|Batting style||Right-hand bat|
|Bowling style||Right-arm fast-medium|
Eiulf Peter "Buster" Nupen (1 January 1902 in Johannesburg, South Africa – 29 January 1977 in Johannesburg, South Africa) was a cricketer who played in 17 Test matches for South Africa between 1921–22 and 1935–36.
A tall, strongly built fast-medium bowler relying chiefly upon an off-cutter but able to vary it with a poorly disguised ball that spun the other way, Nupen was a deadly bowler on the matting pitches on which cricket was played in South Africa when he began his first-class career. So deadly was his lift and break when it bit into the mat that Nupen had the astonishing record in Currie Cup matches of 184 wickets for 12.75 each for Transvaal.
Yet, in 1924, when on his remarkable record at home Nupen was expected to be a major force in England, he was so ineffective on the closely cut grass pitches that he averaged in an exceedingly wet summer 29.55 for 29 wickets. Though injuries did handicap him, he was so harmless when fit on even the most treacherous turf pitches that he did not once take five wickets in an innings.
Consequently, Nupen was never considered for a tour again even though, on the remaining matting pitches at home, his bowling was invariably quite deadly against all but the most skilled batsmen. The skill of English batting in the 1920s can be seen in Ernest Tyldesley's brilliant innings against Nupen turning the ball back several inches and lifting groin-high during the 1927/1928 tour. Two years before that, again a team of about "England A" strength taken by Lord Tennyson, Nupen's bowling was so deadly in four Representative Matches than he took 37 wickets for under 12 runs each.
Nupen lost the sight of an eye as a child when a splinter flew into it as he banged two hammers together in play. Because of this handicap he was not normally regarded as a serious batsman but he could prove useful, as he showed in the Third Test when he scored 50 and 69 and was decisive in South Africa being able to square the series.
Constantly a deadly force against lesser batsmen on matting during the late 1920s – by which time his bowling on these wickets had been developed into a fine art – in 1930–31 Nupen was, owing to the absence of South Africa's former captain Nummy Deane due to poor form, chosen to captain the team. He did so with considerable skill and accomplished the best bowling of his Test career. He took 5 for 63 and 6 for 87 in the First Test to give South Africa victory by 28 runs, and 3 for 148 and 6 for 46 in the drawn Fourth Test. However, Nupen was thought so badly of on turf pitches that he was left out of the Third and Fifth Tests of that series – the first two ever played on turf in South Africa. Indeed, though he achieved his best-ever domestic figures the following year with 43 wickets for 434 runs (including 9 for 48 and 7 for 88 in the match against Griqualand West), with turf pitches having replaced the matting Nupen did not play any more first-class cricket until recalled in 1934–35 for Transvaal. He did little of note except for one performance on exceedingly treacherous turf in his last first-class game two years later.
He was educated at King Edward VII School (Johannesburg) and practised as an attorney in Johannesburg for 45 years. His unusual first name is Norwegian, his parents having immigrated to South Africa from Norway before his birth.
- "Buster Nupen". www.cricketarchive.com. Retrieved 17 January 2012.
- South Africa v England, Johannesburg, 1930–31 (I)
- South Africa v England, Johannesburg, 1930–31 (II)
- Transvaal v Griqualand West, 1931–32
- Obituary, Cricketer, April 1977, p. 69.