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~~Legend of Kent~~ Luckhurst passes away

Published: Wednesday, March 2, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
 
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London:Former England batsman Brian Luckhurst, aged 66, whose two centuries helped his country win the Ashes in 1970-71 has died from cancer.

His death was the third among the international cricket fraternity in the space of 24 hours following those of former West Indies batsman Allan Rae and ex-New Zealand wicketkeeper Ian Colquhoun.

Luckhurst played 21 Tests with his finest moments coming on his maiden tour, the 1970-71 trip to Australia, hitting his two hundreds as England ran out 2-0 winners.

Luckhurst was a legend at Kent, for whom he played from 1958 to 1976 and he assumed the presidency of the County last year around the same time he was diagnosed with cancer.

"Brian was loved, admired and respected by everyone at the club," said Kent chairman Carl Openshaw.

"Brian Luckhurst has been at the heart of Kent cricket for the past 50 years, firstly as an outstanding player, then in a variety of administrative capacities and finally as an immensely popular president.

"Throughout that time, he was always caring, loyal and totally committed to Kent," added Openshaw.

Luckhurst joined Kent aged 15 and during his first-class career made more than 22,000 first-class runs at an average of 38, including 48 centuries.

He was a member of the Kent team which dominated County cricket in the 1970s when they won nine trophies outright and also shared the County Championship in 1977.

Luckhurst was reasonably old, 31, when his chance to play for England came along in a home series against a Rest of the World XI in 1970.

He was named in the Ashes squad the following winter and marked his official Test debut, as Geoff Boycott's opening partner, by scoring 74 in the first innings of a draw against Australia in Brisbane.

The following game in Perth saw him bat for almost six hours to score 131 and he also made 109 in the fifth Test at Melbourne.

Luckhurst made an unbeaten 108 in his first Test on English soil against Pakistan and added another century against India later in the 1971 season.

He lost his place after the 1974-75 tour to Australia when the pace and ferocity of Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson proved too much for England, who lost 4-1.

In 1985, he made an unexpected return to action when Kent suddenly found themselves with only 10 players against the touring Australians.

He was typically frank when he was told the bad news last year that he was seriously ill.

"Over the last 50 years I have faced many challenges - this is going to be the biggest.".

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