Fast bowling is one of two main approaches to bowling in the sport of cricket, the other being spin bowling. Practitioners of pace bowling are known as fast bowlers, quicks, or pacemen, they can be referred to as a seam bowler or a'fast bowler who can swing it' to reflect the predominant characteristic of their deliveries. Speaking, a pure swing bowler does not need to have a high degree of pace, though dedicated medium-pace swing bowlers are seen at Test level these days; the aim of fast bowling is to deliver the ball in such a fashion as to cause the batsman to make a mistake. The bowler achieves this by making the hard cricket ball deviate from a predictable, linear trajectory at a speed that limits the time the batsman has to compensate for it. For deviation caused by the ball's stitching, the ball bounces off the pitch and deflects either away from the batsman's body, or inwards towards them. Swing bowlers on the other hand use the seam of the ball but in a different way. To'bowl swing' is to induce a curved trajectory of the cricket ball through the air.
Swing bowlers use a combination of seam orientation, body position at the point of release, asymmetric ball polishing, variations in delivery speed to affect an aerodynamic influence on the ball. The ability of a bowler to induce lateral deviation or'sideways movement' make it difficult for the batsman to address the flight of the ball accurately. Beyond this ability to create an unpredictable path of ball trajectory, the fastest bowlers can be potent by delivering a ball at such a rate that a batsman fails to react either or at all. A typical fast delivery has a speed in the range of 137–153 km/h, it is possible for a bowler to concentrate on speed when young, but as fast bowlers mature they pick up new skills and tend to rely more on swing bowling or seam bowling techniques. Most fast bowlers specialise in one of these two areas and are sometimes categorised as swing or seam bowler. However, this classification is not satisfactory because the categories are not mutually exclusive and a skilled bowler bowls a mixture of fast, swinging and cutting balls—even if he prefers one style to the others.
For simplicity, it is common to subdivide fast bowlers according to the average speed of their deliveries, as follows. There is a degree of subjectivity in the usage of these terms. For comparison, most spin bowlers in professional cricket bowl at average speeds of 70 to 90 km/h. Shoaib Akhtar, Brett Lee, Shaun Tait, Jeff Thomson and Mitchell Starc have clocked over 160 km/h and are categorised as "Ultra Fast" bowlers although bowling at speeds lower than this mark. While Steven Finn is classified as a fast-medium bowler by Cricinfo, he can bowl at around 145 km/h, with his fastest clocked at 151.9 km/h, making him the 10th fastest amongst active bowlers as of 3 January 2015 The first thing a fast bowler needs to do is to grip the ball correctly. The basic fast bowling grip to achieve maximum speed is to hold the ball with the seam upright and to place the index and middle fingers close together at the top of the seam with the thumb gripping the ball at the bottom of the seam; the image to the right shows the correct grip.
The first two fingers and the thumb should hold the ball forward of the rest of the hand, the other two fingers should be tucked into the palm. The ball is held quite loosely so. Other grips are possible, result in different balls – see swing and seam bowling below; the bowler holds their other hand over the hand gripping the ball until the latest possible moment so that the batsman cannot see what type of ball is being bowled. A fast bowler needs to take a longer run-up toward the wicket than a spinner, due to the need to generate the momentum and rhythm required to bowl a fast delivery. Fast bowlers measure their preferred run up in strides, mark the distance from the wicket, it is important for the bowler to know how long the run-up is because it must terminate behind the popping crease. A bowler who steps on or beyond this has bowled a no-ball, which affords the batsman immunity from dismissal, adds one run to the batting team's score, forces the bowler to bowl another ball in the over. At the end of the run-up the bowler brings his lead foot down on the pitch with the knee as straight as possible.
This can be dangerous due to the pressure it places on the joint. Knee injuries are not uncommon amongst fast bowlers: for example, the English pace bowler David Lawrence was sidelined for many months after splitting his kneecap in two; the pressure on the leading foot is such that some fast bowlers cut the front off their shoes to stop their toes from being injured as they are pressed against the inside of the shoe. The bowler brings the bowling arm up over their head and releases the ball at the height appropriate to where they want the ball to pitch. Again, the arm must be straight though this is a stipulation of the laws of cricket rather than an aid to speed. Bending the elbow and "chucking" the ball would make it too easy for the bowler to aim at the batsman's wicket and get them out. Fast bowlers tend to have an action that leaves them either side-on or chest-on at the end of the run up. A chest-on bowler has chest and hips aligned towards the batsman at the instant of back foot contact, while a side-on bowler has chest and hips aligned at ninety degrees to the batsman at the instant of back foot contact.
