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Kenneth Higgs (14 January 1937 – 7 September 2016)[2] was an English fast-medium bowler, who was most successful as the opening partner to Brian Statham with Lancashire in the 1960s. He later played with success for Leicestershire.

Cricket writer, Colin Bateman, noted, "Higgs was a fine medium-fast bowler with an impressive pedigree, who suddenly went out of fashion with the selectors after one Test of the 1968 Ashes series".[1]

Early life and career

In his junior days concentrating on football with Port Vale, Higgs did not take seriously to cricket until his late teens.[1] He was signed to the club from July 1954 to 1959, but never made a first team appearance.[3] Making progress during military service, he began playing for his native county, Staffordshire, taking 46 wickets for 13.13 each in 1957. Jack Ikin, a Staffordshire native, recommended Higgs to Lancashire and he began playing for them in 1958.


Higgs caused instant notice taking 7 for 36 against Hampshire in his first County Championship match. He took over 100 wickets in each season from 1959 to 1960, but was one of the few cricketers to take 100 wickets in a season at over thirty runs each in 1961, and he ceased to be an automatic choice.

In 1965, a wet summer, he took 102 wickets in County Championship matches, and formed a formidable partnership with Statham. His best performance was 7 for 19 against Leicestershire. He was selected for the last Test at The Oval and took 8 for 143 against a formidable South African batting line-up, and was selected for MCC tour of Australia in 1965-66, where he had a modest time, but took 17 wickets (9.24) in three Tests in New Zealand.

Test selection

In 1966, against the West Indies, Higgs established himself as England's first-choice opening bowler with 24 wickets for under 26 runs. At the Oval Higgs, only a tail-end left-hand batsman, made 63, then his highest first-class score and helped England effect a recovery from 166 for 7 to 529 all out. His partnership with John Snow for the tenth wicket of 128, is a record for England at home.[1] It also remains as the all-time Test match record partnership between batsmen 10 and 11.[4]

Despite injury keeping out of two Tests against India, Higgs had a good season in 1967, taking 95 wickets at 16.92. He was named one of Cricketers of the Year by Wisden. In that year, he took 17 wickets in the Test series against Pakistan. Despite this, he did not play in England's next Test series, their tour to the West Indies. He was later selected for one match of the Ashes series the following year, but was never selected again. According to the cricket writer Peter Mason, Higgs "was entitled to wonder why he had not been picked more often for his country".[5] Higgs retired from County cricket at the end of the 1969 season, and played for Rishton in the Lancashire League.[1] In the twelve seasons for Lancashire Higgs took 1,033 wickets, a figure which had then been exceeded by only eight players.

Second career with Leicestershire

After two years in the Lancashire League, the Leicestershire captain, Ray Illingworth called Higgs out of first-class cricket retirement because of Graham McKenzie's expected unavailability with the 1972 Australians. Higgs played regularly until the end of the 1979 season, for which he was appointed captain. He was the fifth-highest Englishman in the bowling averages that season at the age of forty-two. In one-day cricket, Higgs played in Leicestershire's 1972 and 1975 successes in the Benson & Hedges Cup, also taking a hat-trick in the unsuccessful 1974 final. He was also part of Leicestershire's County Championship-winning side in 1975. All together, Higgs took 308 List 'A' wickets for his adopted county. He was also, on his day, a solid and reliable tail-end batsman, who scored over 300 runs in a season six times. His highest first-class score of 98 was part of Leicestershire's record 228 run last wicket partnership with Ray Illingworth against Northamptonshire in 1977.

After 1979, Higgs seldom played in first-class cricket, and he retired from one-day cricket after 1982. In 1986, he returned at the age of 49, taking 5 for 22 against Yorkshire.[1] He played once more, against Somerset, without taking a wicket. In all he took 100 wickets in a season five times, and over 90 twice. He took 42 List A wickets in both 1975 and 1977.

Coaching career

Higgs later coached both Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire. He also umpired several Second XI fixtures.

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