|Full name||Graham Neil Yallop|
7 October 1952 |
Balwyn, Victoria, Australia
|Height||1.82 m (6 ft 0 in)|
|Bowling style||Left-arm medium pace|
|Test debut (cap 275)||3 January 1976 v West Indies|
|Last Test||12 November 1984 v West Indies|
|ODI debut (cap 47)||22 February 1978 v West Indies|
|Last ODI||6 October 1984 v India|
|Domestic team information|
|Source: CricketArchive, 9 March 2008|
Graham Neil Yallop (born 7 October 1952) is a former cricketer who played for Victoria and Australia. He captained Australia briefly during the tumultuous era of World Series Cricket (WSC) in the late 1970s. A technically correct left-handed batsman, Yallop invariably batted near the top of the order for Australia during a stop-start career that began in 1975–76 against the West Indies. In 1978, Yallop made history as the first player to wear a full helmet in a Test match. He also enjoyed a long and successful career with his home state Victoria, leading them to two Sheffield Shield titles.
Yallop played for Richmond in the Dowling Shield in the late 1960s. He made his grade debut for the club in 1970-71.
He made his first class debut in December 1972.
Aged 23, Yallop made his Test debut against the 1975–76 West Indians at Sydney. Several of his teammates were upset that an out of form Rick McCosker had been left out to accommodate Yallop and promptly ignored him. Against the wishes of the selectors, captain Greg Chappell batted Yallop at number three, ahead of both Ian and Greg Chappell, using the rationale that McCosker batted there. Still, Yallop put his head down to make the most of the opportunity, playing the last three Tests of the series and averaging 44. However he then lost his place in the side.
World Series Cricket
When the WSC defections hit, Yallop was not instantly recalled to the Test team. He had to wait until the final Test against India in 1977–78 and he promptly hit 121, his first Test century. Chosen for the following tour to the West Indies, Yallop was one of the few Australian players to stand up to the express bowling of the opposition, although he was prompted to wear a helmet in the Test match at Barbados following a blow to the jaw in a tour match. He made history as the first man to do so. In four Tests he scored three half-centuries, accumulating 317 runs at 45.29.
"A lamb to the slaughter"
Yallop had played just five Tests in the previous three years (for a total of eight) when suddenly, with Australia's best players still playing WSC, he was appointed captain for the 1978–79 Ashes series. These were desperate times, but most observers thought veteran John Inverarity (who was not of test class as a player) would have been a more astute choice once the Australian Cricket Board (ACB) decided that the veteran incumbent Bobby Simpson could not be guaranteed the captaincy for the season.
The unprepared and unsupported Yallop made a naïve prediction before the series when he said that his team would win 6–0. Yallop was "bewildered" when his "flippant" prediction was reported straight-faced by the media and taken seriously by the English players. The undermanned Australian team was annihilated 5–1, its worst thrashing in a Test series. Although Yallop's authority disintegrated, his ability to make runs held up and he scored centuries in the first and last Tests. His 121 in the sixth Test at Sydney was a lone masterpiece as the team scored a meagre total of 198 and the second top score was 16. Yallop led the team in a Test against Pakistan just weeks later and lost again. He injured himself in a club match, which forced him out of the second (and last) Test in the series when Australia finally reversed their losing streak under Kim Hughes. Yallop was then dumped as captain.
At the end of the summer, he wrote a book on his season's experiences, entitled Lambs To The Slaughter. On page one Yallop commented that "I should be bitter, but I am not,". However there were chapter headings such as "Sacked", "The First Killing", "Skinned Alive", "Slaughtered", hinting at an anger and hurt that was left partly unexplained.
In his account of the 1978-79 Ashes series, The Ashes Retained, England captain Mike Brearley reported that the English players nicknamed Yallop "Banzai" because of his tendency to adopt suicidally attacking fields at all times, when on occasion a more defensive approach may have prevented the England team's free scoring.
Yallop kept his place in the team after losing the captaincy, playing all 6 tests in the tour of India in late 1979, the last tests before the WSC reunification.
At the end of 1979 the WSC split ended, and Yallop lost his place in the test team. He regained his place for the 1980 tour of Pakistan. He scored an elegant 172 against Pakistan at Faisalabad yet found himself on the outer two Tests afterwards. Although one of the many Australian batsman who struggled on the 1981 Ashes tour, Yallop hit 114 at Old Trafford then was again dropped two games later.
After a golden summer of form in the Sheffield Shield in 1982–83, he was finally given an extended run of Tests in Australia during the season of 1983–84. He had an outstanding season, averaging 92.33 in 5 tests against Pakistan with a high score of 268. He missed the tour of the West Indies at the end of that summer due to injury. The next summer he played his last test, dropped after one test against the West Indies.
Yallop finished his major cricket career in South Africa as a member of the rebel Australian team led by Kim Hughes. After two seasons in South Africa without major success, Yallop returned to the relative obscurity of district cricket in Melbourne, playing for the South Melbourne and Ringwood clubs.
Yallop must carry some blame for this fickleness. Englishman Mike Brearley (his opposite number in the 1978–79 series) noted that Yallop used to "... slide his back foot to and fro in a grandmotherly shuffle ... More than most Test players, Yallop can range from the inept to the masterly." In his final Test, in November 1984, Yallop failed against the West Indian fast bowlers. In scoring 2 and 1, he looked very uncomfortable. An injury sustained while making a sliding save in a one-day match ended his season. Much was made of Yallop's susceptibility to fast bowling because of an unusual incident on the 1981 tour of England. Skipper Kim Hughes shepherded him from Bob Willis's bowling, even though Yallop never asked him to. Commentating on the match, Richie Benaud called Hughes's actions "as curious a captaincy decision as I have ever seen". Undoubtedly, Yallop was more at home against slow bowling and was considered one of the best players of spinners during an era when few existed. Although not ideally suited to the one-day game, Yallop's ODI figures are good and he played in the World Cups of 1979 and 1983 and toured India in 1984. He was a safe fielder behind the wicket and was often positioned in the gully.
Yallop averaged better than one century every five Tests and never went more than six consecutive Tests without a hundred. He also jointly holds the record for the fastest Ashes half-century, scored off 35 balls in the Old Trafford test in the 1981 series.