At the close of the 1962 season, Yorkshire faced a choice. They could persevere with Bolus as an opening batsman - he had already appeared for the County for seven years, with moderate success - or they could opt for a relatively unknown, Boycott, who was six years younger. Yorkshire chose the latter and Bolus was specially registered by Nottinghamshire for the 1963 summer.
Bolus clearly thought his native county had made a duff decision and was quite determined to make his point. In the course of his initial summer at Trent Bridge he hit 2,190 runs at 41.32, waking up the England selectors in the process to gain his Test cap. He impressed the selectors enough to then be picked for the MCC tour to India that winter.
In passing it might be noted that Boycott averaged 45.22 with the bat for Yorkshire and came second in the first-class table, while Bolus was fourth.
Bolus had a good tour of India, averaging more than 50. The press noted: "Without ever being completely on top of his game except in the fourth Test, when he suffered an unfortunate umpiring decision, Bolus scored with splendid consistency. Like others on the tour he fully proved his temperament and fighting spirit; a good ally in time of adversity."
Arriving back in England, he appeared to have altered his attitude to batting, changing from a rather cavalier approach to one of defence and caution. He opened with Boycott in what might be termed a Test Trial for MCC v Australia at Lords. The pair added 124 for the first wicket, but the report commented, "The longer they stayed the less convincing they became." It was Boycott who was selected for the First Test. He ended the Ashes series second in the Test averages and Bolus never again represented England at Test level.
In 1964 his average dropped from 41 to 33, then in 1965 plunged to 23, but he recovered to score reliably for Notts during the next seven seasons, captaining in 1972 in his final season.
John Brian Bolus was born in Whitkirk on 31 January 1934. He first played for Yorkshire in 1956. After leaving Notts in 1972, he joined Derbyshire as their captain in 1973 and played for that county for three years before retiring. In 1993 he was elected to the Committee of Nottinghamshire CCC and the following summer appointed a Test Selector. From 1998 to 2002 he was Chairman of the England Management Advisory Committee. He served as President of Nottinghamshire in 2004 and 2005.
He was an entertaining and acclaimed after-dinner speaker; he would begin by telling his audiences: “For those of you who saw me bat, let me apologise”, in reference to his steady accumulation of runs rather than dashing strokeplay.
Brian Bolus died on 6 May 2020, aged 86, after a long illness. Although he died during the Corona virus lockdown his death was not linked to the pandemic.
Nottinghamshire First-Class Number: 435