Arthur Mailey

Arthur Mailey bigraphy, stories - Australian cricketer

Arthur Mailey : biography

3 January 1886 – 31 December 1967

Arthur Alfred Mailey (3 January 1886 in Zetland, New South Wales – 31 December 1967 in Kirrawee, New South Wales) was an Australian cricketer who played in 21 Test matches between 1920 and 1926.

Mailey used leg-break and googly bowling, taking 99 Test wickets, including 36 in the 1920-21 Ashes series. In the second innings of the fourth Test at Melbourne, he took nine wickets for 121 runs, which is still the Test record for an Australian bowler.

In first-class cricket at Cheltenham during the 1921 tour, he took all ten Gloucestershire wickets for 66 runs in the second innings. His 1958 autobiography was accordingly titled Ten for 66 And All That.

He also holds the record for the most expensive bowling analysis in first-class cricket. Bowling for New South Wales at Melbourne in 1926-27 as Victoria scored the record first-class total of 1107, Mailey bowled 64 eight-ball overs, did not manage a maiden and took 4 for 362. He said that his figures would have been much better had not three sitters been dropped off his bowling — "two by a man in the pavilion wearing a bowler hat" and one by an unfortunate team-mate whom he consoled with the words "I’m expecting to take a wicket any day now."

Beginning his working life as a labourer, he became a talented writer and artist. Between 1920 and 1953, he published a number of booklets of cartoons of cricketers of his time.

"Someone dubbed him the man who bowled like a millionaire, and how true it was! Arthur’s objective was to take wickets, and the spending of runs in the process bothered him little. For a relatively small man Arthur had abnormally large hands, soft as silk to the touch, and he once told me he didn’t know what it was to have tired or sore fingers". Don BradmanSir Donald Bradman, introduction to E.W. Swanton, Swanton in Australia with MCC 1946-75, Fontana, 1977