Bill O’Reilly

Country: Australia
Born: December 20, 1905, White Cliffs, New South Wales
Batting Style: Left hand Bat
Bowling Style: Legbreak Googly
Died: October 06, 1992, Sutherland, Sydney, New South Wales, (aged 86y 291d)

Bill O’Reilly Bio

William Joseph O’Reilly, widely known as Bill “Tiger” O’Reilly, was one of the greatest spin bowlers to have played the game of cricket. Born on December 20, 1905, in White Cliffs, Australia, O’Reilly displayed his sporting talent from a young age, excelling in sports such as tennis, athletics, and rugby. However, it was cricket that truly captured his heart and led him towards a remarkable career that would shape the history of the sport.

Despite his humble beginnings, playing with makeshift equipment and against his older brothers, O’Reilly’s exceptional bowling skills did not go unnoticed. In 1925, during a chance encounter at Bowral Station, he was called upon to play for Wingello and found himself facing the legendary Don Bradman. In a thrilling match, O’Reilly dismissed Bradman on the very first ball he bowled, sparking his passion for cricket and igniting his desire to become the best.

O’Reilly’s journey in professional cricket began in 1926 when he made his first-class debut for North Sydney. However, his teaching career led to frequent transfers in different towns, hindering his progress as a cricketer. Despite these challenges, O’Reilly’s determination never wavered, and in the 1931-32 season, after returning to Sydney, he finally made his Test debut for Australia.

It was during the infamous Bodyline series in 1932-33 that O’Reilly truly established himself as a force to be reckoned with. With his leg-breaks, top-spinners, and googlies, he managed to take 27 wickets, earning him acclaim for his skillful variations in flight and pace. O’Reilly continued to amaze the cricketing world with his impressive performances, both at home and on tours to England and South Africa.

Throughout his career, O’Reilly’s exceptional bowling statistics were testimony to his prowess as a spinner. In his 27 Test matches, he took a total of 144 wickets, with an average of 22.59. Notably, his figures must be contextualized by the fact that most of his Tests were played in the 1930s, when batsmen dominated the game to an unprecedented extent. Despite this, O’Reilly consistently outperformed his contemporaries, even in challenging conditions.

Off the field, O’Reilly’s gruff exterior masked a keen intellect, erudition, and a sharp wit. After retiring from cricket, he embarked on a successful career as a sports writer for the Sydney Morning Herald, where his engaging prose style and passionate analysis endeared him to readers and fellow cricket enthusiasts alike.

In later years, O’Reilly faced various health challenges, including the loss of a leg, but his resilience and enduring marriage to Molly, which lasted 59 years, sustained him. He remained a beloved figure in the cricketing world until his passing in 1992 at the age of 86.

Bill “Tiger” O’Reilly’s legacy as a spinner remains unparalleled. His influence on the game, both as a player and writer, is immeasurable. Renowned for his fiery temperament and formidable skills, O’Reilly’s name will forever be engraved in the annals of cricket history. As his long-time rival and teammate Don Bradman once remarked, he was the greatest bowler he had ever faced or watched.

Bill O’Reilly Career Stats

Bill O’Reilly Batting Stats

Batting Matches Innings Nos Runs High Score Ave BF SR 100s 50s 4s 6s Ct St
Tests 27 39 7 410 56* 12.81 - - 0 1 - 11 7 0
T20Is - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
ODIs - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
FC 135 167 41 1655 56* 13.13 - - 0 1 - - 65 0
List A - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
T20s - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Bill O’Reilly Bowling Stats

Bowling Matches Innings Balls Runs Wkts BBI BBM Ave Econ SR 4w 5w 10w
Tests 27 48 10024 3254 144 7/54 11/129 22.59 1.94 69.6 8 11 3
T20Is - - - - - - - - - - - - -
ODIs - - - - - - - - - - - - -
FC 135 - 37064 12850 774 9/38 - 16.6 2.08 47.8 - 63 17
List A - - - - - - - - - - - - -
T20s - - - - - - - - - - - - -

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