrook played 592 first-class cricket matches of which 37 were Tests. He was in the England team from August 1937 to August 1956, scoring 2,569 runs for his country.
He represented Lancashire from 1933 to 1959, finally retiring from playing at the age of 44.
Born in Clitheroe, Lancashire, in December 1914, Washbrook joined Lancashire County Cricket Club at the age of 18.
Two years later he scored 1,724 runs during the season and came fifth in the national batting averages.
Selection for England followed in August 1937 when Washbrook made his debut against New Zealand at the Oval. It was not plain sailing for the right-handed batsman as he only scored innings of nine and eight not out.
Washbrook became an RAF physical training instructor during the Second World War, but was back in action for England against Australia in the 1946-47 Ashes series.
Opening the batting with Hutton, he made three consecutive century stands.
It was little surprise that he was named one of Wisden’s Cricketers of the Year in 1947.
Washbrook rewrote the record books during the 1948-9 tour of South Africa. He made his highest Test score of 195 in Johannesburg, sharing in a 395-run first-wicket partnership with Hutton. It still remains England’s highest ever first-wicket score.
After piling on the runs for Lancashire and his country during the 1950s, Washbrook was appointed an England selector in 1956. He was 41.
What he didn’t bargain for was being called back into the Test team by his fellow selectors after England went 1-0 down in the Ashes series against Australia.
He played in the Third Test in Headingley, scoring 98 in a stand of 187 with Peter May after England were on the ropes at 17 for three.
England won the match and Washbrook kept his place for the Fourth Test at Old Trafford. England were triumphant again thanks to spin-bowler Jim Laker’s legendary 19-wicket haul.
Washbrook played his last Test innings at The Oval with England 2-1 up in the series. He scored a duck, but England won the Ashes as the match was drawn.
Washbrook became Lancashire’s first professional captain in 1954. He was an accomplished fielder in addition to being opening batsman and an occasional medium-pace bowler.
His strength as a batsman was said to be on the leg side. He was especially noted for his hook shots and pulls.
Washbrook was extremely popular with the Lancashire faithful, captaining the side until 1959.
He served as president of Lancashire from 1989 to 1990 and was awarded a CBE in the 1991 Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Cyril Washbrook died in Sale in April 1999. He was 84 years old.