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Keith Carmody: Keith Miller's Favourite Captain

Written by Tony Barker

Keith Carmody deserves to be rememberedas more than the inventor of the ‘umbrella field’. Escaping from difficult family circumstances, he was the most successful junior batsman in 1930s Sydney, breaking into first-class ranks late in the decade. A wartime pilot more worthy of acclaim than Keith Miller, he captained the popular RAAF team at Lord’s and elsewhere in 1943 and 1944 before being shot down over the North Sea. After months as a prisoner of war in Stalag Luft III, long detention in perilous conditions by the Soviet army ended in time for him to play in the second ‘Victory Test’ in 1945. His best batting feats followed in India later that year.

The peak of his career came when he led Western Australia to win the Sheffield Shield in their first season, 1947/48. Declining form and alienation from cricket authorities have obscured the importance of foundations he laid for the state’s success through coaching programmes for very young cricketers. Neither the sadness of a broken marriage nor death from cancer at the age of 58 should detract from the significance of a man who never played for Australia but was nominated by Miller to captain his ‘dream team’ of Australian, English, South African and West Indian Test players.

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