Bill O�Reilly

Bill O'Reilly was described by Don Bradman as the best bowler he ever faced or saw.

b. 20 December 1905, d. 6 October 1992 - Australia
Played cricket for Australia

Guileful and unfailingly accurate

Possessed of an imposing physique and fiery temperament, Bill O'Reilly was a unique bowler. Nominally a leg-spinner he bowled at medium pace with arms and legs flailing and extracted intimidating bounce. Guileful and unfailingly accurate 'Tiger', as he was known, was not a man to be crossed. He first played for New South Wales in 1927-28 but country postings as a schoolteacher delayed his inevitable ascent to the international arena until 1931-32. He was Australia's pre-eminent spin bowler until the outbreak of World War II and showcasing a wicked googly formed a devastating partnership with Clarrie Grimmett. He became a renowned critic protecting the interests of spin bowlers and advancing their cause and lived to see Shane Warne debut.

'O'Reilly was one whose bowling I could never get hold of properly... time after time he got my wicket and I was left to puzzle what I'd done wrong'. Wally Hammond
'It was nothing short of remarkable that despite the moderate support accorded to him he bowled so consistently well and so effectively... when the wicket gave him the least encouragement he robbed the greatest batsmen of initiative, and was most destructive... He is emphatically one of the greatest bowlers of all time.' Wisden, 1939

The Stats

  • Tests
  • 27
  • Batting Stats
  • Aggregate: 410
  • Highest Score: 56*
  • Centuries: 0
  • Average: 12.81
  • Bowling Stats
  • Wickets: 144
  • Best bowling: 7/54
  • Runs: 3,254
  • Average: 22.60

Bill O'Reilly's triumph is the spirit with which he bowled, never succumbing to any of the injuries or ailments that troubled most bowlers, but the conscientious and tireless application to his task - wearing the batsman down with a combination of skill, endurance and guile.

Did you know?

In Bill O'Reilly's first Test, he took 4/155, as Australia won at Adelaide and, as the last batsman, was run out with Bradman stranded on 299 at the other end. O'Reilly twice dismissed 9 different opposition batsmen in a match.

bottom curve


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