Long before the likes of Kepler Wessels came along, Billy Murdoch was the first cricketer (well, him and John Ferris) to play Test cricket for two nations. Not to mention, some time before everyone had heard of Kerry Packer or Dennis Lillee, he was involved in a players strike, refusing to play unless they received a greater share of the takings on the gate.
Controversies aside, Murdoch is regarded as one of the finest batsmen of his generation, superior to all but W.G. Grace in the eyes of many.
Furthermore, like many Australians after him, he rose to the occasion when playing in England. A century in 1880 was followed by a mammoth 211 in 1884, the first double century scored in a Test match. Impressive, non?
T’Ashes Hero Moment
Scoring the first Test double century is pretty good, but that’s small fry compared to captaining the Australia side which defeated England at the Oval in 1882, which heralded the mock obituary for English cricket in The Sporting Times, thus creating the cricketing legend that is the Ashes.
This makes Murdoch perhaps the second most notorious Australian called Murdoch, just behind that guy who controls the media and took live cricket from free-to-air television and got Sir Ian Botham in as a commentator.