Jimmy Matthews: The double-hattrick man


The man with two hat-tricks in the same Test match was born on Apr 3, 1884. Mayukh Ghosh writes about his feat and the tragic life.

The tales of the likes of Billy Bates, Drewy Stoddart, Billy Midwinter etc are well known.

Jimmy Matthews' too is well known but, rather thankfully, not for his tragic life.

Averse to the English weather, he declined offers from several counties. 
But he had to get back to Europe during the war. It was a horrific experience for him. His brother-in-law died in front of him.
Thankfully, gastric ulcer became unbearable, and he was eventually repatriated.

The war ended but he failed to make a comeback. Misfortune was never too far away from him. Even before the war, a injury at the wrong time, an undue investigation by the Australian board at the end of the American leg of the 1912 tour conspired against him.

He continued to play cricket till the mid-1930s. It was cricket that somehow prevented him from being in the grasp of acute depression.
The depression years were terrible. Tuberculosis and other industrial respiratory diseases had devastated families. No family suffered more than his.
He lost his wife and five of the nine children they had.
It is almost impossible to comprehend how tragic and soul destroying it must have been.

Nothing but playing cricket always rescued him from these setbacks.
The gastric ulcer was recurring all too often and when every-time everyone thought that his career was over, he stunned them by making another comeback.
He passed away in October 1943. The cause of death was pulmonary tuberculosis which,according to his death certificate, he had battled with for years.

Thirty-one years before all that, he created history by taking two hat-tricks in a Test match.
Jimmy Matthews is a name every quizzer knows but not many know that his greatest achievement was the way he kept playing the game despite suffering the setbacks of the worst kind.

One of cricket's unsung legends was born April 3, 1884.