It is with the deepest regret that Yorkshire County Cricket Club announce the death of Brian Close, CBE, one of Yorkshire and England’s greatest ever captains and one of the game’s most courageous players.
Brian, who was 84 and lived at Baildon, near Bradford, died on Sunday.
In addition to his outstanding cricket career, Brian remained fully committed to Yorkshire until the end, being a Life Member of the Club and President from 2008-2010. He was also a popular former President of the Yorkshire CCC Players’ Association.
When Brian made his Test debut for England against New Zealand at Old Trafford in 1949 at 18 years and 149 days, he became the youngest player ever to represent England, a record which remains to this day.
In a long and colourful career, he played for England in 22 Tests between 1949-76, captaining them on seven occasions, but it was with his beloved Yorkshire that he enjoyed his most outstanding successes.
He played in 536 first class matches for Yorkshire between 1949-70, scoring 22,650 runs with 33 centuries and capturing 967 wickets. One of the greatest of short leg fielders he held on to 564 catches.
Brian captained Yorkshire from 1963-1970 when he led them through one of the most successful periods in their history, winning the County Championship title four times and the Gillette Cup twice.
“Brian Close was an all-time great, both of Yorkshire and England,” said Yorkshire County Cricket Club’s President Harold ‘Dickie’ Bird OBE.
“He will go down as one of the bravest cricketers of all time. He would stand at short-leg, about a yard away from the bat, and would never flinch if the ball hit him. He would take it in his stride and carry on.
“As a captain, his record speaks for itself. He is Yorkshire’s most successful post-war captain – winning the County Championship on four occasions and will always be regarded as one of the best skippers in the game.
“He led from the front and never took a back step. He commanded huge respect from his fellow players. He had the ability to get the best out of every player under his stewardship with his fearless and brave approach to the game.”
He leaves a widow, Vivien, and a son, Lance, and a daughter, Lyn.