Alf Hall

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Alf Hall
Cricket information
Batting style Left-hand bat
Bowling style Left-arm fast-medium
International information
National side
Career statistics
Competition Tests First-class
Matches 7 46
Runs scored 11 134
Batting average 1.83 3.72
100s/50s 0/0 0/0
Top score 5 22
Balls bowled 2361 11175
Wickets 40 234
Bowling average 22.14 19.23
5 wickets in innings 3 21
10 wickets in match 1 6
Best bowling 7/63 8/80
Catches/stumpings 4/- 13/-

Alfred Ewart Hall (23 January 1896 in Bolton, Lancashire, England – 1 January 1964 in The Hill, South Africa) was a South African cricketer who played in seven Tests from 1923 to 1931. His appearances in first class cricket were limited by his movement between South Africa and his native Lancashire due to business commitments, but he played nine times as a professional for his native county in 1923 and 1924, despite controversy as to whether he was eligible given that he had played for South Africa.[1] However, because Hall’s bowling was developed on the matting pitches then used in South Africa, he was not successful in England apart from his first two games when he took a total of sixteen wickets against the two University teams - though he did bowl with deadly effect in Lancashire League games for East Lancashire and Todmorden.

Alf Hall was a left-arm fast medium bowler who could gain a lot of spin from matting pitches, as shown in the 1926–27 Currie Cup where he set a record of fifty-two wickets in six matches including a haul of fourteen wickets for 115 runs against Natal and eleven for 98 against Border. With Buster Nupen he formed a deadly attack that allowed Transvaal to sweep the Currie Cup that year and the win five of six games in 1925/1926. Hall first played for Transvaal in 1920/1921, but established himself the following year by being the equal leading wicket taker with 36 in the 1921–22 Currie Cup.[2]

Though a strain prevented him playing in the first Test the following year, Hall bowled extremely well in the four remaining Tests of the 1922/1923 English tour and was unlucky not to be rewarded with a series win: he took seven for 63 in the second innings of the second Test[3] and despite England winning by one wicket was carried from the field shoulder-high. After that, Hall did not return to South African until after his ill-fated attempt to become a member of the powerful Lancashire eleven and then he bowled well without challenging Nupen against a team sent by S.B. Joel in 1924–25. These business commitments (he worked in the textile industry) again removed Hall from first-class cricket after England’s next tour of South Africa in 1927–28, when he bowled very well in one of the two Tests he could spare time for to take nine for 167.[4] Hall only reappeared briefly during the 1930–31 tour, when with the gradual shift to turf pitches in South Africa he was not successful at all.

Despite his skill as a bowler, Alf Hall stands as one of the very worst “rabbits” in the history of first-class cricket. Among Test players, only Bhagwat Chandrasekhar has a higher ratio of wickets to runs in first-class cricket, and only Hopper Read a lower first-class batting average. Hall in fact reached double figures only three times in his fifty-seven first-class innings.

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