Bruce Francis - Australia - Test Profile 1972

Photo/Foto: George Herringshaw

Date: 29 June 1972

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      Right Hand Bat
      Wednesday, 18 February 1948
      Sydney, Australia
  • Australia
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Bruce FRANCIS - Australia - Test Profile 1972

Bruce Francis, a free scoring opening batsman, was the only specialist chosen to partner Keith Stackpole on the 1972 tour of England under Ian Chappell. He lost his place after three Tests and Australia had to settle for makeshift openers, without success. Francis first played for New South Wales in 1968-69, and spent three seasons with Essex between 1971 and 1973 where he was only reasonably successful. No doubt it was his experience of English conditions that attracted the selectors, who had a full hand of middle order bats but no openers to replace the recently retired Bill Lawry.

Francis played in the first two Tests of the Rest of the Wortld Series which replaced the cancelled South African tour of Australia in 1971-72, but lost his place. No one claimed it in the remaining matches, so he got his place on the England tour. In the first Test at Old Trafford he made 27 and took part in a useful opening partnership of 68 with Stackpole, but from then on it was down hill. In the second innings he was lbw to John Snow for 6, and the Snow Man bowled him for 0 at Lord's. After 10 at Trent Bridge he was replaced by Ross Edwards, who had been prolific in the middle order but got a pair in the fourth Test. In the fifth, all-rounder Graeme Watson took over the hot seat, again without success.

Australia were not to develop another Test-class opener until the arrival of Rick McCosker three years later. In 1972-73 Francis toured Rhodesia with the International Wanderers, and was a member of the D.H.Robins side which toured South Africa in 1973-74 and 1974-75. (Bob Harragan)