South African cricketer John Watkins, who had been the world’s oldest living Test cricketer has died in Durban at the age of 98. This was announced by Cricket South Africa (CSA) on Monday, September 6. They further stated that Watkins had been in failing health before contracting COVID-19 10 days before his death last Friday.
Watkins was a forceful right-hand batsman, accurate away-swing bowler and a fine slip fielder, who played in 15 Tests between 1949/50 and 1956/57 despite being unavailable for tours of England in 1951 and 1955 due to business reasons, AFP reports.
He made his highest Test score of 92, as well as 50 in the second innings when South Africa beat Australia in the fifth Test in Melbourne in the 1952/53 season.
Before making his first-class cricket debut, Watkins trained as a Spitfire pilot with the South African Air Force during World War II before being consigned to air traffic control due to colour blindness.
Watkins’ death leaves 95-year-old South African, Ron Draper as the oldest surviving Test player.
John Watkins, who had been the world’s oldest living Test cricketer, has died in Durban. https://t.co/SQLXXCpxpT
— SA Cricket Magazine (@SACricketmag) September 6, 2021