Forgotten Heroes: George Lohmann
Can you imagine a bowling strike-rate of 10.75? Not only that, this bowling strike rate is only from 18 test matches that yielded 112 wickets! Is that even possible in Cricketing history? Well, it is possible and it is still the record any bowler would die to accomplish. English cricketer and right arm medium pace bowler (only medium pace? I doubt!), George Alfred Lohmann holds this phenomenal record. This Surrey Cricketer made his mark in the Tests that he featured against Australia from 1886 to 1896 where he played those 18 test matches. During this era he also became the fastest bowler to take 100 wickets in Test matches which he conquered in just 16 tests. His best figures are 9 for 28 and his career includes 9 five-wicket hauls and 5 ten-wicket hauls. He was the first bowler to take an eight-wicket haul in an innings in Tests. Lohmann was awarded the Wisden Cricketer Of The Year in 1889 and also lists in the Six Best Bowlers in the Year 1889.
As a county player, his statistics are gigantic. In 293 first class matches that Lohmann played, he scalped a whooping 1,841 wickets at a bowling average of 13.73. Someone please tell about Lohmann to Ishant Sharma!! Not only this, Lohmann was a decent batsman too. He scored 7,247 runs in first class cricket which included 29 fifties and 3 centuries. Lohmann was however unable to replicate his performance with the bat in international tests where he scored only one fifty at his runs aggregated to 213 in 18 tests.
Lohmann had great skills and the ones who saw him play in that era describe him as ‘A bowler who read batsman.’ Lohmann had a ferocious off cutter which was his main weapon in the armoury along with his change of pace and flights. He was deceptive on good batting pitches and when it came to damp-wet wickets, Lohmann was unplayable. He was also one of the best slip fielders from his time.
The bowler having the best strike rate died at an young age of 36 in 1901 due to severe tuberculosis which he suffered for 9 years, even during his playing days. Termed as the Bradman of Bowlers, Lohmann who was born in June 1865, would always be remembered for his humongous achievement even with the illness and struggle.