John Lever

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For other people named John Lever, see John Lever (disambiguation).
John Lever
Personal information
Full name John Kenneth Lever
Born (1949-02-24) 24 February 1949 (age 68)
Stepney, London, England
Batting style Right-hand bat
Bowling style Left-arm fast-medium
Career statistics
Competition Tests ODIs
Matches 21 22
Runs scored 306 56
Batting average 11.76 8.00
100s/50s –/1 –/–
Top score 53 27*
Balls bowled 4433 1152
Wickets 73 24
Bowling average 26.72 29.70
5 wickets in innings 3
10 wickets in match 1 n/a
Best bowling 7/46 4/29
Catches/stumpings 11/– 6/–
Source:, 1 January 2006

John Lever MBE (born John Kenneth Lever, 24 February 1949)[1] is an English former cricketer, who played in 21 Tests and 22 ODIs for England from 1976 to 1986. Lever was a left-arm fast-medium bowler, who predominantly swung the ball into the right-handed batsmen, to try to outwit them.

Cricket correspondent Colin Bateman, remarked, "for 23 years he plied his trade with Essex, becoming the finest left-arm pace bowler in the country. Tough, astute, and entertaining in the dressing room, Lever was, as the title of his autobiography suggests, A Cricketer's Cricketer".[1]

Life and career[edit]

Born 24 February 1949, Stepney, London, Lever is sometimes remembered for the vaseline incident. It was one of the first publicised 'doctoring' (using unfair means to enhance the swing or seam abilities) of the cricket ball by a bowler, when Lever reportedly rubbed vaseline onto one side of the ball so it would swing better.[2][3][4][5][6][7] The claim was later rejected and Lever was cleared of any wrongdoing. In that Test against India in Delhi, Lever recorded the best Test bowling figures for an English debutant (7–46),[8] a record that stood until Dominic Cork beat it by three runs on his debut against the West Indies in 1995. Lever finished the match with bowling figures of 10–70, another English debutant's record, which he enhanced with a half century while giving banter.[1]

Lever gave 22 years of service to Essex in one of the most successful periods in the club's history. Lever was awarded an MBE for his services to cricket. He was also involved in the rebel tour to South Africa in 1982 during the apartheid era, where he formed strong links in the country, and later spent many winters there playing for the provincial side of Natal. He earned another, rather belated Test cap, at the age of 37.[1]

More recently, Lever has taken up teaching physical education at Bancroft's School,[9] and is currently the bowling coach for Middlesex.


  1. ^ a b c d Bateman, Colin (1993). If The Cap Fits. Tony Williams Publications. p. 109. ISBN 1-869833-21-X. 
  2. ^ Controversies have proved beneficial to the game
  3. ^ "Sport,England v Pakistan 2006,Cricket,donotuse Observer". The Guardian. London. 27 August 2006. 
  4. ^ "John's leverage with vaseline". The Times of India. 
  5. ^ Mid-Day – Sports news, indian sports news, international sports news & lot more
  6. ^ Selvey, Mike (24 August 2006). "Sport". The Guardian. London. 
  7. ^ Ezekiel, Gulu (8 September 2006). "Historical echoes of ball-tampering row". BBC News. 
  8. ^ "1st Test: India v England at Delhi, Dec 17–22, 1976". espncricinfo. Retrieved 13 December 2011. 
  9. ^ Bancroft's School staff list