ZIMBABWE-BORN batsman Brian Davison has been voted English country cricket side Leicestershire’s greatest overseas player in a supporters’ poll.
A fast-scoring right-handed batsman, Davison played for the Foxes for 14 seasons, during which they won the county championship for the first time in their history, in 1975. They also won the Sunday League, in 1974 and 1977, as well as finishing runners-up in 1972, and the One-Day Cup, in 1972 and 1975.
Davison hit 18,537 runs in 303 first-class games for County, including 37 centuries, as well as scoring 6,744 one-day runs. His 158 not out against Warwickshire in 1972 was, at the time, the highest one-day score ever made.
He was also an outstanding fielder and more than useful bowler, picking up 82 first-class and 54 one-day wickets over his career.Leicestershire president Jack Birkenshaw, who was a team-mate of Davison’s, described him as “a really terrific cricketer”.
“He could hit a ball miles, field brilliantly in any position, was a more than useful bowler and always, always, played for the team,” Birkenshaw said.
“He was as strong as a bull too, I remember doing press-ups one day and being pleased I’d got to 40, then I looked up and saw ‘Davo’ had done 50 on his finger-tips — and was still going. He could and pick me up and dangle me over the balcony outside the players’ dressing room.
“And the thing is he never changed in all the time I knew him: always competed hard but fairly, spoke his mind — which got him into trouble a few times — and loved to socialise. He maybe wasn’t the greatest defensive player, he didn’t really have the patience for it, but he won us a lot of games.”
Another former team-mate Nigel Briers once described Davison as “one of the best players who ever put on a Leicestershire sweater”.
“He combined controlled aggression and hard hitting with a certain elegance and style, and he had real charisma,” Briers said.
Davison averaged 53 in Leicestershire’s maiden championship-winning season, and became captain in 1980, a role he later admitted not enjoying. Even so, he made seven centuries in 1982 and was reportedly considered for England selection, though he later, and not untypically, claimed he would have turned the call down.
After moving to Australia he went into politics, and was elected to the Australian Parliament. Davison topped the supporters’ poll, run by BBC Sport, taking 56% of the vote. Second was the popular West Indian Phil Simmons, who made 2,661 first-class runs and took 109 wickets in 51 games in three seasons at Grace Road, helping the Foxes win the County Championship in 1996 and 1998. Simmons also made 2,716 one-day runs and took 63 wickets.
Another West Indian, fast bowler Winston Benjamin, was third, with big hitting South African batsman Hylton Ackerman fourth. — Leicestershire County Cricket Club.