Death of former all-rounder Stevenson

Graham Stevenson
Graham Stevenson

Yorkshire has lost one of its most explosive and naturally talented all-rounders with the death yesterday of Graham Stevenson at the age of 58.

Born at Ackworth, Stevenson played in 177 first class matches for Yorkshire between 1973 and 1986, taking 464 wickets at 28.56. He also scored 3,856 runs, with two centuries, and held 73 catches.

In addition, Stevenson twice played in Test matches for England and he represented his country in four one-day internationals.

Without argument, Stevenson was possessed with a rare ability in all aspects of the game. He was a fine seam bowler who could move the ball both ways, a remarkable late-order batsman who made a habit of hitting good-length deliveries high and hard over extra cover and a stunning fielder whose returns from the boundary edge landed in the wicketkeeper’s gloves like fire crackers.

He was also one of the most popular figures both with team-mates and fans ever to wear a Yorkshire sweater and he was greatly admired by his former captain and friend, Geoffrey Boycott.

Boycott was an early mentor and arranged nets for him at Headingley when he was a youth. Boycott openly admitted that Stevenson was one of his favourite cricketers.

He had all the qualities necessary to entertain on a grand scale in one-day matches and he played in 216 limited overs games for Yorkshire, capturing 290 wickets and scoring 1,699 runs.

Stevenson developed as a first class cricketer at around the same time as Ian Botham and there was perhaps little to choose between them so far as raw talent was concerned.

Maybe the Yorkshireman could have gone on to achieve even greater things himself with a little more concentration but then he would not have been the character that everyone so loved.

Perhaps, also, he was born a generation too soon, because he would have been a huge asset to any side in Twenty20 cricket and would probably have made a big name for himself in the game.

Sadly, Stevenson had endured much ill-health in recent years and he died in hospital after suffering a severe stroke over three months ago.