West Indian bowler Malcolm Marshall was a c
Edgar Arthur "Ted" McDonald was a cricketer who played for Tasmania, Victoria and Australia, as well as being an Australian rules footballer who played with Launceston Football Club, Essendon Football Club, Fitzroy Football Club. A fast bowler with the ability to cause problems on docile pitches, Ted McDonald was the unexpected bowling sensation of the 1921 Australian tour to England, he and Jack Gregory caused something approaching panic among the England batsmen: John Evans' knees were knocking together when he went out to bat, Andy Ducat was bowled when part of his bat, broken by McDonald's pace, hit the wicket. Where Gregory was able to swing the ball both ways, McDonald imparted vicious movement off the wicket. Like fast bowling pairs, they were devastating in combination, taking 46 wickets in the series. McDonald played a few matches for Victoria before the First World War, but came to prominence after it with eight wickets in an innings in a state match, he was picked for three Test matches in the 1920–21 series against England, which Australia won 5–0, but had little success, his six wickets costing 65 runs each.
In England the following summer, though, he was an instant success, taking eight wickets in the first Test at Trent Bridge and contributing to the victories at Lord's and Headingley that won the series. McDonald was named as a Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1922 for his exploits of the previous summer. After the England tour, McDonald played in three Tests against South Africa in the 1921–22 series in South Africa. Those, were his last Tests – all of his Test cricket was contained within the calendar year of 1921 – as he took up an engagement as a professional with the Lancashire League club Nelson. By 1924, McDonald had qualified to play for Lancashire because of his League commitments, in midweek games only. Again, he was a sensation. In his first full season, 1925, he took 205 wickets, in the five seasons from 1926 to 1930, Lancashire won the County Championship four times, the most successful period in the county's history. In all, he took 1053 wickets for Lancashire, his value to the county was recognised in the award of a benefit in 1929, an unusually fast reward, for he had been playing county cricket for only five seasons.
McDonald's first-class career ended suddenly. His form dipped in 1930, though he still took more than 100 wickets, but in 1931, he lost form entirely, taking just 26 wickets all season and being left out of the county team for half the matches. At the end of the season, he went back to the Lancashire League with Bacup. McDonald died at the age of 46, when his car collided with another near Bolton, England, on the morning of 22 July 1937. McDonald played Australian rules football for Launceston, for Essendon Football Club and Fitzroy Football Club. List of Victoria first-class cricketers List of Tasmanian representative cricketers List of Australian rules football and cricket players Maplestone, M. Flying Higher: History of the Essendon Football Club 1872–1996, Essendon Football Club, 1996. ISBN 0-9591740-2-8 Peter Pierce, "McDonald, Edgar Arthur ", pp.pp 249–250 in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Vol.10, Melbourne University Press, 1986. Media related to Ted McDonald at Wikimedia Commons Ted McDonald's playing statistics from AFL Tables Cricinfo Player Profile: Ted McDonald Peter Pierce, "McDonald, Edgar Arthur ", Australian Dictionary of Biography, Online Edition Brydon Coverdale, "Australia's Winter Allrounders: XI Test Cricketers who played Australian Rules football at the highest level" Cricinfo, 28 May 2007 Tasmanian Sporting Hall of Fame Member's Biography: Edgar Arthur McDonald, Cricket
Maurice William Tate was an English cricketer of the 1920s and 1930s and the leader of England's Test bowling attack for a long time during this period. He was the first Sussex cricketer to take a wicket with his first ball in Test cricket; the son of Sussex off spinner Fred Tate and nicknamed "Chubby", Maurice began his career for Sussex as a hard-hitting batsman and spin bowler with one match in 1912. He played a few matches in 1913 and 1914, but established himself as a batsman in 1919 by scoring over a thousand runs for the first of eleven consecutive seasons. In the following two years, Tate's batting developed further with a double hundred against Northamptonshire in 1921 representing his highest first-class score. However, his bowling remained secondary throughout this period. In 1922 Tate had, aided by some poor batting sides, enjoyed more success as a bowler than in previous years. However, in a famous incident at practice with his captain Arthur Gilligan, he bowled a faster ball, it scattered the stumps.
