Former England wicketkeeper-batter Jim Parks, who played 46 Tests between 1954 and 1968, has died aged 90, his county Sussex announced on Tuesday.
At the time of his death, he was England’s oldest living Test cricketer.
“Sussex Cricket is deeply saddened to announce the death of Jim Parks at the age of 90,” the club said in a statement.
“Jim died in Worthing hospital this morning after a fall at home last week.”
Born in 1931, Parks made his debut for Sussex at the age of 18 and went on to play in 739 first class matches and 132 List A games for the county.
He was picked purely as a batsman for a single Test against Pakistan in 1954 but he only really made an impact once he took up wicketkeeping four years later.
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“It came about by accident,” he once said.
“I didn’t keep wicket at the start of my career. I was a specialist batsman. A couple of years after that, Sussex were playing against Essex in a Championship game at Chelmsford, when our wicketkeeper, Rupert Webb got injured.
“Robin Marlar, the Sussex captain, looked at me and said “You’re doing it.”
Once a leg-break bowler of some skill, Parks was a natural with the gloves and within 18 months had been recalled by England. He was to remain a mainstay of the side for much of the 1960s.
As a batsman he scored nearly 2,000 runs for England at an average of 32, chalking up two centuries — 101 not out against West Indies in Port of Spain, batting at number eight, in the 1959/60 series, and 108 not out against South Africa in Durban in 1964.
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An attacking batsman, he took easily to the advent of one-day cricket in England in 1963 and helped Sussex to win the first two Gillette Cups.
In 1973, after 23 years with Sussex Jim joined Somerset, where he played until just before his 47th birthday. He would later return to Sussex as marketing manager and had two spells as the county’s president.
His father, another Jim, also played for Sussex and one Test for England against New Zealand in 1937 while his son Bobby was a long-serving wicketkeeper for Hampshire.
“This is incredibly sad news,” said England and Wales Cricket Board chief executive Tom Harrison.
“Jim’s passion for the game was evident to all who knew him.
“He enjoyed a remarkable career and was a fine servant to Sussex, Somerset and England over many years. Our thoughts are with his friends and family.”
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