Bruce French - England - Test Cricket Profile 1986-88

Photo/Foto: George Herringshaw

Date: 12 August 1986

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      Wicket Keeper, Right Hand Bat
      Thursday, 13 August 1959
      Warsop, Notts, England.
  • England
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Bruce FRENCH - England - Test Cricket Profile 1986-88

Nottinghamshire wicket-keeper Bruce French, a keen mountaineer, was given leave of absence from his less than arduous duties as reserve wicket keeper on England's 1984-85 tour of India so he could visit Nepal and the highest mountain in the world. Within weeks he had started to climb his own personal Everest, rewarded for weeks of 12th man duties with an up-country ODI. French continued as reserve wicket-keeper on the West Indies tour of 1985-86.


His loyalty and patience was finally rewarded when Mike Gatting succeeded David Gower as England captain in the second Test against India in 1986. He continued as England 'keeper throughout that summer and was chosen for the Ashes tour of 1986-87. In Australia he found himself playing second fiddle to Surrey's Jack Richards, but reclaimed his place for the World Series finals. Richards superior batting had been preferred to French's more elegant glove work, but ironically the Surrey man failed in his one Test against Pakistan in 1987 while French, a tail-ender with his county, excelled himself as a lower order bat. In the first Test at Old Trafford he went in as night watchman and made 59. At Lord's the same thing happened and he made 42.


He toured Pakistan and New Zealand and played in Australia's Bicentennial Test, but a long term injury in 1988 cost him his Test place. He had a reputation for attracting mishaps. He was bitten by a dog while out jogging in the West Indies, and had to be carried off after being hit on the head by Richard Hadlee at Lord's. The same thing happened in Pakistan, and while he was being taken to hospital a car ran into him ! (Bob Harragan)