Graham Yallop
Graham Neil Yallop is a former cricket
Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of 11 players on an oval-shaped field, at the centre of which is a rectangular 22-yard long pitch. One team bats, trying to score as many runs as possible while the other team bowls and fields, trying to dismiss the batsmen and thus limit the...

er who played for Victoria
Victorian Bushrangers
The Victorian cricket team, nicknamed the Bushrangers, is an Australian cricket team based in Melbourne, that represents the state of Victoria. It is administered by Cricket Victoria and draws its players from Melbourne's Premier Cricket competition...

 and Australia. He captained Australia
Australian national cricket captains
Australia played in the first-ever Test match in cricket in 1877, the first-ever One Day International in 1971 and the first-ever Twenty20 international in 2005...

 briefly during the tumultuous era of World Series Cricket
World Series Cricket
World Series Cricket was a break away professional cricket competition staged between 1977 and 1979 and organised by Kerry Packer for his Australian television network, Nine Network. The matches ran in opposition to established international cricket...

 (WSC) in the late 1970s. A technically correct left-handed batsman, Yallop invariably batted near the top of the order for Australia during a stop-start career that began in 1975–76 against the West Indies. In 1978, Yallop made history as the first player to wear a full helmet in a Test match. He also enjoyed a long and successful career with his home state Victoria, leading them to two Sheffield Shield
Pura Cup
The Sheffield Shield is the domestic cricket competition of Australia. The tournament is contested between teams from the six states of Australia. Prior to the Shield being established, a number of intercolonial matches were played. The Shield, donated by Lord Sheffield, was first contested during...

 titles. Yallop remains the "forgotten" captain of Australia, as his profile is considerably less than contemporaries such as the Chappell brothers and Allan Border
Allan Border
Allan Robert Border AO is a former Australian cricketer. A batsman, Border was for many years the captain of the Australian team. His playing nickname was "A.B.". He played 156 Test matches in his career, a record until it was passed by fellow Australian Steve Waugh...

. More than any other Australian player, Yallop suffered from the chaos of the WSC split.

Early Test career

Aged 23, Yallop made his Test debut against the 1975–76 West Indians
West Indian cricket team in Australia in 1975-76
The West Indies cricket team toured Australia in the 1975-76 season and played 6 Test matches against Australia. Australia won the series 5-1.-Test series summary:* at Brisbane Cricket Ground – Australia won by 8 wickets...

 at Sydney. Several of his teammates were upset that an out of form Rick McCosker
Rick McCosker
Richard Bede McCosker is a former New South Wales and Australian cricketer.McCosker played in 25 Tests and 14 One Day Internationals in a career spanning 1975 to 1982 playing as a right hand batsman....

 had been left out to accommodate Yallop and promptly ignored him. Against the wishes of the selectors, captain Greg Chappell
Greg Chappell
Gregory Stephen Chappell MBE is a former cricketer who captained Australia between 1975 and 1977 and then joined the breakaway World Series Cricket organisation, before returning to the Australian captaincy in 1979, a position he held until his retirement 1983...

 batted Yallop at number three, ahead of both Ian
Ian Chappell
Ian Michael Chappell is a former cricketer who played for South Australia and Australia. He captained Australia between 1971 and 1975 before taking a central role in the breakaway World Series Cricket organisation...

 and Greg Chappell, using the rationale that McCosker batted there. Still, Yallop put his head down to make the most of the opportunity, playing the last three Tests of the series and averaging 44. Then, inexplicably, he was dumped for the first time, but by no means the last.

When the WSC defections hit, Yallop was not instantly recalled to the Test team. He had to wait until the final Test against India in 1977–78 and he promptly hit 121, his first Test century. Chosen for the following tour to the West Indies, Yallop was one of the few Australian players to stand up to the express bowling of the opposition, although he was prompted to wear a helmet in the Test match at Barbados
Barbados is an island country in the Lesser Antilles. It is in length and as much as in width, amounting to . It is situated in the western area of the North Atlantic and 100 kilometres east of the Windward Islands and the Caribbean Sea; therein, it is about east of the islands of Saint...

 following a blow to the jaw in a tour match. He made history as the first man to do so. In four Tests he scored three half-centuries, accumulating 317 runs at 45.29.

"A Lamb To The Slaughter"

Yallop had played just five Tests in the previous three years (for a total of eight) when suddenly, with Australia's best players still playing WSC, he was appointed captain for the 1978–79 Ashes series
English cricket team in Australia in 1978-79
The England cricket team toured Australia in the 1978-79 season to play a six-match Test series against Australia for The Ashes. England won the series 5-1, thereby retaining The Ashes....

