Brian Booth, well known for his cricket and his faith, has died in Sydney at the age of 89.
Booth, who played hockey for Australia in the 1956 Olympics, and captained Australia in cricket in the 1960s, was a middle-order batsman with a test average of 42.21.
Converted to Christianity in the 1950s, he was known for his faith and the moral dilemmas he faced when being called upon to play or practice on a Sunday.
Celebrated cricket writer Gideon Haigh, paying a tribute in The Australian newspaper recalled the challenges Booth faced after his conversion.
“‘Until that point, sport had been my God,’ Brian remembered. ‘‘Now I sensed a greater purpose in living than success in cricket.’’ On the eve of the 1960-61 first-class season, twenty-seven-year-old Brian almost retired to devote himself entirely to his work as a lay reader and youth welfare worker. His wife Judy persuaded him to carry on, and a two-year record of 1276 Sheffield Shield runs at 63 gained him the last batting spot on Australia’s 1961 Ashes tour where he made his debut,” Haigh wrote. “Still, if he was going to play, Brian was resolved to do it his way: he kept, quietly and unostentatiously, to a code, on-field and off, infused with Christian spirit. Brian was a moral man, but never moralistic.”
Sydney Anglicans, indeed Christians all over Australia, will remember Brian Booth for his books such as ‘Cricket and Christianity’ and his autobiography ‘Booth to Bat’ with a foreword by Sir Donald Bradman.
He was also a popular speaker at Christian events where he would give his testimony and had a long association with the Christian Businessmen’s Association and the Bible Society of Australia.
“Brian was quiet and sometimes reserved but always wise,” said NSW Cricket Society secretary Ronald Cardwell. “He had great recall of cricket and hockey moments and was a wonderful raconteur when the occasion called for a story. His Christian faith set him apart and he played all sport with the right spirit and attitude.”
Brian Booth died on the 19th May 2023 after being in palliative care for several weeks. He is survived by his wife Judy and four daughters.
See Sky News coverage here