Arthur Gilligan bigraphy, stories - English cricketer

Arthur Gilligan : biography

23 December 1894 - 5 September 1976

Arthur Edward Robert Gilligan (23 December 1894 – 5 September 1976) was an English cricketer who captained the England cricket team in 1924 and 1925. In first-class cricket, he played as an amateur, mainly for Cambridge University and Sussex, and captained the latter team between 1922 and 1929. He captained England on nine occasions, winning four matches, losing four and drawing one. A fast bowler and hard-hitting lower order batsman, Gilligan completed the double in 1923 and was one of Wisden's Cricketers of the Year for 1924. When his playing career ended, he held several important positions in cricket, including that of England selector and president of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC). A popular figure within cricket, he was regarded as sporting and friendly.

Gilligan played cricket for Dulwich College before the First World War, then for Cambridge, twice winning his blue. After briefly playing county cricket for Surrey, he moved to Sussex in 1920. Following a slow start to his county career, he rapidly improved and was appointed Sussex captain. He played for England on an overseas tour, and in partnership with Maurice Tate established a formidable bowling reputation. Appointed captain of England in 1924, Gilligan was at the height of his form when he suffered a blow to his heart while batting that year. The strain affected his bowling, which was never as effective afterwards, but he still captained England in Australia during the 1924–25 season. The series was lost, but both he and his team were popular and respected. In following years he played less frequently; he resigned as Sussex captain in 1929 and retired three years later. He subsequently became a writer, journalist and respected cricket commentator while maintaining his connections with Sussex.

During his playing days, Gilligan was a member of the British Fascists. He came to the notice of the Australian secret service during the 1924–25 MCC tour, and it is possible he helped to establish small fascist groups in Australia. It is unknown how long he remained a member, but the organisation practically ceased to exist by 1926. As a captain, Gilligan was well-liked by players and commentators, although many did not believe he was an effective tactician. Nevertheless, under his leadership, Sussex became an attractive, competitive team. He encouraged the search for young talent, and the players consequently discovered became the backbone of the club into the 1930s. As a fielder, he inspired his teams to become good fielding sides. In addition, as MCC captain of a team which toured India in 1926–27, he encouraged Indians to take responsibility for their own cricket board instead of allowing white Englishmen to run Indian cricket, and lobbied the MCC to bestow Test match status on the Indian team. As MCC president, he played a part in the D'Oliveira affair in 1968. He died in 1976, aged 81.


Early life

Gilligan was born in Denmark Hill, an area of Camberwell in London. He was the second of three sons, all of whom played first-class cricket, to Willie Austin Gilligan and Alice Eliza Kimpton. The family had a strong connection with Sussex; Gilligan followed Sussex County Cricket Club as a child, and later played club cricket there. After attending Fairfield School, he joined Dulwich College in 1906 and remained there until 1914. He established a sporting reputation in athletics and cricket. In the latter sport, he played in the school first eleven, as did his brothers; in 1913, all three boys played in the team. Gilligan played in the eleven between 1911 and 1914 and captained the side in his final two years. In 1914, he came top of the school batting and bowling averages. Selected to play representative schools cricket at Lord's Cricket Ground in 1914, he took ten wickets in total and scored one fifty in the two matches. By the standards of school cricket, his pace was impressive, and Surrey invited him to play for their second eleven during the school holidays of 1913 and 1914; his father was a member of that county's committee, and Gilligan qualified to play through his London birth.Lee, p. 147.

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