David Steele (cricketer)

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David Steele
Personal information
Full nameDavid Stanley Steele
Born (1941-09-29) 29 September 1941 (age 79)
Bradeley, Stoke-on-Trent, England
Bowling Slow left-arm orthodox
International information
National side
Test debut(cap  462)31 July 1975 v  Australia
Last Test17 August 1976 v  West Indies
Only ODI(cap  36)26 August 1976 v  West Indies
Domestic team information
1963–1978 Northamptonshire
1979–1981 Derbyshire
Career statistics
Competition Test ODI FC LA
Runs scored673822,3464,381
Batting average 42.068.0032.4723.05
Top score1068140* 109
Balls bowled88636,6933,323
Wickets 2062381
Bowling average 19.5024.8928.27
5 wickets in innings 0260
10 wickets in match030
Best bowling1/18/294/21
Catches/stumpings 7/–0/–546/–91/–
Source: ESPNcricinfo, 19 July 2013

David Stanley Steele (born 29 September 1941) [1] is an English former international cricketer. Tony Greig picked him for England in 1975 when he was close to retirement from county cricket for Northamptonshire.


Steele, who was born in Bradeley, Stoke-on-Trent, was a middle-order batsman. In his eight Test matches, he played against fast bowlers including Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson for Australia; and Andy Roberts, Michael Holding, Wayne Daniel and Vanburn Holder for the West Indies. His arrival followed a period of great difficulty for the national team mired in a difficult 1975 Ashes series. It led to the phrase, coined by Clive Taylor of The Sun, that he was like a "bank clerk who went to war". [2] [3]

He was appointed as county captain of Derbyshire in 1979 but resigned after six weeks. He played for the club from 1979 to 1981.

Life and career

Making his debut against Australia at Lord's in 1975, Steele got lost in the pavilion as he went out to bat. He went down one too many flights of stairs and found himself in the basement toilets. [1] Once he did arrive at the crease, fast bowler Jeff Thomson gave him a typically Australian welcome. Eyeing Steele's prematurely greying hair at 33, Thomson asked: "Bloody hell, who've we got here, Groucho Marx?" [4]

That summer, however, Steele scored 50, 45, 73, 92, 39 and 66 against the Australians in his trademark staunch, courageous and steady manner. When presenting Steele his cap in the dressing room before his debut, captain Tony Greig felt tears fall on his hand and considered that "Here was a man who would fight for me to the death". [5] His ability to stand up to hostile fast bowling, which other batsmen had struggled to cope with, and attack with the hook shot, raised morale among his teammates and spectators alike.

In the following year, he commenced against the even more fearsome fast bowling attack of the West Indies by scoring a century at Trent Bridge. Oddly, he was overlooked for that winter's tour to India based on the theory that he could not play spin bowlers. He duly returned to county cricket and finished his career back at Northampton in 1984 having scored over 22,000 runs, of which 673 came in Tests. [1]

Steele was voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 1975, and was named as one of the Wisden Cricketers of the Year in 1976.

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  1. 1 2 3 Bateman, Colin (1993). If The Cap Fits. Tony Williams Publications. p. 155. ISBN   1-869833-21-X.
  2. "Player Profile: David Steele". CricInfo. Retrieved 18 April 2010.
  3. "The long-fingered Mr Gibbs". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 3 October 2018.
  4. Stephen Fay (8 August 1999). "Cricket: The art of talking a good game - Sport". The Independent. Retrieved 8 August 2014.
  5. Plomley, Roy (22 May 1976). "Tony Greig 'I really thought I was a star then!'". Desert Island Discs . BBC Radio 4 . Retrieved 27 September 2015. (at 15:00)
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Eddie Barlow
Derbyshire cricket captain
Succeeded by
Geoff Miller
Preceded by
Brendan Foster
BBC Sports Personality of the Year
Succeeded by
John Curry