An extraordinary career that spanned 27 years. From Walter Hadlee’s New Zealand’s famous tour to England in 1949 through to that great West Indian team of 1976.
To put the 27 year career thing into context, the New Zealander who made his debut at a similar age was Daniel Vettori.
For him to match Close’s longevity he would still be playing test cricket in 2024 (that is nine years away). Brendon McCullum would have to play test cricket in 2030. Martin Crowe would still have been playing test cricket after Fleming retired.
John R Reid, another teenage who debuted in that 1949 series, and had a very long career, retired more than a full decade before what Close endured against the Wet Indies.
For those of us too young to remember the 1949 tourists, there is always Whispering Death in 1976.
In his seven Tests as England captain, Close won six and drew the other. When you think about it, that is quite some record.
A team with a grudge to settle. Remember he was 45 when having to face this bowling; with no helmet.
His final first class game was in 1985. He wore some pretty cool pullovers too.
He was also a scratch golfer off either hand, and played football for Bradford City, Dirty Leads and the Gooners.
But the best line went to Eric Morecambe of all people:
“You know the cricket season has begun when you hear the sound of leather on Brian Close.”