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Birthday Of The First Ordained Minister To Play Cricket | David Sheppard

An English batsman David Sheppard; from a first-class cricketer he went on to become an ordained minister and the Bishop of Liverpool.

Last updated: 06.03.2019
David Sheppard | Sports Social Blog

The cricket world has welcomed dignitaries from different sectors of life from time to time. On this day, the first ordained minister to play test cricket was born in 1929. We are very familiar with the name of David Shepherd. This is the story of David Sheppard. An English batsman David Sheppard; from a first-class cricketer he went on to become an ordained minister and the Bishop of Liverpool.

Story Of Sheppard, The Cricketer

Sheppard played 230 first-class matches and appeared in 22 test matches for England. He was first noticed as a part of a strong Cambridge University side of 1950. Sheppard smashed a double century (227) and was involved in an opening wicket partnership of John Dewes (183). It was against the West Indian visitors. Later, in front of his home-country crowd at Hove, both of them improved their partnership record with a stand of 349 against Sussex. This time Dewes contributed with a double hundred.

Such form was an indication that he would be called for the national side soon. He was called for the 1950 test trial. Finally, he made his debut in the final test of the four-match series against West Indies in August 1950 at The Oval. He wasn’t great to start with but he was decent. He toured Australia that winter and played three test matches. He played one test match against New Zealand as well in 1951 in Wellington but couldn’t impress. So once again Sheppard continued to play first-class matches and kept looking for another opportunity in the England team.

A Comeback Worth Remembering

It took a little time for him to return. But he returned in 1952 with a bang. He scored his first test century (119)  in the final test against India at The Oval. He also led England in two test matches in 1954. Although he couldn’t lead in the most prestigious Ashes tour as Len Hutton returned to take charge.

Sheppard was an ordained minister by 1954. And it was the first time someone of this stature was included in the England test side. Returning to the team he scored 113 in at Old Trafford in 1962. His match-winning performance came against Australia in 1962 at Melbourne. He scored 113 again and England won by seven wickets. Sheppard’s last test match was against New Zealand at Christchurch in 1963 where he contributed decently to England’s victory.

Sheppard played 230 first-class matches and scored 15838 runs at an average of 43.51. he scored 45 hundred and 75 half centuries. He captained Sussex in 1953 when they rose to the second position in the table, equalling their best performance. Later Sussex got their long-awaited first Championship triumph in 2003.

Life Post Cricket

He concentrated on the spiritual life for a time at the Mayflower Centre in London. Then he rose as the Bishop of Woolwich in 1968, and then Liverpool in 1975. He also became the president of Sussex in 2001.  After his retirement in 1997, he was made a Life Peer in 1998. He wrote two volumes of autobiography; Parson's Pitch in 1966, and Steps Along Hope Street in 2002.

Although he was out of the 22 yards formally, he tried to be in touch with cricket by making his opinions vocal and with an occasional presence at cricket ceremonies. Sheppard was one of the main voices opposing the South African tour in 1970. In 1995 he was invited to the annual launch dinner of the Wisden Cricketers' Almanack and gave an interesting speech. David Sheppard died the day before his 76th birthday in 2001.

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