This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 14, (MUP), 1996
Arthur Theodore Wallace Grout (1927-1968), cricketer, was born on 30 March 1927 at Mackay, Queensland, son of native-born parents Arthur Edward Grout, police constable, and his wife Theresa Eileen, née Kelly. Wally was educated at Fortitude Valley Primary and Brisbane High schools, then worked as a salesman at A. N. Robinson's sports store in Queen Street. In 1940 he joined South Brisbane District Cricket Club, becoming its wicket-keeper in the following year. Enlisting in the Australian Imperial Force on 27 June 1945, he served at Rabaul, New Britain, from March to August 1946 and was discharged on 11 December. In 1948-50 he played A grade Rugby Union football, handling brilliantly as a full-back. At the Methodist Church, West End, Brisbane, on 27 January 1951 he married Joyce Nelma Cunis, a dressmaking machinist.
From 1952 Grout played for the Toombul District Cricket Club. He had made his début for Queensland in the 1946-47 season, standing in for his idol Don Tallon whom he succeeded in 1955. Grout kept wickets for Queensland in 94 matches, and in first-class games was involved in 587 dismissals (473 catches, 114 stumpings). In 1959-60 he disposed of a world record eight batsmen in one innings (against Western Australia). Early in his career he was skilful enough with the bat to open for Queensland and to make four first-class centuries in his 5168 runs, averaging 22.56; as a bowler he took 3 wickets at 38.33.
In the first of six overseas tours he was selected in 1957 to tour South Africa under Ian Craig's captaincy. Nicknamed 'The Griz' (an abbreviation of 'Grizzling Grunter'), reputedly by Neil Harvey, Grout squatted low behind the stumps where his diving legside catches, strikingly reminiscent of Tallon, were thrillers in four home series of Tests between 1958 and 1964, in England (1961, 1964), and in the West Indies, South Africa, India and Pakistan. He kept wicket for Australia in 51 Test matches, helping to dismiss 187 batsmen (163 caught and 24 stumped). Twice he claimed eight victims in a Test match and his six catches in one innings (against South Africa at Johannesburg) in the 1957-58 season set a record. In five other Tests he disposed of five batsmen in one innings. R. B. Simpson described him as 'the greatest wicket-keeper I ever saw'. Grout made 890 runs at 15.08.
Blunt, but warm hearted and generous, with a rugged sense of humour, Grout made friends easily. He 'oozed confidence in every aspect of cricket' and savoured the big moments in a fine career. To his friend Ernest Toovey, he was a 'typical Australian', disliking 'snobs' or 'big timers', yet 'very fair'—on one notable occasion during a Test against England he refused to take the bails off when Fred Titmus was stranded after colliding with Neil Hawke. In the foreword to Grout's autobiography, My Country's Keeper (London, 1965), Sir Donald Bradman confirmed the celebrated resemblance to Tallon, recalling 'the same basic type of footwork, the same ''swoop" on the snick, the same inevitability about holding a chance, and even the same air of aggressive intent'. Grout retired from cricket in 1966, worked for Rothman's of Pall Mall (Australia) Ltd and became a Queensland State selector in 1967.
Survived by his wife, daughter and adopted son, he died of coronary vascular disease on 9 November 1968 in Brisbane and was cremated with Baptist forms; his ashes were scattered over the Brisbane Cricket Ground.
P. J. Mullins, 'Grout, Arthur Theodore Wallace (1927–1968)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/grout-arthur-theodore-wallace-10374/text18377, published first in hardcopy 1996, accessed online 30 September 2016.
This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 14, (MUP), 1996