Richard Daft: On a Pedestal
Written by Neil Jenkinson
Cricket is changing rapidly, it is said. Richard Daft knew about change, too. His cricket career, mostly between 1860 and 1880, took in the fall of the travelling elevens who played twenty-twos in scattered towns and villages, the legalising of overarm bowling, the rise of county cricket as the principal test of an English player’s skill and the start of the international game.
Before W.G.Grace appeared on the scene, changing batting for ever, Daft was the leading practitioner with the bat. Unusually for a paid player, he led the Nottinghamshire side and did so with poise and style throughout the 1870s. His county took the championship in perhaps six seasons, making him one of the county game’s most successful captains. On one occasion he even told Lord Harris to desist from ‘sledging’.
Bringing forward material not before published, Neil Jenkinson charts the roller-coaster of Daft’s financial career from an unexpected inheritance, through his brewery connections, running a sports outfitting business, and the crash of his tenure at the Trent Bridge Inn.