This led to the famous quote "Maurice, you must change your style of bowling immediately". From on Tate developed as a tireless fast-medium bowler and the founder of modern seam bowling. Though not exceptionally fast through the air, Tate gave the illusion of gaining speed off the pitch, his easy, rhythmic action and solid build allowed him to do a great amount of bowling – his bowling of 9567 deliveries in 1925 is unparalleled among bowlers of medium pace or above, this when he was still opening the batting for Sussex in many matches. From 1923 to 1925, Tate had great success, not only in county cricket, but in Test matches. In each of those years he took over 200 wickets, but his batting did not suffer though Sussex were weak in this department and though bowling support from Gilligan disappeared after 1924 due to a serious injury. In 1924, on his Test debut, he and Gilligan dismissed South Africa for 30 in just 12.3 overs in the first innings of the First Test, played at Edgbaston. He took 4/12 with Gilligan taking 6/7.
Moreover, when he toured Australia in 1924-5, on pitches which had proved too much for all English bowlers since Sydney Barnes and Frank Foster in 1911/1912, Tate took 38 wickets and got through over 600 balls in three of the five Tests with no useful bowling support. It is still the record number of wickets by an Englishman in an Ashes series in Australia. In the following six years, Tate's grand all-round service to Sussex and England continued, with his batting reaching a peak in 1927, when he hit five centuries for Sussex. In 1929, Tate hit his only Test century against South Africa, but from 1930, whilst he remained a force as a bowler, his batting declined and he began to go in late in the order; the storm created by Don Bradman. From that time, with exceptionally fast bowlers such as Harold Larwood and Bill Voce available, Tate was no longer an essential member of the England side, though he was still a match-winner for Sussex with 164 wickets in 1932. On his third tour of Australia, he did not play a Test match, with Larwood unavailable in 1934, Tate was not chosen for any Test.
In 1936, Tate's bowling waned, except for 7 for 19 against Hampshire, he was much more expensive than before, after 1937, when he had been in and out of the first eleven, Sussex chose not to retain Tate any longer, but he continued to be a keen observer of the game until his death. Tate continues to hold the record for the most wickets in a season outside England, he achieved the exceptional double of 200 wickets in a season three years running. His career total of 2,784 wickets is the 11th highest and with 21,717 runs he is one of only nine people to get a career double of 20,000 runs and 2,000 wickets, he took three hat tricks in his career. He was Wisden Cricketer of the year in 1924. Tate was one of the fastest scorer in Test cricket history. Media related to Maurice Tate at Wikimedia Commons Test Bowling in Each Season By Maurice Tate First-Class Batting And Fielding In Each Season By Maurice Tate First-Class Bowling In Each Season By Maurice Tate
Batting average (cricket)
In cricket, a player's batting average is the total number of runs they have scored divided by the number of times they have been out. Since the number of runs a player scores and how they get out are measures of their own playing ability, independent of their teammates, batting average is a good metric for an individual player's skill as a batter; the number is simple to interpret intuitively. If all the batter's innings were completed, this is the average number of runs they score per innings. If they did not complete all their innings, this number is an estimate of the unknown average number of runs they score per innings; each player has several batting averages, with a different figure calculated for each type of match they play, a player's batting averages may be calculated for individual seasons or series, or at particular grounds, or against particular opponents, or across their whole career. Batting average has been used to gauge cricket players' relative skills since the 18th century.
Most players have career batting averages in the range of 20 to 40. This is the desirable range for wicket-keepers, though some fall short and make up for it with keeping skill; until a substantial increase in scores in the 21st century due to improved bats and smaller grounds among other factors, players who sustained an average above 50 through a career were considered exceptional, before the development of the heavy roller in the 1870s an average of 25 was considered good. All-rounders who are more prominent bowlers than batsmen average something between 20 and 30. 15 and under is typical for specialist bowlers. A small number of players have averaged less than 5 for a complete career, though a player with such an average is a liability unless an exceptional bowler as Alf Valentine, B. S. Chandrasekhar or Glenn McGrath were. Career records for batting average are subject to a minimum qualification of 20 innings played or completed, in order to exclude batsmen who have not played enough games for their skill to be reliably assessed.
Under this qualification, the highest Test batting average belongs to Australia's Sir Donald Bradman, with 99.94. Given that a career batting average over 50 is exceptional, that only five other players have averages over 60, this is an outstanding statistic; the fact that Bradman's average is so far above that of any other cricketer has led several statisticians to argue that, statistically at least, he was the greatest athlete in any sport. Disregarding this 20 innings qualification, the highest career test batting average is 112, by Andy Ganteaume, a Trinidadian Keeper-batsman, dismissed for 112 in his only test innings. Batting averages in One Day International cricket tend to be lower than in Test cricket, because of the need to score runs more and take riskier strokes and the lesser emphasis on building a large innings, it should be remembered in relation to the ODI histogram above, that there were no ODI competitions when Bradman played. If a batter has been dismissed in every single innings this statistic gives the average number of runs they score per innings.
