Russell Endean, The South African Test Cricketer was born on 31 May 1924 at Johannesburg, Transvaal. Russell Endean played 28 Tests for South Africa. His Test career spanned from 1951 to 1958. He opened the batting against England at The Oval and kept wicket for the one and only time. Like Jonty Rhodes, he was an inspirational fielder, a dogged batsman, and a hockey international.
He made three centuries with the highest score of 162 not out against Australia at the MCG in 1952-53. That series was the zenith of his career. He scored 438 runs at an average of 48.66 in five Test match series. It was the first that South Africa had avoided defeat by Australia in eight rubbers. Russell Endean had everything that one would expect from a top-level fielder.
Endean raw reflexes, athleticism, and the ability to move quickly and senses to anticipate the batsman’s moves. He took plenty of stunning catches in his career while fielding in an attacking position. Russell Endean had such a huge heart as a middle-order batsman and teammate as well.
He was a complete cricketer and played an integral part in South Africa cricket in the 1950s. Russell was part of a wonderful era when South Africa was a major force in Test Cricket. Endean, whose wife Muriel died in 2001, his brother Howard Endean, a daughter and two sons and three grandchildren.
Russell was known as Endless Endean is remembered for two of Test Cricket’s oddities. In the second Test at Newlands in 1956-57, he was given handling the Ball. Having padded away a ball from Jim Laker the ball spun up towards the stumps and Endean used his hands to deflect it. This is the first time in Test Cricket history a batsman was dismissed by this method.
He was also involved in the unique dismissal of Len Hutton in 1951. The England batsman Len Hutton was out obstructing the field by deflecting a ballooned up catch by Endean, playing as the wicketkeeper. Russell Endean was one of the great fielders who sparked in the field took 41 catches in the outfield supported by Hugh Tayfield’s accurate off-spin bowling.
Russell Endean scored a gusty inning of 116 against New Zealand at Auckland in a drawn match. He also scored 116 not out against England at Leeds in 1955. South Africans won the match and level the series at 2-2 before falling to Jim Laker and Lock in the final Test. In the domestic Cricket, he had the reputation of the fast scoring batsman.
In 1954, Russell Endean became the first South African to make a hundred runs before lunch for Transvaal against Free State. He played for a world-record 197 not out before lunch, astonishing, even allowing for a three-hour session. Apart from Cricket, he played Hockey for South Africa.
He was a very popular player in his era, a pure classic teammate and gentleman off-field. Russell Endean, the former South African all-rounder died at his home in England on June 28, 2003, at the age of 79.