Tom Graveney: Former England cricketer dies, aged 88

Tom Graveney
Graveney is one of only 25 players to have made more than a hundred hundreds

Former England cricketer Tom Graveney has died at the age of 88.

An elegant batsman, Graveney played 79 Tests for England, scoring 11 centuries and averaging 44.38.

He scored more than 47,793 first-class runs - including 122 hundreds - in a career that stretched from 1948 to 1972 and included spells at Gloucestershire, Worcestershire and Queensland.

Agnew remembers Tom Graveney

After retiring, he became a BBC commentator and served as the 200th president of the MCC in 2005.

He was the first former professional cricketer to be appointed to the post.

Graveney captained England once at the age of 41, deputising for Colin Cowdrey against Australia at Headingley in 1968.

His older brother Ken died recently at the age of 90. Both were former Gloucestershire captains.

'Synonymous with a golden era'

Tweet from Pat Murphy
BBC Sport's Pat Murphy paid tribute on Twitter

Graveney was Worcestershire president from 1994-98 and remained a regular visitor to New Road.

In a statement, the club said he had had Parkinson's disease for some time.

Worcestershire chief executive David Leatherdale said: "He was one of the stalwarts of our first two championship triumphs and will be hugely missed by everyone at Worcestershire CCC and by cricket as a whole."

Former England batsman Geoffrey Boycott said he fulfilled a childhood ambition by playing alongside Graveney.

"He was my boyhood hero and I ended up batting with him - first at Lord's in 1966. He got 96 and I got 60," he told BBC Radio 5 live.

"He was an aesthetic player as well, he was lovely on the eye because he played gorgeous cover drives. He made 120-odd first-class hundreds, so that shows he could play, he could seriously play."

Tom Graveney my boyhood idol - Geoffrey Boycott
Graveney, right, has a beer with Len Coldwell after returning from a world tour in 1965
Graveney (right) enjoys a drink with Len Coldwell after returning from a world tour in 1965

BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew said Graveney was "renowned as a great stylist" and later a "forthright pundit".

"I knew him as someone who loved cricket, someone who really loved talking about the game," said Agnew. "He would sit in the bar and just talk for hours about the modern game, and how he used to play.

"He had pretty strong opinions. He would talk a lot about some of the West Indian throwers he faced in his batting days and how he thoroughly disapproved of that, but he was a real gentleman.

"I think that's what he'll be remembered for as much as for the style that he brought to the crease."

Tweet from Jonathan Agnew

England and Wales Cricket Board chairman Colin Graves said: "I count myself privileged to have seen Tom Graveney bat. He was one of the game's great stylists; a batsman whose name became synonymous with elegance and whose perfectly executed cover drive will live long in the memory of those who saw it.

"He was also a true gentleman; someone who served our county game with distinction and who, later in life, gave back much to the game he so dearly loved by becoming MCC president."

Simon Hughes, BBC Sport's cricket analyst, said:external-link "Tom Graveney was a fantastic bloke, charming, self deprecating, always smiling. Tried to copy his gorgeous cover drive. Failed miserably."

Lancashire head coach Ashley Giles, a former England bowler, tweeted:external-link "Very sad to hear that the great Tom Graveney has died. Such a lovely man."

Lord's Ground
Tom Graveney, with Fred Trueman, Ted Dexter, Don Brennan and Fred Titmus
Tom Graveney (left) with Fred Trueman, Ted Dexter, Don Brennan and Fred Titmus