However, for a batter with innings which finished not out, the true average number of runs they score per innings is unknown as it is not known how many runs they would have scored if they could have completed all their not out innings. This statistic is an estimate of the average number of runs. If their scores have a geometric distribution this statistic is the maximum likelihood estimate of their true unknown average. Batting averages can be affected by the number of not outs. For example, Phil Tufnell, noted for his poor batting, has an respectable ODI average of 15, despite a highest score of only 5 not out, as he scored an overall total of 15 runs from 10 innings, but was out only once. A batter who has not been dismissed in any of the innings over which their average is being calculated does not have a batting average, as dividing by zero does not give a result. Highest career batting averages in Test matches. Table shows players with at least 20 innings completed. * denotes not out. Last updated: 14 October 2018.
Highest career batting averages in First-class cricket as follows: Source: Cricinfo Statsguru. Table shows players with at least 50 innings batted, note this table has no requirement for minimum number of runs scored. * denotes not out. Last updated: 10 November 2018. Alternative measures of batting effectiveness have been developed, including: Strike rate measures a different concept to batting average – how the batter scores – so it does not supplant the role of batting average, it is used in limited overs matches, where the speed at which a batter scores is more important than it is in first-class cricket. A system of player rankings was developed to produce a better indication of players' current standings than is provided by comparing their averages. Cricket statistics Batting average Bowling average
An all-rounder is a cricketer who performs well at both batting and bowling. Although all bowlers must bat and quite a few batsmen do bowl most players are skilled in only one of the two disciplines and are considered specialists; some wicket-keepers have the skills of a specialist batsman and have been referred to as all-rounders, but the term wicketkeeper-batsman is more applied to them if they are substitute wicketkeepers who bowl. There is no precise qualification for a player to be considered an all-rounder and use of the term tends to be subjective; the accepted criterion is that a "genuine all-rounder" is someone whose batting or bowling skills, considered alone, would be good enough to win him/her a place in the team. Another definition of a "genuine all-rounder" is a player who can through both batting and bowling "win matches for the team". By either definition, a genuine all-rounder is quite rare and valuable to a team operating as two players. Confusion sometimes arises. For example, West Indies pace bowler Malcolm Marshall achieved ten scores of 50 or above in 107 Test innings between 1978 and 1991, but had a batting average of less than 19.
He would be termed a "useful lower-order batsman", or indeed "a bowler who bats a bit". A specialist batsman/woman may be termed a "useful change bowler" and a good example of this is Australian Allan Border, who in a Test match against the West Indies in Sydney in January 1989 took 11 wickets for 96 runs as the conditions suited his used left-arm spin. One of the main constraints to becoming a recognised all-rounder is that batsmen/women and bowlers "peak" at different ages. Batsmen/women tend to reach their peak in their late twenties after their technique has matured through experience. Conversely, fast bowlers peak in their early to mid twenties at the height of their physical prowess. Other bowlers spinners but fast bowlers who can "swing" the ball, are most effective in their careers. In 2013, Ali Bacher used statistical analysis to argue that there had only been 42 genuine all-rounders in the history of Test cricket, he rated Garry Sobers as the best, followed by Jacques Kallis. One used statistical rule of thumb is that a player's batting average should be greater than his/her bowling average.
In Test cricket, only three players have batting averages that are 20 greater than their bowling average over their entire careers (with: Garfield Sobers, Jacques Kallis and Wally Hammond. However, some other players have achieved such a differential over significant parts of their careers, such as Imran Khan. Doug Walters achieved the 20-run average differential with a batting average of 48.26 and a bowling average of 29.08, however he was regarded as an occasional bowler who could break partnerships rather than a genuine all-rounder. In overall first-class cricket, there are several players with higher batting averages. Statistically, few can challenge Frank Woolley who had a batting average of 40.77 and a bowling average of 19.87. Woolley took over 2000 wickets in his career, scored more runs than anyone except Jack Hobbs and is the only non-wicketkeeper to have taken more than 1000 catches. Many all-rounders are better at bowling than vice versa. Few are good at both and hardly any have been outstanding at both.
