SURREY GREATS - KEN BARRINGTON
Kenneth Frank Barrington of Surrey and England was one of the most prolific Test match batsmen since the Second World War, until a heart attack in October 1968 ended his first-class career shortly before his 39th birthday. With a technique that had been perfected to eliminate risks, but which could never be described as being as graceful, he amassed a total of 31,714 first-class runs (including 76 centuries) between 1953 and 1968 at a healthy average of 45.63.
Having joined the Surrey the staff from Berkshire in 1948 at the age of 17, Ken was initially employed as a promising leg-spinner. However, by the time he had completed his National Service three years later it had become apparent that he was also a naturally gifted batsman. In 1953 he made his debut for Surrey and the following season was averaging 40.23 with the bat. Such was his progress that he twice played for England against South Africa in 1955, but his performances were disappointing and he was dropped.
In the seasons that followed Barrington strengthened his resolve to regain an England place. It was during this time that he turned himself into a back-foot player, strong on the leg-side, allowing himself only the cut to the off. Between 1956 and 1958 he struggled for form at a time when Surrey reigned supreme, averaging only 33.70 with the bat. But in 1959 he scored 2,499 first-class runs and appeared in all five Tests against India, earning a place on the winter tour to the West Indies.
at Melbourne in the final Test of the 1965-66 series. His last full and most prolific season at home in 1967 brought over 2,000 first-class runs at an average of 68.63, whilst in six Tests against India and Pakistan he averaged 93.75. Of three Test hundreds that year, the most memorable was his 142 against Pakistan at The Oval which enabled England to win inside four days.
When thrombosis at Melbourne in 1968 caused his premature retirement Wisden carried no fewer than eight pages of statistical records. In 82 Test matches he had scored 6,806 runs, including 20 centuries against every country and at every home Test centre at an average 58.67. For Surrey his 362 appearances had brought 19,197 runs (average 41.28), 43 hundreds, 100 fifties and ten thousand-run seasons.
At the time of his death in March 1981 Barrington was on tour with the
England team for whom he was coach in the West Indies.