||This article is written like a personal reflection or opinion essay that states the Wikipedia editor's particular feelings about a topic, rather than the opinions of experts. (July 2013)|
|Full name||Frederick Henry Huish|
15 November 1869|
Clapham, London, England
|Died||16 March 1957
Northiam, Sussex, England
|Domestic team information|
|Source: Cricinfo, 4 February 2010|
Frederick Henry Huish (15 November 1869 in Clapham, Surrey, England – 16 March 1957 in Northiam, Sussex, England) was one of the major factors behind Kent's success in the County Championship in the decade prior to World War I and arguably the best wicket-keeper never to play Test cricket. Huish holds the record for the most dismissals by a wicket-keeper in first-class cricket who did not play a Test match, with 1310. In fact, Huish only played once in any representative match - for the Players against the Gentlemen at Lord's in 1902 - when he performed so well that had Dick Lilley not recovered from an injury Huish would probably have had a chance at international level in what is often regarded as the strongest Test series of all time. As it was the sudden emergence of Herbert Strudwick meant that Huish never gained another look-in at representative level, even though his performances for Kent only improved with age.
Huish first played for Kent at the comparatively advanced age of twenty-five in 1895, and he had a disheartening start to his first-class career. At Old Trafford he was severely concussed facing the controversial Lancashire speedster Arthur Mold and it was feared for his life for a time. Huish did not play again that season, but immediately established himself as Kent's first regular wicket-keeper of any ability for many years the following season. Known as a very quiet and undemonstrative figure both on and off the field, Huish let his work on the field do the talking: in 1899 Huish dismissed a then-record seventy-nine men including eight catches in one match at Trent Bridge against Nottinghamshire. Such form made Huish regarded as the second-best 'keeper in the game after Dick Lilley, yet, even when Lilley was working in business, Huish did not go on any overseas tour except for a brief trip to Philadelphia in 1903.
By 1902, Huish had maintained his place in the upper echelon of wicket-keepers for so long that it was no surprise when he was picked for the Players. He performed excellently taking the bowling of Len Braund and William Lockwood on about the only fiery wicket of a very wet summer and it was thought he was a certainty to one day represent his country. However, Strudwick's emergence put paid to such dreams, and though Huish kept refining his wicket-keeping as well as developing into a useful lower order batsman, he was never to get a chance for an England cap again.
By 1906 his ability to take the swerving deliveries of Arthur Fielder and the extremely skilful spin of Colin Blythe on even the most difficult wicket had reached superb levels of precision. Huish beat his 1899 record in 1908 with 86 dismissals and in the dry summer of 1911 - when his skill behind the stumps allowed Kent to win many matches on extremely fast and true wickets even when their bowling was not altogether formidable - he became the first wicket-keeper to dismiss 100 batsmen in a season. In the process on a soft wicket at The Oval - ironically for his nemesis Strudwick's benefit - Huish achieved his best-known feat in stumping nine men - five off Douglas Carr and three off Frank Woolley.
In these days as senior professional Huish had so much authority over his brother professional bowlers on the field that it was said Blythe, Woolley and Fielder would never appeal without his approval! However, he never lost his quiet and modest manner even when he beat his own record for the third time in 1913 with 110 dismissals in all matches, making it remarkable Wisden overlooked Huish for a Cricketer of the Year place given the service he had given Kent for almost two whole decades and the fact that he was still eligible to be chosen.
After the war was over, Huish, at forty-nine, did not resume his career with Kent. However, it turned out he became the first of a remarkable line of successful wicket-keepers for that county stretching from Les Ames through to Godfrey Evans and Alan Knott.
- Walmsley, Keith (2003). Mosts Without in Test Cricket. Reading, England: Keith Walmsley Publishing Pty Ltd. p. 457. ISBN 0947540067..