Thus the terms "bowling all-rounder" and "batting all-rounder" have come into use. For example, Richard Hadlee had an excellent bowling average of 22.29 in Tests and a solid batting average of 27.16, leading him to be termed a "bowling all-rounder". Meanwhile, a player like Jacques Kallis is known as a "batting all-rounder". Batting all-rounders may not bowl much due to injury concerns, or their batting skills are far better than their bowling to begin with to the point they revert to being known as a batsman. V. E. Walker of Middlesex, playing for All-England versus Surrey at The Oval on 21, 22 & 23 July 1859, took all ten wickets in the Surrey first innings and followed this by scoring 108 in the England second innings, having been the not out batsman in the first, he took a further four wickets in Surrey's second innings. All-England won by 392 runs. On 15 August 1862, E. M. Grace carried his bat through the entire MCC innings, scoring 192 not out of a total of 344. Bowling underarm, he took all 10 wickets in the Kent first innings for 69 runs.
However, this is not an official record. The first player to perform the double of 1000 runs and 100 wickets in an English season was W. G. Grace in 1873, he scored 2139 runs at 71.30 and took 106 wickets at 12.94. Grace completed eight doubles to 1886 and it was not until 1882 that another player accomplished the feat. In the 1906 English cricket season, George Herbert Hirst achieved the unique feat of scoring over 2000 runs and taking over 200 wickets, he scored 2385 runs including six centuries at 45.86 with a highest score of 169. He took 208 wickets at 16.50 with a best analysis of 7/18
Clarence Victor "Clarrie" Grimmett was a cricketer. He is thought by many to be one of the finest early spin bowlers, credited as the developer of the flipper. Grimmett was born in Dunedin, New Zealand, on Christmas Day, leading Bill O'Reilly to say that he "must have been the best Christmas present Australia received from that country."A schoolmaster encouraged him to concentrate on spin bowling rather than fast bowling. He played club cricket in Wellington, made his first-class debut for Wellington at the age of 17. At that time, New Zealand was not a Test cricketing nation, in 1914 he moved to neighbouring Australia as now one of the sport's superpowers, he played club cricket in Sydney for three years. In his first match in senior cricket he took 12 wickets for 65 runs. After marrying a Victorian, he moved to Melbourne, he moved to South Australia in 1923, but it is for his performances in Test cricket for the Australian cricket team that he is best remembered. Grimmett played 37 Tests between 1924 and 1936, taking 216 wickets at an average of just 24.21 runs apiece.
He took two five wicket hauls on debut against England in Sydney in 1925. He became the first bowler to reach the milestone of taking 200 Test wickets, is one of only four Test bowlers that played in their first Test after the age of thirty to take more than 100 wickets, the other three being Dilip Doshi, Saeed Ajmal and Ryan Harris, he took an average of six wickets per match. Many wickets in the last four years of his Test career were taken bowling in tandem with fellow leg-spinner Bill O'Reilly. Grimmett remains the one of the few bowlers with career figures of over 200 wickets in fewer than 40 Tests, he held the record for the fastest bowler doing so in his 36th match. The record stood for 82 years, until Yasir Shah of Pakistan broke that mark in December 2018 against New Zealand, he took a five-wicket haul on 21 occasions, seven times finishing with ten wickets or more in a match. His Test career only began when he was aged 33, ended when he was 44, playing his last Test against South Africa in Durban.
Despite taking 44 wickets in the series, continued success in first-class cricket, he was dropped for the 1936/7 series at home against England, replaced by Frank Ward, did not join the 1938 tour to England. His first-class records holds a total of 1,424 wickets in 248 matches between 1911 and 1941, again at a rate close to six wickets per match; this total included 5 wicket bags on over 120 occasions and – in one performance for a touring Australian side against Yorkshire in 1930, he took 10 wickets for 37 runs off 22.3 overs, one of only a small number of players to have claimed all of the wickets in an innings. He took 513 wickets in his 79 Sheffield Shield matches. Grimmett was a Wisden Cricketer of the same year as Donald Bradman, he died in Adelaide in 1980, but was posthumously inducted into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame in 1996 as one of the ten inaugural members. On 30 September 2009, Clarrie Grimmett was inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame. List of South Australian representative cricketers List of Victoria first-class cricketers List of international cricket five-wicket hauls by Clarrie Grimmett Media related to Clarrie Grimmett at Wikimedia Commons Clarrie Grimmett at ESPNcricinfo Clarrie Grimmett at CricketArchive
William Harold "Bill" Ponsford MBE was an Australian cricketer. Playing as an opening batsman, he formed a successful and long-lived partnership opening the batting for Victoria and Australia with Bill Woodfull, his friend and state and national captain. Ponsford is the only player to twice break the world record for the highest individual score in first-class cricket. Ponsford holds the Australian record for a partnership in Test cricket, set in 1934 in combination with Donald Bradman —the man who broke many of Ponsford's other individual records. In fact, he along with Don Bradman set the record for the highest partnership for any wicket in Test cricket history when playing on away soil Despite being built, Ponsford was quick on his feet and renowned as one of the finest players of spin bowling, his bat, much heavier than the norm and nicknamed "Big Bertha", allowed him to drive powerfully and he possessed a strong cut shot. However, critics questioned his ability against fast bowling, the hostile short-pitched English bowling in the Bodyline series of 1932–33 was a contributing factor in his early retirement from cricket a year and a half later.
