Former England and Surrey fast bowler Sir Alec Bedser, one of his country's most successful and highly regarded cricketers, has died at the age of 91.
Bedser, knighted in 1996 for services to cricket, played 51 times for England, taking 236 wickets, which places him seventh on England's all-time list. Helping Surrey to eight County Championship successes, he took a total of 1924 first-class wickets at an average of 20.41.
His playing career lasted from 1930 to 1960, and after retiring he became Chairman of Selectors in 1969, remaining in that position in 1981.
Prior to his death, Bedser was England's oldest living Test cricketer and the sole remaining living person to have dismissed Sir Don Bradman in a Test match.
Paying tribute to Bedser, Paul Sheldon, Chief Executive of Surrey County Cricket Club told the club's website (www.britoval.com): “Sir Alec was an iconic figure in world cricket. He upheld all the great traditions of the game and represented an era that has had a lasting impact on the history of Test and County cricket. Along with his twin brother Eric, he was one of the most recognisable characters in cricket across the globe.
“In our sadness at the passing of one of the worlds greatest cricketers, we can also celebrate the end of an innings which brought pleasure to millions – and who was respected by all who were privileged to have known him.”
Bedser was born in Reading, Berkshire, on 4th July 1918. His twin brother, Eric, an all-rounder who also represented Surrey with distinction, died in 2006 aged 87, the pair having been lifelong companions.
The Daily Telegraph reported that Sir Alec passed away at around 2030 local time on 4th April, in a Woking hospital.
ICC President David Morgan paid Bedser the following tribute:
“It was an honour and privilege to have known Sir Alec, whose contribution to cricket not only in England and Wales but also globally must never be under estimated. He was an outstanding practitioner of seam bowling and some of his contemporaries believed him to be the greatest bowler they ever faced.
“He was a great servant of Surrey County Cricket Club as well as being an astute and insightful administrator.
“I kept in regular contact with him by telephone and the last time we spoke was just a few weeks ago. He was still a keen follower of the game and was up to date with the latest scores and developments. The game will mourn his passing.”
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