Len Hutton Recalls the 6 Years he Lost due to WWII
On May 6, 1973, Len Hutton remembers enduring a war accident and losing 6 years (1939-45) but playing 79 tests between 1937 and 1955. AUSTRALIA loves his past foes — especially if one of them happens to be Len Hutton.
Sir Leonard Hutton was in Australia in his capacity as an executive of Fenner & Co. Ltd. Conveyor belting is his business. However, he was still able to talk about yesterday’s game and today’s game. I think 1939 was the year I played my finest cricket,” he told Phil Wilkins of the Sydney Morning Herald
“I was only 22. I reckon Don Bradman had the edge on me but only just.” Subsequently due to a war accident surgeons had to take a piece of bone out of both his legs and fit them into his arm. “If that accident hadn’t happened then God help Australia.” Len Hutton, now 56, and relaxed, remembered his epic duels with Ray Lindwall and Keith Miller. He feels “the game is more competitive, more cut-throat There was a friendliness about the game, even with Lindwall and Miller throwing down bouncers at you.
“India and Pakistan are pretty good sides now. South Africa and West Indies have strong sides. It is harder all around’ whereas it was mainly Australia versus England in my time.” He gravely concluded, “I very much doubt if young cricketers in England are now as dedicated as before.” Well, whatever happened to Len Hutton subsequently, nothing could take away the glory of that tremendous performance from him.
And almost the next thing of importance that did happen to him was an accident in a gymnasium, when he was a PT instructor early in the war, an accident that caused him to have forty-six stitches put in his left arm — and that arm is now two inches shorter than the other. An accident like that might easily have ended the cricketing career of lesser men, and we wondered how it would affect his batting.
Len Hutton studied the problem calmly and discovered that light and the bats unusually short handles the answer. It is true that after the war when he resumed his full responsibilities for Yorkshire and England, there had to be some adjustments of technique — some recovery of full confidence. After such an injury anyone might be expected to shape a little warily against, say, the rasping bumpers of Keith Miller and Ray Lindwall.