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Ian David Craig (born 12 June 1935 in Yass, New South Wales) is a former Australian Test cricketer who represented Australia in 11 Tests between 1953 and 1958. A slightly built right-handed batsman, Craig holds the record for being the youngest Australian to make a first-class double century, gain Test selection and captain his country. Burdened by the public expectation of being the "next Bradman", Craig's career did not fulfil its early promise. In 1957, he was appointed captain of a young team as part of a regeneration plan following the decline of the national team in the mid-1950s, but a loss of form and illness forced him out of the team after one season. Craig made a comeback, but work commitments forced him to retire from first-class cricket at only 26 years of age.

A teenage prodigy, Craig made his first-class debut for New South Wales in the last match of the 1951–52 Australian season, aged only 16. The following summer, Craig earned comparisons to Don Bradman, widely regarded as the greatest batsman of all time, after becoming the youngest player to score a first-class double century with an unbeaten 213 against the touring South African cricket team. The innings secured Craig's Test debut in the final match against South Africa, making him the youngest player to represent Australia in a Test, aged 17 years and 239 days. Craig started his Test career well, scoring 53 and 47 to ensure his selection for the 1953 Ashes tour, making him the youngest Australian player to tour England. Craig's arrival precipated media attention likening him to the arrival of Bradman in 1930, but he was performed poorly, missing selection for all five Tests.

Having missed a season due to national service and university studies, Craig returned to first-class cricket in 1955–56, earning himself a place in the 1956 Ashes touring squad. Craig regained a Test position for the final two Tests of the series. Australia had suffered three consecutive Ashes series defeats and captain Ian Johnson and vice-captain Keith Miller retired upon arriving back in Australia. The selectors gambled on youth to rebuild the team, appointing Craig as the skipper for the 1957–58 tour of South Africa despite him having played in only six Tests and not being an established member of the team. Aged just 22 years and 149 days, Craig was the youngest captain in Test history and led a team derided as the worst to have left Australian shores. Craig led his team to a convincing 3–0 victory, but his batting was poor, averaging less than 20. He contracted hepatitis before the start of the 1958–59 season and withdrew from cricket. Craig returned in the following season for New South Wales, but could not regain his position in the Test team. He retired from first-class cricket at the age of just 26 as work commitments as a pharmacist increasingly restricted his ability to train. In later life, Craig was the managing director of the Australian subsidiary of the British pharmaceutical firm Boots. He has continued his involvement in cricket as an administrator, working with the New South Wales Cricket Association, the Sydney Cricket Ground Trust and the Bradman Museum.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Ian Craig."
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