Keith Fletcher

Last updated

Keith Fletcher
Personal information
Full nameKeith William Robert Fletcher
Born (1944-05-20) 20 May 1944 (age 76)
Worcester, Worcestershire, England
BowlingLeg break
Career statistics
Competition Tests ODIs
Runs scored3,272757
Batting average 39.9039.84
Top score216131
Balls bowled285
Wickets 2
Bowling average 96.50
5 wickets in innings 0
10 wickets in match0
Best bowling1/6
Catches/stumpings 54/–4/–
Source: CricInfo, 21 February 1982

Keith William Robert Fletcher OBE (born 20 May 1944 [1] ) is an English former first-class cricketer who played for Essex and England. He later became England's team manager. His nickname was "The Gnome of Essex", so christened by his Essex teammate, Ray East, because Fletcher's winklepickers had begun to curl up at the toes due to wear. [1] [2]


Cricket writer Colin Bateman noted that "Fletcher was a tough cookie, a shrewd man who could bluff opponents like the most disarming of poker players. He evoked loyalty in his teammates and admiration from his opponents, even when they were beaten by the sucker punch". Bateman added "the sacking of Fletcher as England captain remains one of English cricket's shabbiest sagas". [1]

Fletcher played 59 Test matches and 24 One Day Internationals. His Test tally of 3,272 runs came at an average of 39.90. [1]

Life and career

Keith started playing for his village side while living with his parents in Caldecote, Cambridgeshire, before moving to Royston, Hertfordshire to play for the local cricket club's second team at the age of 13. It was not long before he moved up to play for the first team.

It was while playing for Royston that Fletcher hit his first-ever century, and he produced his finest bowling figures, taking 9–20 on his first-team debut.

His county cricket career at Essex began at the age of 17. [1] He toured Pakistan with the MCC Under-25 side in 1966–67, and made his England Test debut in 1968 at Headingley against Australia. A baptism of fire, he found hostility from the Yorkshire crowd who felt that Phil Sharpe should have been preferred, and Fletcher's experience was not helped by dropping regulation catches at slip. A first innings duck seemed to be the portent of his early introverted batting stints in the national team. [1]

However, Fletcher was a Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1974.

His debut century for England did not occur until Fletcher's 20th Test appearance. He went on to score six more centuries, at a rate of one every eight Tests. His cricketing nous was used by both Tony Lewis and Tony Greig when they led the national team, but the appointment of Mike Brearley to the role in 1977 appeared to indicate that Fletcher's further involvement would be limited. Following Brearley's retirement and Ian Botham's short tenure, Fletcher re-appeared after four years away from the national team to captain the side to India in 1981–82. The series did not go well, with negative tactics from both teams, and poor umpiring decisions, which saw Fletcher flick off the bails with his bat after being given out in the Second Test. [1] Worse was to follow for Fletcher when Geoffrey Boycott was sent home, and Fletcher's belated awareness that half of his touring party, led by his county teammate Graham Gooch, were preparing for a rebel tour to South Africa. Fletcher captaincy of England oversaw a 1–0 series defeat over six Tests against India, before a one-off Test against Sri Lanka. Fletcher took all the blame, despite turning down the chance to join the rebels himself because of his loyalty to the England cause. His was then ignominiously sacked by the chairman of selectors, Peter May. [1]

Fletcher also captained Essex successfully in two spells (1974–1985 and 1988). As Bateman noted, Fletcher "turned a county of cheerful losers into an even happier bunch as the most successful side in the country through the 1980s. [1] He was appointed an OBE in the 1985 New Year Honours.

From 1993 to 1995, Fletcher served as England team coach. During this period, the side played 26 Test matches, of which they lost 15 and won only five.

Later, Fletcher returned to Essex as first-team coach, stepping down in 2001, to be replaced by his former teammate Graham Gooch. He is currently the manager of the Essex U15s team.

Related Research Articles

Michael William Gatting is an English former cricketer, who played first-class cricket for Middlesex and for England from 1977 to 1995, captaining the national side in twenty-three Test matches between 1986 and 1988. He toured South Africa as captain of the rebel tour party in 1990.

Graham Gooch English cricketer

Graham Alan Gooch, is a former English first-class cricketer who captained Essex and England. He was one of the most successful international batsmen of his generation, and through a career spanning from 1973 until 2000, he became the most prolific run scorer of all time, with 67,057 runs across first-class and limited-overs games. His List A cricket tally of 22,211 runs is also a record. He is one of only twenty-five players to have scored over 100 first-class centuries.

Nasser Hussain English cricketer (born 1968)

Nasser Hussain is a British cricket commentator and former cricketer who captained the England cricket team between 1999 and 2003, with his overall international career extending from 1990 to 2004. A pugnacious right-handed batsman, Hussain scored over 30,000 runs from more than 650 matches across all first-class and List-A cricket, including 62 centuries. His highest Test score of 207, scored in the first Test of the 1997 Ashes at Edgbaston, was described by Wisden as "touched by genius". He played 96 Test matches and 88 One Day International games in total. In Tests he scored 5,764 runs, and he took 67 catches, fielding predominantly in the second slip and gully.

John Michael Brearley is a retired English first-class cricketer who captained Cambridge University, Middlesex, and England.

