When we think about a doctor or a medical professional, the first image that comes to our mind is a person wearing a white coat. Not many people have been fortunate enough to don both the white apron and the white Test shirt- WG Grace, Geoff Lawson, Chris Harris to name a few. But there was one doctor-cum-cricketer who had one of the most unfortunate cricket careers, but not sure whether he or his wife was unluckier.
Before going into the details, let us know in brief about the man. His full name was Dr Roy Lindsay Park. He could proudly say that he was a 'genuine all-rounder' because he was not only a doctor but also a cricketer and a footballer. He started playing football from his University days, making his debut in the Victoria Football League as a 20-year old in 1912. He was a champion footballer, scoring as many as 146 goals in only 57 matches in the league in four seasons.
He was a cricket prodigy since his college days as well. He used to play for South Melbourne Cricket Club at the Victoria Cricket Association. He was a fine opening batsman and once shared a 315-run opening stand with Bill Woodfull, who would later captain Australia, most famously in the Bodyline series. This remained a club record for many years. Park earned a call-up to the Australia Test team for their tour of South Africa in 1914-15. But unfortunately, the series didn't take place as World War I broke out.
Roy Park, a medical practitioner, joined the war where he served with the 5th Field Ambulance unit. He was given the rank of a captain. After serving in the war with distinction, Park returned home in 1919.
He returned to football, after almost five years when he played for Footscray football club while conducting medical practice at Footscray. In the second semifinal of the VFA Cup, he netted the ball with less than ten seconds to the final whistle and won his team the game.
On the other hand, he was racking up some fine performances for Victoria and earned a call-up again to the Australia Test side.
Park made his debut against England on December 31, 1920, at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. The night before his debut, he was said to have been called for medical duties and couldn't sleep at the night.
In the morning, Australia skipper Warwick Armstrong won the toss and elected to bat first. The openers added 116 at a brisk pace before Herbie Collins got out to Harry Howell.
In came Dr Roy Park. It was a much-awaited moment for him. It could've come six years ago. But, better late than never.
He was welcomed by a huge MCG crowd. Among them was Mrs Parker, his wife. She brought her knitting with her in order to spend time.
Park took guard and Howell was steaming in. Legend has it that, at that very moment, Mrs Park's knitting fell down and by the time she had retrieved it, Howell went through her husband's defences and he was on his way. Unfortunately, Park never played Test cricket again. That means, Mrs Park literally missed her husband's entire international career while retrieving the knitting that she dropped.
This incident happened exactly a hundred years ago.
Now it is up to you to decide who is unluckier? Dr Roy Park or his wife?