Coming from a cricketing family, Hugh Tayfield was one of the most successful spinners of his time. Bowling off spinners for South Africa, he did not spin the ball too much, but relied on his patience, stamina and guile to outfox the batsmen. He could bowl through the day, holding one end up, till the batsmen lost their patience and played a rash stroke.
In fact, Tayfield holds a record of bowling 137 consecutive dot balls in a Test match against England in 1956. His accuracy allowed him to set very unorthodox fields, like having a vacant extra cover region to entice the batsman to drive through it, and then waiting patiently for him to make a mistake of executing the shot wrongly. This earned him a huge percentage of his 170 Test wickets, at a very low average of around 25 per wicket. He had a rather strange habit of grounding his toes into the pitch, giving him the nickname of Toey. However, over the period of years, his career began to wane, till he finally played his last Test in 1960.
Tayfield had a difficult life post cricket. He married and divorced five times, and was ill for a considerable period of time. His business did not do too well, and he finally died in 1994 at the age of 65.
- South Africa Vs Australia at Ellis Park, Johannesburg - Dec 24, 1949
- Last played:
- South Africa Vs England at Kennington Oval (The Oval), London - Aug 18, 1960