Spin Bowling Legend Peter Philpott Passes Away

Former Australian test cricketer Peter Philpott who was also widely known around the world for his extensive coaching career has passed away at the age of 87.

Peter ‘Percy’ Philpott represented his country only eight times, while playing for New South Wales over 70 times and captaining his state from 1963-65. However his contribution to the world of cricket coaching and spin bowling in particular is what many will remember him for.   

During the 1970’s and 80’s when spin bowling and wrist-spin in particular had come to be seen as tactically unviable in top level cricket, Philpott along with others, insisted on keeping the art form alive. 

This would be rewarded in the 1990s as spin bowling became vital tactically at the highest level, most notably with the immense rise of Shane Warne. 

Philpott coached at international level with Australia and Sri Lanka, as well as domestically with South Australia, Yorkshire and Surrey. At club level he would go on to coach future Ireland captain Trent Johnston at Mosman Cricket Club. Niall O’Brien would go on to live with the Philpott family during his stint at the club. 

Aside from coaching, Peter worked as a teacher for over 50 years as well as writing books.

In his memoir Two Times Thirty-Five, Philpott documented the extent of a lifelong heart condition, and claims as a child to have overheard doctors tell his parents that he would not live beyond 35. This would motivate him on the field and in life. 

Philpott as a member of England coaching staff in 1998.

A strong advocate for spin bowling when it wasn’t popular, ironically he could have benefited from such a situation as a player. Although talented, and a consistent performer domestically, Philpott suffered from a wealth of contemporary talent including Australian captain Richie Benaud. 

After a very success debut series, Peter would eventually retire from international cricket at just 31, having been dropped from the side. 

In his coaching manual ‘The Art Of Wrist-Spin’, he saw a long history of Australian spin bowlers going back to Clarrie Grimmet, Bill O’Reilly, right up to Shane Warne. This was integral to how he believed the game should be played. 

A major part of this tradition will be missing after the deaths of Peter Philpott and Ashley Mallett over the weekend. And the wider Australian cricket fraternity too with the passing of Alan Davidson.

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