One hundred years ago, to the day, Rustom 'Russi' Sorabji Cooper was born in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India, and today he celebrates his one hundredth birthday!
In June 2020 we published an article on the Middlesex website announcing that Russi had become Middlesex's oldest living first-class cricketer, when he reached 97 years and 183 days old, and it is wonderful that today we can celebrate the incredible milestone of him reaching his one hundredth birthday!
The right-handed batter played for Middlesex between the years 1949 and 1951, when the likes of Robertson, Compton, Edrich and Allen were strutting their stuff at the Lord's crease, which impacted significantly on the amount of appearances Russi made for the Club - despite finishing his playing career with an incredible first-class batting average of 52.39!
In that period he made just 8 appearances for Middlesex, top scoring with 54 against Gloucestershire at Cheltenham in August 1950.
Russi came to Middlesex's attention through Denis Compton, who spotted his talent whilst playing cricket against him whilst serving in the Army in India during the Second World War. At Compton's request, Russi moved to England, took a placement at the London School of Economics, whilst pursuing a career as a professional in the English game.
In total, in his first-class career, which also saw him play for Parsees and Bombay prior to him joining Middlesex, he played 22 matches, hitting 1,205 runs, with a top score of 127 not out.
Whilst his professional appearances were limited in number, in recreational club cricket he was simply prolific. He made Hornsey his home club, where he achieved legendary status for his incredible weight of runs and the manner in which he scored them . He played between the years of 1946 and 1953 and scored just short of 6,000 runs at an average of over 85.
In his debut season for Hornsey he averaged over 114 and in his time at the Club hit nineteen centuries - eighteen of which were not out.
Everyone at the Club wishes Russi a very happy birthday today and we sincerely hope he enjoys celebrating bringing up another ton! We raise our bat to Russi.