Alec Stewart English cricketer

Alec James Stewart is an English former cricketer, and former captain of the England cricket team, who played Test cricket and One Day Internationals as a right-handed wicket-keeper-batsman. He is the fourth-most-capped English cricketer ever in Test matches and third-most-capped in One Day Internationals (ODIs), having played in 133 Tests and 170 ODIs.

Donald Bryce Carr OBE was an English cricketer who played for Derbyshire from 1946 to 1967, for Oxford University from 1948 to 1951, and twice for England in 1951/52. He captained Derbyshire between 1955 and 1962, and scored over 10,000 runs for the county.

John Ernest Emburey is a former English first-class cricketer who played for Middlesex, Northamptonshire, Western Province, Berkshire and England.

Mike Denness

Michael Henry Denness was a Scottish cricketer who played for England, Scotland, Kent and Essex.

Essex County Cricket Club English cricket club

Essex County Cricket Club is one of eighteen first-class county clubs within the domestic cricket structure of England and Wales. It represents the historic county of Essex. Founded in 1876, the club had minor county status until 1894 when it was promoted to first-class status pending its entry into the County Championship in 1895, since then the team has played in every top-level domestic cricket competition in England. Essex currently play all their home games at the County Cricket Ground, Chelmsford. The club has formerly used other venues throughout the county including Lower Castle Park in Colchester, Valentines Park in Ilford, Leyton Cricket Ground, the Gidea Park Sports Ground in Romford, and Garon Park and Southchurch Park, both in Southend. Its limited overs team is called the Essex Eagles, whose team colours are all-blue.

Derek Pringle

Derek Raymond Pringle is an English former Test and One Day International cricketer for England, and is now a cricket journalist.

Alan Raymond Butcher is a former English cricketer who is part of a family known for its strong cricketing connections. Although only selected to play for England on one occasion, he was lauded for his skills in first-class cricket and was named a Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1991. He became Essex coach in 1993, and coached Surrey between 2005 and 2008. Cricket writer, Colin Bateman noted Butcher was, "a popular and accomplished left-handed opener, unlucky to be consigned to membership of the 'One Cap Club'... despite consistent county performances and an ability to tackle quick bowlers, Butcher was passed over".

Matthew Peter Maynard, is an English cricket coach and former cricketer. He played in four Tests and fourteen ODIs for England.

Micky Stewart

Michael James Stewart is an English former cricketer, coach and administrator. A right-handed batsman, Stewart's international career was hampered by illness that curtailed his first overseas tour – serving as vice-captain in India in 1963–64 – and he made only eight Test appearances in all, scoring two half-centuries. His domestic career for Surrey spanned eighteen years, in which he scored over 26,000 first-class runs with forty-nine centuries. He made a century on debut for his county, against Pakistan, and went on to break the then-world record number of catches in a match in 1957 with his strong fielding. He captained Surrey between 1963 and 1972, winning the County Championship in 1971. After retiring, he became a manager at the club and later for England until 1992. He then worked for the ECB until 1997.

Geoffrey Miller, is an English former cricketer, who played in 34 Test matches and 25 One Day Internationals for the England cricket team between 1976 and 1984. He played for Derbyshire from 1973 to 1986, captaining the side from 1979 to 1981, and returned in 1990 after playing for Essex between 1987 and 1989. He was an England selector from 2008 to 2013 and was appointed President of Derbyshire C.C.C. in March 2014.

Paul Rupert Downton is the current Director of Cricket at Kent County Cricket Club. He had previously been the managing director of the England and Wales Cricket Board between February 2014 and April 2015.

Edward Ernest Hemmings is a former English cricketer, who played in 16 Test matches and 33 One Day Internationals for the England cricket team between 1982 and 1991. He made his England debut relatively late in his career, at the age of 33, having predominantly represented Nottinghamshire in the County Championship. His chance came when several England players announced their intention to go on a rebel cricket tour to South Africa.

Neil Alan Foster is an English former professional cricketer, who played 29 Test matches and 48 One Day Internationals for England from 1983 to 1993. Domestically Foster played for Essex County Cricket Club from 1980 to 1993, earning his county cap in 1983. He was a fast bowler.

Wilfred Norris Slack was an English cricketer, who played in three Test matches and two One Day Internationals for England in 1986.

John Morris (cricketer, born 1964) English cricketer

John Morris is a former English cricketer, who played for England in three Tests and eight ODIs from 1990 to 1991. He played first-class cricket for Derbyshire from 1982 to 1993, for Durham from 1994 to 1999 and for Nottinghamshire in 2000 and 2001.

A team of English cricketers under 25 years of age, organised by Marylebone Cricket Club, toured Pakistan from early January to late February 1967 and played three four-day matches against a Pakistan under-25 team and four other first-class matches.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Bateman, Colin (1993). If The Cap Fits. Tony Williams Publications. pp.  68–69. ISBN   1-869833-21-X.
  2. Keith Fletcher.
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Mike Brearley
English national cricket captain
Succeeded by
Bob Willis
Preceded by
Brian Taylor
Graham Gooch
Essex cricket captain
Succeeded by
Graham Gooch
Graham Gooch