World's oldest Test cricketer succumbs to coronavirus at 98

12:10 PM | 7 Sep, 2021
World's oldest Test cricketer succumbs to coronavirus at 98

CAPE TOWN – Former Proteas allrounder John Watkins breathed his last after being infected with Covid-19 ten days ago, Cricket South Africa announced Monday, adding that the 98-year-old was the oldest Test player alive.

The middle-order batter and medium-pacer made his Test debut in 1949 after World War II and ended up playing in 15 Tests before finishing up in 1957 with 612 runs, including three half-centuries, and 29 wickets at an average of 28.13.

Reports in international media quoting sources said the deceased was also known for his slip fielding and the high point of his career was the Australia tour in 1952-53, in which he scored 679 runs at 28.29 and took 31 wickets at 27.74, of which 408 runs and 16 wickets came in the Tests.

John had a distinguished career for and played 60 first-class matches overall from 1946-47 to 1957-58, for 2158 runs at 24.80 and 96 wickets.

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The death of the elderly cricketer leaves fellow South African player Ron Draper, 95, as the oldest surviving Test player.

Before starting his cricket career, he trained as a Spitfire pilot with the South African Air Force during World War II before being consigned to air traffic control in wake of the colour blindness.