. These were desperate times, but most observers thought veteran John Inverarity
John Inverarity
Robert John Inverarity is a former Test and first-class cricketer. A right-handed batsman and left-arm orthodox spin bowler in his playing career, Inverarity was also one of the enduring captains in the Australian Sheffield Shield during the late 1970s and early 1980s.-Cricket career:He played in...

 (who was not of test class as a player) would have been a more astute choice once the Australian Cricket Board
Cricket Australia
Cricket Australia, formerly known as the Australian Cricket Board, is the governing body for professional and amateur cricket in Australia. It was originally formed in 1905 as the Australian Board of Control for International Cricket...

 (ACB) decided that the veteran incumbent Bobby Simpson
Bob Simpson (cricketer)
Robert Baddeley Simpson AO is a former cricketer who played for New South Wales, Western Australia and Australia, captaining the national team from 1963–64 until 1967–68, and again in 1977–78. He later had a highly successful term as the coach of the Australian team...

 could not be guaranteed the captaincy for the season.

The unprepared and unsupported Yallop made a naïve prediction before the series when he said that his team would win 6–0. Yallop was "bewildered" when his "flippant" prediction was reported straight-faced by the media and taken seriously by the English players. The undermanned Australian team was annihilated 5–1, its worst thrashing in a Test series. However, history has judged Yallop harshly - at one point, Australia led by 142 runs on the first innings at Sydney, and nearly levelled the series 2-2. Although Yallop's authority disintegrated, his ability to make runs held up and he scored centuries in the first and last Tests. His 121 in the sixth Test at Sydney was a lone masterpiece as the team scored a meagre total of 198 and the second top score was 16. Yallop led the team in a Test against Pakistan just weeks later and lost again. He injured himself in a club match, which forced him out of the second (and last) Test in the series when Australia finally reversed their losing streak under Kim Hughes
Kim Hughes
Kimberley John Hughes is a former cricketer who played for Western Australia, Natal and Australia. He captained Australia in 28 Tests between 1979 and 1984 before captaining a "rebel" Australian team in a tour of South Africa, who at the time were subject to a sporting boycott.A right-handed...

. Yallop was then unceremoniously dumped as captain.

At the end of the summer, he wrote a book on his season's experiences, entitled Lambs To The Slaughter. On page one Yallop commented that "I should be bitter, but I am not," which fooled nobody. The chapter headings "Sacked", "The First Killing", "Skinned Alive", "Slaughtered" revealed his true feelings on his experience, hinting at an anger and hurt that was left partly unexplained. This tome may well have contributed to how his career unfolded when the ACB allowed the WSC players back into the Test team.

In his account of the 1978-79 Ashes
The Ashes
The Ashes is a Test cricket series played between England and Australia. It is one of the most celebrated rivalries in international cricket and dates back to 1882. It is currently played biennially, alternately in the United Kingdom and Australia. Cricket being a summer sport, and the venues...

 series "The Ashes Retained" England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 captain Mike Brearley
Mike Brearley
John Michael Brearley OBE is a former cricketer who captained the England cricket team in 31 of his 39 Test matches, winning 17 and losing only 4. He was the President of the Marylebone Cricket Club in 2007–08.-Early life:...

 reported that the English players nicknamed Yallop "Banzai" because of his tendency to adopt suicidally attacking fields at all times, when on occasion a more defensive approach may have prevented the England team's free scoring.


While fellow ACB-loyal players Kim Hughes and Allan Border enjoyed selection surety even when struggling with form, Yallop drifted in and out of the team with the breeze. Often, he was selected to plug a middle-order gap when Greg Chappell declined to tour. As an opener, he made 167 against India at Calcutta
Eden Gardens
Eden Gardens is a cricket ground in Kolkata , India. It is the home of the Bengal cricket team and the Indian Premier League's Kolkata Knight Riders, as well as being a Test and One Day International ground. It is the largest cricket stadium in India by seating capacity...

 in 1979, but was dumped one Test later. The following year, he scored an elegant 172 against Pakistan at Faisalabad
Faisalabad , formerly known as Lyallpur, is the third largest metropolis in Pakistan, the second largest in the province of Punjab after Lahore, and a major industrial center in the heart of Pakistan. Before the foundation of the city in 1880, the area was very thinly populated. The population has...

 yet found himself on the outer two Tests afterwards. Although one of the many Australian batsman who struggled on the 1981 Ashes tour, Yallop hit 114 at Old Trafford then was again dropped two games later. After a golden summer of form in the Sheffield Shield in 1982–83, he was finally given an extended run of Tests in Australia during the season of 1983–84. His monumental 268, scored over two days in the Boxing Day Test against the Pakistanis, was the highlight of a series when he totalled 554 runs at 92.33 average. following the retirement of the "big three" (Dennis Lillee
Dennis Lillee
Dennis Keith Lillee, AM, MBE is a former Australian cricketer rated as the "outstanding fast bowler of his generation"...

