Feature Article - Boon, David (Tasmanian Year Book, 1998)
David Boon walked off the international cricket arena for the last time in 1996, ending an illustrious international career spanning 13 years. Boon is arguably the best cricketer this State had ever produced. He scored 7,422 test runs at an average of 43.66. He is second only to Allan Border as the most capped Australian. Boon is known for his exceptional cricketing ability and as a man of enormous strength, compassion and quiet determination, which made him a hero for all Australians.
He grew up in a sporting environment. His mother was an Australian hockey representative. His father was a keen all-round sportsman. From a young age Boon exhibited amazing natural ability. He was first noticed at the age of 10 by former Lancashire spinner Jack Simmons who encouraged him to develop his enormous potential. By the age of 15, Boon was a member of the Tasmanian under 19 team and at age 16 was selected for the Australian under 19 schoolboy team to tour England in 1977, scoring a century at Lords.
Boon made his Sheffield Shield debut for Tasmania at the age of 17, the same year the team entered the competition. In 1984, he was selected for the Australian one-day team after he had scored 134 runs in 135 minutes in a match for the Prime Ministers XI against the West Indies. In the last final of the one-day series at the MCG against the West Indies he scored 39.
Boon gained his first test cricket spot in the season of 1984-85. It was also during this season he gained the captaincy of the Tasmanian Sheffield Shield side. In 1985 he was presented with the Sheffield Shield Player of the Year Award even though he played only 6 of the 10 matches. He was then selected for the Ashes tour.
He continued his test career on his return to Australia and in December scored his maiden test century of 123 at the Adelaide oval against India, after being asked to open the innings by selectors. This made David Boon the first Tasmanian resident to score a test century.
Boon’s first major setback came in the summer season of 1986-87 when he was dropped from the test team due to a lack of form. However, by mid-1987 Boon had regained some form to be selected in the World Cup team to tour India where he won four man of the match awards including one in the final.
In the summer season of 1987-88 he was awarded International Cricketer of the Year after an outstanding season. He played one of his most notable innings that season at the Sydney Cricket Ground against England, scoring 184 not out in the Bicentennial Test, leading to yet another man of the match award.
In 1989 Boon was awarded a Member of the British Empire (MBE) in recognition of his sporting achievements. It was also in this year that Boon hit a four to produce the winning runs needed for Australia to win the Ashes. This was the first time the Ashes had been won on English soil since Don Bradman’s team toured in 1948. Boon was again honoured in 1991 when he had the main grandstand at the Northern Tasmanian Cricket Association ground named after him. This was the ground of his original team, Launceston.
Boon was known as ‘The Rock of Gibraltar’ for the Australian side. He carried a burden of expectation every time he went out to bat, based on his previous successes.
When his international career finished in 1996, he was able to look back on an enviable test career spanning 13 years, including three Ashes tours in 1985, 1989 and 1993, and 2 World Cups.