As The Kia Oval becomes The Micky Stewart Oval for the duration of the LV= County Championship fixture against Yorkshire, here are some facts about the Surrey legend that you may not know.
Micky Stewart was born on September 16, 1932, in Herne Hill, south London. Since then, the United Kingdom has had five monarchs and 19 Prime Ministers.
He was born in the same year as the BBC moved into Broadcasting House (making the first experimental television broadcast several months later), the Methodist Union was formed, Thomas Beecham formed the London Philharmonic Orchestra, King George V delivered the first royal Christmas message and Hedley Verity took 10-10 for Yorkshire against Nottinghamshire. The Great Depression dominated events across the world and in the United States Franklin Roosevelt was elected president, promising a “new deal”.
In the first year of Micky Stewart’s life, England won the Ashes in Australia under Surrey skipper Douglas Jardine, in the infamous Bodyline series. They did not beat Australia again until he was a professional on the Surrey staff in 1953.
Micky Stewart claimed a world record when he took seven catches in an innings for Surrey at Northampton in 1957, finishing that season – in which Surrey claimed the County Championship title for the sixth successive season – with 77 catches, one short of Walter Hammond’s world record.
He signed professional terms with Surrey in 1953 and made his first-class debut a year later, scoring 109 against Pakistan in his second match. It was the wettest summer of the 20th century and, under the captaincy of Stuart Surridge, Surrey completed a hat-trick of County Championship titles. Stewart scoring 580 first-class runs at 29 and taking 26 catches.
Micky Stewart played eight Tests for England, his first against Pakistan at Lord’s in 1962. He scored 39 and 34no. He was vice-captain on England’s tour to India in 1963-64 but was forced to return early through illness. His last Test came in Bombay, where he was taken ill during the match. His final act as a Test cricketer was diving forward in attempting a catch and throwing up over the pitch.
He became the first professional to captain Surrey, taking over from Peter May in 1963, having led the side on a number of occasions over the previous two seasons. The differentiation between gentlemen and players had been abolished by MCC the previous winter.
Micky Stewart married Sheila in 1957 and their honeymoon was split between Bournemouth and Scarborough, the latter being the venue of champions Surrey playing The Rest. He recalls: “It was the first time they had moved the match up there, so we had the company of 12 Surrey players! Then we had to play a two-day match in Aberdeen, which is the coldest I’ve ever been playing cricket.”
His benefit year, in 1965, raised £7,000, one of the highlights being a match against the International Cavaliers at Beddington, which was shown live on BBC2.
He took one first-class wicket in his career, having Essex’s Brian Taylor caught by wicketkeeper Arnold Long for 47 at The Oval on June 29, 1965. He was the ninth bowler used in that innings, the match being drawn. He also took a wicket for the Army against Oxford University in 1951 against fellow Alleyn’s Old Boy Jimmy Crisp in a non first-class match.
Micky Stewart flew home from a private cricket tour in the Caribbean to play for Corinthian Casuals in the 1955-56 FA Amateur Cup final replay against Bishop Auckland. Sadly his journey from Trinidad to Middlesbrough’s Ayresome Park – via Caracas and New York, refuelling in Newfoundland and landing in Darlington – met serious delays and he arrived half an hour late so had to watch instead as Casuals were beaten 4-1.
Micky Stewart’s most successful first-class season came in 1962, when he scored 2,045 runs at 44.45. It was the year which brought his Test debut.
Overall, he scored 26,492 first-class runs at 32.9 in 530 matches, scoring 48 centuries. His highest score was 227no, made against Middlesex at The Oval in 1964. He also scored one List A ton, hitting 101 against Durham in 1972. In eight Tests he scored 385 runs with a best of 87.
Micky Stewart took 635 catches in first-class cricket.
At the time of his 90th birthday, Micky Stewart is the second oldest living England player, just behind his old county colleague Raman Subba Row.