Xen Balaskas biography

Xen Balaskas

Cricket Player

1910 – 1994


Who was Xen Balaskas?

Xenophon Constantine Balaskas, sometimes known as Xen or Bally, was a South African all-round cricketer who scored 2,696 first-class runs at 28.68 and took 276 wickets at 24.11 with his leg-spin bowling.

Born in Kimberley to Greek immigrant parents, Balaskas made his first-class debut for Griqualand West in 1926/27, but did not really break through until 1929/30. In that year he topped both the runs and wickets lists in the Currie Cup by taking 39 wickets at 21.20, including five five-wicket hauls, and scoring 644 runs at over 80, including a career-best 206 against Rhodesia.

The following season he made his Test match debut at Johannesburg's Old Wanderers ground, but made no impact, scoring 7 and 3 and bowling just two overs in the match. The second Test at Cape Town proved only slightly better: South Africa recorded an innings victory, but Balaskas made a duck and took 2–104 in the match; he was dropped for the rest of the series.

In 1931/32 he toured Australia and New Zealand with South Africa, but could make the Test side only for the second leg of the tour, repaying the selectors with his only Test century, 122 not out at Wellington. His next Test appearances came in England in 1935, and it was there at Lord's that he produced the best bowling performance of his career, recording splendid analyses of 32–8–49–5 and 27–8–54–4 to help his country to their first Test victory on English soil.


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Oct 15, 1910
Kimberley, Northern Cape
  • South Africa
May 12, 1994
Hyde Park, Gauteng

on July 23, 2013

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