Graham Dowling – A Regular Kiwis Opening Batsman of 1960s
Graham Dowling was a regular opening batsman for New Zealand since 1959—his second year in first-class cricket. Currently, Grham Dowling is now his country’s pre-eminent batsman. Since his entry into Plunket Shield cricket, 11 seasons ago as a solid but slow No. 3, Dowling has steadily developed into an attractive and often free-scoring player of all types of bowling, and he has been spectacularly successful against overseas teams in the last three years.
In 1966-67, Graham Dowling made 871 runs—a record for a New Zealand batsman—and was consistently successful against the Australian “B” team. The following season, his 968 runs broke Everton Weekes’ all-comers record, and Dowling also bettered the New Zealand test record by making 239—his highest score—in the second test and leading his country to its first win against India. In the recent series against the West Indies, New Zealand’s best performance in a home series against an entire Test side, Graham Dowling made 232 runs in the three Tests, including the seventies in the first and third Tests.
One of the most experienced tourists in the party, Dowling first played in a full Test for New Zealand on the 1961-62 tour of South Africa and was reasonably successful with just under 1,000 runs on the tour. He was vice-captain to John Reid on the 1965 tour of India, Pakistan, and England but, unavailable for some home Tests and the brief Australian tour in 1967, did not first captain New Zealand until the series 18 months ago against India.
Nonetheless, in seven matches, he has captained New Zealand to two of its five Test victories. A brilliant fieldsman anywhere and fine catcher at leg-slip, Graham Dowling is the fifth most prolific scorer in New Zealand cricket history with 7,079 runs in his 117 matches, an average of 35.6. There have been 13 centuries, and 30 half-centuries in this total, and Graham Dowling has also held 77 catches and taken eight wickets with his occasional medium-pace bowling. He is also a keen, but very infrequent wicket-keeper.