England’s first vice-captain in Test cricket and subsequently the second captain after Betty Archdale, Molly Hide was also the premier batter of her era.
Born on 24th October 1913 in Shanghai, China, Molly’s family moved to England when she was six years of age and just as well for the cricketing world, for she was one of the brightest players with a bat in her hand of any era.
Selected to play for England on the very first tour to Australia in 1934/5, Molly announced her arrival upon arriving in Perth when she scored a century against Western Australia in 123 minutes, with 11 boundaries. The boundaries are significant because Molly reportedly wasn’t happy unless she was scoring a boundary per over. Note that this century was on the WACA in 1934. No ropes.
Molly was part of a dream top three, with Betty Snowball (189 against NZ in 1935 – the highest score for 50 years) and Myrtle Maclagan (the first Fifty and the first century in Test cricket) as openers, Molly, the best of all, at number three. Little wonder you never hear of other players and their batting feats in that era.
Molly was England’s second Test captain. It was suggested that she might have been the first and there was certainly a push to have her as skipper, for she was the best tactician in the land, but ultimately they went for Betty Archdale who was a lawyer and therefore could deliver a speech. That was a key element of captaincy of the times. However by 1937 she was appointed England captain.
Holding the reins in eleven Test matches, Molly secured four victories – a good return for the period, given the Tests were over three days only.
In fifteen Tests, Molly score 872 runs at 36.33 with two centuries and five 50’s. With the ball, 36 wickets at 15.25 with a best of 5-20. Toss in 10 catches and you have one of the finest allrounders ever to play the game. Who cares if she couldn’t deliver a speech?Embed from Getty Images