, Greg Chappell and Rod Marsh
Rod Marsh
Rodney William Marsh MBE is a former Australian wicketkeeper.A colourful character, Marsh had a Test career spanning from the 1970–71 to the 1983–84 Australian season. In 96 Tests, he set a world record of 355 wicketkeeping dismissals, the same number his pace bowling Western...

) in 1984, the experience that Yallop could have offered was not utilised. Instead, his international career was over after just two more Tests.

Yallop must carry some blame for this fickleness. Englishman Mike Brearley
Mike Brearley
John Michael Brearley OBE is a former cricketer who captained the England cricket team in 31 of his 39 Test matches, winning 17 and losing only 4. He was the President of the Marylebone Cricket Club in 2007–08.-Early life:...

 (his opposite number in the 1978–79 series) noted that Yallop used to "... slide his back foot to and fro in a grandmotherly shuffle ... More than most Test players, Yallop can range from the inept to the masterly." In his final Test, in November 1984, Yallop failed against the West Indian fast bowlers. In scoring 2 and 1, he looked very uncomfortable. An injury sustained while making a sliding save in a one-day match ended his season. Much was made of Yallop's susceptibility to fast bowling because of an unusual incident on the 1981 tour of England. Skipper Kim Hughes shepherded him from Bob Willis
Bob Willis
Robert George Dylan Willis MBE , known as Bob Willis, is a former English cricketer who played for Surrey, Warwickshire, Northern Transvaal and England...

's bowling, even though Yallop never asked him to. Commentating on the match, Richie Benaud
Richie Benaud
Richard "Richie" Benaud OBE is a former Australian cricketer who, since his retirement from international cricket in 1964, has become a highly regarded commentator on the game....

 called Hughes's actions "as curious a captaincy decision as I have ever seen". Undoubtedly, Yallop was more at home against slow bowling and was considered one of the best players of spinners during an era when few existed. Although not ideally suited to the one-day game, Yallop's ODI figures are good and he played in the World Cups of 1979 and 1983. He was a safe fielder behind the wicket and was often positioned in the gully.


Some statistics underline Yallop's ability. He averaged better than one century every five Tests and never went more than six consecutive Tests without a hundred. Batting first wicket down, his Test average is 52.42, which beats legendary number threes such as Neil Harvey
Neil Harvey
Robert Neil Harvey MBE is a former Australian cricketer who represented the Australian cricket team between 1948 and 1963, playing in 79 Test matches. He was the vice-captain of the team from 1957 until his retirement...

, Ian Chappell, David Boon
David Boon
David Clarence Boon MBE , nicknamed Boony, is a former Australian cricketer whose international playing career spanned the years 1984–1995...

 and Ricky Ponting
Ricky Ponting
Ricky Thomas Ponting , nicknamed Punter, is an Australian cricketer, a former captain of the Australian cricket team between 2004 and 2011 in Test cricket and 2002 and 2011 in One Day International cricket. He is a specialist right-handed batsman, slips and close catching fielder, as well as a very...

. In his final seven Tests, Yallop scored 655 runs at 72. Unfortunately for Yallop, as he wrote in Lambs To The Slaughter:

My name is now eternally entrenched in the record books as the man who led this country to that ignominious hiding against England.

Yallop finished his major cricket career in South Africa as a member of the rebel Australian team led by Kim Hughes. There was no little irony that the two men, who had led the official Australian team during the dark days of WSC, were now playing for private promoters. It was a measure of the disorganisation that befell Australian cricket in the mid-1980s. After two seasons in South Africa without major success, Yallop returned to the relative obscurity of district cricket in Melbourne, playing for the South Melbourne
Casey-South Melbourne Cricket Club
The Casey-South Melbourne Cricket Club is a cricket club located in the outer south-eastern Melbourne suburb of Cranbourne East, which plays in the Victorian Premier Cricket competition. Founded in 1862 as South Melbourne, it has produced nine Australian Test captains, more than any other cricket...

 and Ringwood
Ringwood Cricket Club
The Ringwood Cricket Club is a cricket club based in Ringwood, in the outer eastern suburbs of Melbourne, Australia. It fields four sides in Victorian Premier Cricket as well as a fifth side in the Eastern Cricket Association and several junior sides in the Ringwood & District Cricket Association.-...


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