Martin Donnelly

Country: New Zealand
Born: October 17, 1917, Ngaruawahia, Waikato
Batting Style: Left hand Bat
Bowling Style: Slow Left arm Orthodox
Died: October 22, 1999, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, (aged 82y 5d)

Martin Donnelly Bio

Martin Paterson Donnelly was a New Zealand cricket player who left a lasting impact on the sport, despite his relatively short career. Born in 1917 in Waikato, Donnelly quickly showcased his sporting talent, even though he was not particularly tall in stature. He was known to his teammates as “Squib” due to his size.

Donnelly’s cricket journey began in 1933 when he received a letter from the legendary Don Bradman, encouraging him to take his place among the country’s champions. Impressed by his style and outstanding outfielding abilities, the selectors picked him for the 1937 tour of England after just one first-class match for Wellington. Although he experienced a couple of ducks in the lead-up to his Test debut at Lord’s, he showed promise by helping save the game with an unconventional performance, which included skillful hooking.

As the series progressed, Donnelly’s qualities as a left-handed batsman came to the forefront. Despite New Zealand’s struggling cricketing status at the time, he stood alone during their defeat at Old Trafford and scored a quick-fire fifty in just an hour at The Oval. His impressive batting style and composed demeanor earned admiration and praise from influential figures in the cricket fraternity, such as C.B. Fry. In fact, Fry regarded Donnelly as one of the finest left-handed batsmen he had ever witnessed.

However, Donnelly’s cricketing opportunities in his home country were limited, and he volunteered for military service during World War II. He distinguished himself in Egypt as a tank commander and entertained crowds with his cricketing skills at the Gezira Sporting Club in Cairo. During this time, he acquired a multicolored cap, which became his lucky mascot.

After the war, Donnelly played exhibition matches in England, captivating spectators with his magnificent hundreds at Edgbaston and Scarborough in 1945. He reached the pinnacle of his career during the “perfect game” at Lord’s, where he scored an unforgettable double-century of 206 runs against England, cementing his status as one of New Zealand’s greatest sporting heroes.

Donnelly’s pursuits extended beyond cricket, as he enrolled at Oxford University to study history in 1946. His graceful batting style and exceptional performances on the cricket field made him a favorite among the students at Oxford. In 1947, he captained the university cricket team, averaging an impressive 67. He also played rugby for the all-conquering Oxford team and made an appearance as a center for the England national team.

Upon completing his studies, Donnelly joined Courtaulds, a textile company, but managed to continue his cricket career by playing for Warwickshire. In 1949, he embarked on a tour of New Zealand with the national team, alongside fellow left-hander Bert Sutcliffe. The tour showcased New Zealand’s growing prominence in international cricket and ended in drawing all four games against England. Donnelly’s standout performance was at Lord’s, where he scored his historic double-century.

In 1950, Donnelly retired from cricket and got married. His subsequent cricketing endeavors were limited, and he eventually moved to Sydney to work as the sales and marketing manager of Courtaulds Australia. While he played sporadically, including a first-class match in 1961, his passion shifted to fly-fishing.

Although his career was short-lived, Donnelly’s impact on cricket was enduring. His batting style, confident demeanor, and undeniable talent established him as a beloved figure in New Zealand cricket history. Despite the limited opportunities and the circumstances of the era, Donnelly’s contributions to the sport will always be remembered, as he remains a respected and cherished sporting icon in New Zealand.

Martin Donnelly Career Stats

Martin Donnelly Batting Stats

Batting Matches Innings Nos Runs High Score Ave BF SR 100s 50s 4s 6s Ct St
Tests 7 12 1 582 206 52.9 - - 1 4 - 1 7 0
T20Is - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
ODIs - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
FC 131 221 26 9250 208* 47.43 - - 23 46 - - 76 0
List A - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
T20s - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Martin Donnelly Bowling Stats

Bowling Matches Innings Balls Runs Wkts BBI BBM Ave Econ SR 4w 5w 10w
Tests 7 1 30 20 0 - - - 4 - 0 0 0
T20Is - - - - - - - - - - - - -
ODIs - - - - - - - - - - - - -
FC 131 - 3484 1683 43 4/32 - 39.13 2.89 81 - 0 0
List A - - - - - - - - - - - - -
T20s - - - - - - - - - - - - -

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