Today is the 90th birthday of the great Australian all-rounder Allan Davidson. He was one of the world’s leading all-rounders during ’60s and an Australian legend. Along with Wasim Akram, he is also considered one of the two great left arm pacers of all time. He was an attacking batsman with the ability to hit huge sixes and a sharp close infielder.
On 14th June 1929, Davidson was born at Lisarow near Gosford, New South Wales. A well built young man, Davidson was playing club cricket from a very early age and gradually grew to play the first class cricket for New South Wales. Some good performance for the stateside helped him to get a place in the touring Australian squad for the 1953 Ashes. Davidson made his international debut against England at Trent Bridge, Nottingham and took two wickets in the first innings. He was not very successful with the bat as Alec Bedser went on to take 7/55 and 7/44 in two innings. For first few years, Davidson’s performance was mediocre as he was used sparingly while bowling, had issues with injury and also had to bowl slow left-arm spin as his captain Ian Johnson converted him to an additional spinner in the team due to the drier surfaces in England during 1956 series.
But with the retirement of senior Australian bowlers, Davidson and Richie Benaud became the leading pace and spin bowlers for Australia. The 1957-58 tour of South Africa brought some success as Davidson got his first test fifty and five-wicket haul. Slowly he grew into the leading bowler for Australia and by 1960 he was competing with Benaud for the title of the best all-rounder in the game. His finest moment came during the 1960 tied test at Brisbane as he became the first male player to score 100 runs and take ten wickets in a test match. He took five for 135 and six for 87 and scored 44 and 80. He also had some great performances in the sub-continent including a 12-wicket match haul in the 1959 Kanpur test. By the time of his retirement in 1963, Davidson had 1,328 test runs with an average nearing 25 and 186 wickets at 20.53. Davidson was also famous for his tight bowling and had an economy rate of 1.97 throughout his career.
Post-retirement Davidson was involved with New South Wales Cricket Association with various capacity.