Almanac Cricket: Vale Colin McDonald AM


Colin McDonald


Colin McDonald, the brave Australian opening batsman of the 1950s and early 60s, has died aged 92 – a good innings indeed!


In the era of unprotected wickets and decades before extensive protective gear became the norm, McDonald faced the likes of Fred Trueman, Brian Statham, Frank Tyson, Wes Hall and the like with only his innate ability, bat, gloves and pads to protect himself. Renown for his courage and his willingness to be hit rather than risk surrendering his wicket, McDonald opined more than once that he wished he had been given more credit for his batting skills.


McDonald debuted in the same match as Richie Benaud in 1952 and served his country for a decade. In 1959, on retrospective rankings, McDonald was the world’s No. 1 batsman after an excellent series against England when he scored 519 runs in Australia’s 4-0 series win. Perhaps his greatest innings was in the 1956 Old Trafford ‘Laker Test’ when McDonald held out for almost six hours for his second innings score of 89.


After cricket, McDonald was a teacher who also became an ABC commentator and Executive Director of Tennis Australia. During his time with TA, he was instrumental in the development of the facility which we now know as Flinders Park.


Vale Colin McDonald, both a man and a cricketer much to be admired.


McDonald batting against Fazal Mahmood, Pakistan 1959


To read The Guardian’s respectful obituary for Colin McDonald click HERE.


To read Cricket Victoria’s tribute to Colin McDonald click HERE.


To read Cricket Monthly’s 2010 interview with Colin McDonald click HERE.


To read Scotch College’s interview with Colin McDonald on the occasion of his 80th birthday click HERE.


To see Colin McDonald’s career stats click HERE.


Photos: Cricinfo


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  1. I was too young to see McDonald play and he exited the Test team about the time I started to get really interested in cricket, so I can’t say too much from a personal perspective. Anecdotal comments from others who did meet him and the sentiments expressed in numerous obituaries this week, however, suggest that McDonald was a nugget to treasure. Perhaps there are some more senior Almanackers who might be able to add their thoughts.

  2. Colin Ritchie says

    Saw him play a few times, and with a common christian name he was a favourite of mine. My first memory of Colin McDonald was summer of 60/61 when the West Indies were touring, the family heading for the beach and listening to the test on the radio. In ducking a Wes Hall bouncer Colin split his pants and had to leave the field to change into a new pair. The commentators thought it quite amusing!

  3. My first memories of Colin McDonald was in the Ashes series in Australia in ’58 / ’59. On the Australia Day test in Adelaide, England won the toss and sent Australia in to bat. Richie Benaud, Australia’s captain promptly thanked Peter May (England’s captain, if I remember correctly)for handing him the test. In a wonderful opening partnership, Jimmy Burke made 66 whilst McDonald went on the make a very big hundred.With that solid base, Australia, just as Richie predicted, went on to have a memorable victory. From then on I followed McDonald’s career with much interest.

  4. Colin McDonald was commentating on ABC radio the day David Hookes belted Tony Greig for those famous 5 consecutive boundaries in the Centenary Test and he was almost in tears describing the moment, the emotion in his voice was palpable, unforgettable ……. RIP

  5. Apparently Martin Cash like his great nephew Pat was a fine athlete. Very good runner i hear. Maybe wasted at Full Back but worthy selection in the 18.

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