Mike Denness

Born December 1, 1940, Michael Henry Denness famously, known as Mike Denness, was a Scottish cricketer who played international cricket for England. Denness was a crafty batsman who in his hey days looked more stylish and technically composed than his imminent peers. On his birth anniversary, Suraj Choudhari goes back in time and finds out 13 interesting facts about the tall unblemished batsman of the yesteryears.

1. Scot who played for England

Denness was the fifth cricketer to have been born in Scotland and to have gone on to play international cricket for England.

2. Only England captain

Denness remains the only English captain to have his origin in Scotland.

3. Rugby

Like many other cricketers, Denness too flirted with the game of rugby before focusing entirely on cricket. He represented Ayr Cricket Club at Cambusdoon.  

4. ICC match referee

Denness managed to stay in touch with cricket as he was chosen the International Cricket Council (ICC) match referee in 1996. His term came to an end in March 2002.

5. Controversy with six Indian players

Denness caused controversy after the Port Elizabeth Test between South Africa and the visiting Indians in 2001-2 when he sanctioned six Indian players including Virender Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh, Sachin Tendulkar and the captain Sourav Ganguly for various charges ranging from excessive appealing, ball-tampering to failure in handling players. At first, India refused to accept the sanctions and named the players for the following Test match. The ICC responded by stripping the game of Test match status. Later, a referee committee was established to verify Denness’s conclusions. Eventually, India decided to forget the incident on humanitarian grounds, after Denness underwent heart surgery.

6. President

Denness served Kent County Cricket Club as their President in 2012-13.

7. Wisden Cricketer of the year

Denness was also named as the Wisden Cricketer of the year in 1975 for his prolific run with the bat.  

8. Scottish Sports Hall of Fame

Denness was the inaugural member of the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame and was also a member of the Scottish Cricket Hall of Fame.

9. Miserable debut for Kent

Denness made his English County Cricket debut for Kent but didn’t have a desirable start as he was dismissed quite early on in his innings.

10. Autobiography

Denness also turned out to be a prolific writer and he published his autobiography named ‘I Declare’ in 1977.

11. Honour

Denness was a privileged cricketer to have been appointed as the Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2013 for his contribution towards gentlemen’s game of cricket.

12. Died of cancer

Denness died at the age of 72 in the year 2013 after a brief battle with one of the most dangerous and fatal diseases known to mankind, cancer.

13. Personal Life

Denness married his childhood sweetheart, Molly, in 1964 and had a son and two daughters. He was survived by his partner, Doreen Wadlow, and his three children.

(Suraj Choudhari is a reporter with Criclife and CricketCountry. He is an avid follower of the game, and plays the sport at club level. He has a radical understanding about the subtle nuances and intricacies of cricket, and tries to express it through paper and pen.)