Ponsford represented his state and country in baseball, credited the sport with improving his cricketing skills. Ponsford was a taciturn man. After retiring from cricket, he went to some lengths to avoid interaction with the public, he spent over three decades working for the Melbourne Cricket Club, where he had some responsibility for the operations of the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the scene of many of his great performances with the bat. In 1981 the Western Stand at the MCG was renamed the WH Ponsford Stand in his honour; this stand was demolished in 2003 as part of the redevelopment of the ground for the 2006 Commonwealth Games, but its replacement was named the WH Ponsford Stand. At the completion of the stadium redevelopment in 2005, a statue of Ponsford was installed outside the pavilion gates. In recognition of his contributions as a player, Ponsford was one of the ten initial inductees into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame; the son of William and Elizabeth Ponsford, Bill Ponsford was born in the Melbourne suburb of Fitzroy North on 19 October 1900.
His father was a postman whose family had emigrated from Devon to Bendigo, Victoria, to work in the mines during the 1850s gold rush. His mother was born in the goldfields, at Guildford, before moving to Melbourne with her father, a Crown Lands bailiff. Ponsford grew up on Newry St in Fitzroy North, attended the nearby Alfred Crescent School, which stood beside the Edinburgh Gardens. Ponsford learnt the rudiments of cricket from his uncle Cuthbert Best—a former club player for Fitzroy, he had the best batting and bowling averages for his school team in 1913, 1914 and 1915 and rose to the captaincy. His local grade club, awarded Ponsford a medallion—presented by the local mayor—for being his school's outstanding cricketer in the 1913–14 and 1914–15 seasons; the medallion was awarded along with an honorary membership of the club, Ponsford trained enthusiastically, running from school to the nearby Brunswick Street Oval in the Edinburgh Gardens to practise in the nets. Les Cody, the general secretary of Fitzroy Cricket Club and a first-class cricketer with New South Wales and Victoria, was Ponsford's first cricketing role model.
In December 1914, Ponsford completed his schooling and earned a qualifying certificate, which allowed him to continue his education at a high school should he wish. He instead chose to attend a private training college, Hassett's, to study for the Bank Clerk's exam. Ponsford passed the exam and commenced employment with the State Savings Bank at the Elizabeth Street head office in early 1916. In May 1916, the Ponsford family moved to Orrong Rd in a wealthier part of Melbourne. Ponsford played with Fitzroy in a minor league for the remainder of the 1915–16 season, but under the geographical "zoning" rules in place for club cricket, he was required to transfer to St Kilda Cricket Club in the following season; the First World War and the creation of the First Australian Imperial Force led to a significant shortage of players available for cricket. As a result, Ponsford was called up to make his first-grade debut for St Kilda during the 1916–17 season, just one week before his sixteenth birthday.
This match was against his old club Fitzroy, was played at the familiar Brunswick Street Oval. The young Ponsford's shot-making lacked power, after making twelve singles, he was bowled, he played ten matches in his first season with the St Kilda First XI and averaged 9.30 runs per innings. By the 1918–19 season, Ponsford topped the club batting averages with an average of 33, he topped the bowling averages, taking 10 wickets at an average of 16.50 runs per wicket with his leg spin. Despite failing to score a century for his club side, Ponsford was called up to represent Victoria against the visiting England team in February 1921—his first-class cricket debut, his selection was controversial. Armstrong's omission sparked a series of angry public meetings protesting against the perceived persecution of Armstrong by administrators. While making his way to the Melbourne Cricket Ground for the match, Ponsford had to walk through demonstrators carrying placards that denounced his selection at the expense of Armstrong.
Without Armstrong, the Victorians were comfortably beaten by Johnny Douglas's English team by sev