Middlesex; home for some of England’s finest captains
Middlesex County Cricket Club was established in the year 1864  by a group of London based gentlemen in a tavern. Walker brothers of Southgate were instrumental in playing a pivotal role in forming the club. One of the brothers Edward Walker was President of Middlesex for 17 years. The club made its debut later that summer after its formation against Sussex at the Cattle Market Ground in Islington.

By 1871, the club faced many challenges. Financial difficulties emerged and a vote was taken whether to dissolve the club or not. Such lukewarm was the response from the members, only 13 of them turned up. The club survived narrowly with seven members voting for the continuation with six preferring a dissolution. It proved to be a wise decision as Middlesex has gone on to become a formidable force in cricket.

In the early days, Middlesex did not have a proper home ground and played at various venues. In 1877 the club reached an agreement with Marylebone Cricket Club and finally Lord’s became the home ground of Middlesex.

Surrey have produced some fine England batters. Yorkshire is the home for some of the finest fast bowlers while Middlesex has introduced some of the best thinkers of the game.

In the early days there was Pelham Warner who skippered the county to several silverwares and in the meantime was at the center of England’s dominance of the sport.

Many decades later came Mike Brearley, an astute captain of both the County and England. He was followed by other smart leaders like Mike Gatting and Andrew Strauss.

The number of County Championships won by Middlesex is 12.

Although Lord’s is Middlesex’s most popular home ground, the County uses other grounds as well such as Merchant Taylor’s School, Radlett Cricket Club in Hertfordshire, Richmond, Southgate and Uxbridge.

Stars of Middlesex

Phil Edmonds is one of Middlesex stars in a career that started in 1971 and spanned for two decades. In 391 First Class games for Middlesex, Edmonds took 1246 wickets. The left-arm orthodox spinner is one of the best spin bowlers produced by England.

Edmunds’ partnership with John Emburey made Middlesex one of the most successful sides in County Cricket in 1980s and 1990s. An off-spinner, Emburey’s role in the side was to keep things tight as he was reputed for his accuracy.  

Bill Edrich first played for Middlesex at the age of 21 and in his first season itself he scored over 2000 runs for the County. For 22 years he represented the County and scored over 25,000 runs that included 86 centuries. He was also a regular for England in a career that spanned between 1938 to 1955.

Mike Brearley had a 11-year stint as Middlesex captain and he is often considered as the best captain produced by England. Known for his strategies and tactics, Brearley was a good man manager handling many tough customers in his England days. Brearley the batsman doesn’t get much credit compared to Brearley the captain. But he did score over 25,000 runs in First Class cricket including 48 centuries as an opening batter.

Middlesex continued their tradition of producing fine England captains when Andrew Strauss came onto the scene. The South African born England opening batter spent all his 15 seasons playing County Cricket for Middlesex. Post retirement, Strauss has gone on to shape English cricket taking up several leadership roles to rebuild the side.

Fred Titmus, an England legend, had a distinguished career for Middlesex stretching five decades. He debuted for Middlesex aged 16, youngest ever. That was in 1949. By the time he hung up his boots, he was 50. His last First Class season was in 1982. Titmus had seen the game evolve over half a century of his playing First Class cricket.

Titmu’s tally of 2381 First Class wickets for Middlesex is a record. Once during a tour to the Caribbean he lost four fingers in his leg after a boating accident, but that didn’t dim his enthusiasm for cricket as he continued to play the sport.

Titmus’ skill has a batsman is underplayed. Although he batted lower down the order, he was an accomplished batter with a sound technique and posted more than 20,000 runs in First Class cricket.

Mike Gatting played for Middlesex from 1975 to 1998. Of those 24 seasons, 14 were as captain and the County enjoyed massive success during that period. Gatting’s tally of 28,411 runs for Middlesex is the second highest for the County.

Dennis Compton is perhaps Middlesex’s greatest player and he went on to do great things for England finishing with a Test average of 50.

Compton was gifted with great timing and could play all the shots and more importantly could entertain the fans whole day. He was England’s greatest cricket player until Ian Botham came along.

Jack Robertson was another Middlesex legend. His career was severely affected due to World War II but yet he scored some 27,000 First Class runs. He was called up for England on 11 occasions and toured West Indies and India.

Wayne Daniel played just a handful of Test matches for West Indies but had he played for any other team he would have featured in many more games. West Indies side was packed with fast bowlers at that point and he  didn’t get many opportunities. This meant that he was fully available for Middlesex most of the years and he was a sensation finishing with 685 First Class wickets at an average of 22.

Desmond Haynes committed to Middlesex in 1990 and spent six seasons in which he scored heaps of runs and was quite popular with the county.
A decade later, another opening batsman turned up for Middlesex with equal success – Justin Langer. It his Langer’s big runs in County Cricket that enabled him to reclaim his place in the Australian side.