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Alec Bedser
Personal information
Full name Alec Victor Bedser
Born 4 July 1918 (1918-07-04) (age 91)
Reading, Berkshire, England
Height 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Batting style Right-handed
Bowling style Right arm medium-fast
Relations Eric Bedser (twin brother)
International information
National side England
Test debut (cap 311) 22 June 1946 v India
Last Test 12 July 1955 v South Africa
Domestic team information
Years Team
1939–1960 Surrey
Career statistics
Competition Tests First-class
Matches 51 485
Runs scored 714 5,735
Batting average 12.75 14.51
100s/50s 0/1 1/13
Top score 79 126
Balls bowled 15,918 106,062
Wickets 236 1,924
Bowling average 24.89 20.41
5 wickets in innings 15 96
10 wickets in match 5 16
Best bowling 7/44 8/18
Catches/stumpings 26/– 289/–
Source: CricketArchive, 7 January 2009

Sir Alec Victor Bedser, CBE (born 4 July 1918) is a retired professional English cricketer. He was the chairman of selectors for the English national cricket team and the president of Surrey County Cricket Club, and is widely regarded as one of the greatest English cricketers of the 20th century.

He was an outstanding right-arm medium-fast bowler for Surrey and England in a first-class playing career that spanned twenty-one years, taking 1924 first-class wickets in 485 matches during this time. Following the death of Arthur McIntyre on 26 December 2009, Bedser became the oldest surviving England Test cricketer.


Early life and career

Bedser was born in Reading, Berkshire, where his father was stationed with the Royal Air Force, just minutes after identical twin brother Eric. Within six months the family moved to Woking, Surrey, where, at the age of seven, the brothers played their first organised cricket and over the next decade played together for Monument Hill School and Woking Cricket Club. They joined a local firm of solicitors, but were spotted practicing in the nets for Woking Cricket Club by Surrey coach Alan Peach and recruited to the staff at The Oval in 1938. A year later they made their first-class debuts for the county, but their careers were interrupted in 1939, when they joined the RAF to serve in World War II. They saw action at Dunkirk and later served in North Africa, Italy and Austria. They were demobilised in 1946.

Main career

Alec had impressed during war-time cricket matches: in games for the British RAF, he took 6 wickets for 27 runs (including a hat-trick) against the West Indies and 9 for 36, featuring another hat-trick, against a Metropolitan Police team.

In his first full season for Surrey, in 1946, he passed 100 wickets by July and established himself in the England Test team. In each of his first two Tests, against the visiting Indians, he took eleven wickets: 11 for 139 in his debut at Lord's and 11 for 96 in the next game at Manchester. His amazing season resulted in his nomination as a Wisden Cricketer of the Year for 1947. He was selected for the ensuing Ashes tour of Australia and for most of the next decade "carried England's bowling attack".[1] Bedser is the last man living to have taken the wicket of Donald Bradman in a Test match, and twice dismissed him for a duck.[2]

In 1953, at an age (35) by which many fast bowlers have retired from first-class cricket, Bedser emphasized his longevity in the sport, and helped England regain the Ashes, by taking 39 wickets at an average of 17.48 at home to Australia, including career-best match figures of 14 for 99 in the Nottingham Test. He bowled poorly in the first Test of the 1954-5 tour of Australia, which saw seven catches dropped off his 1-131, including Arthur Morris (153) before he had scored, and England lost by an innings. He was subsequently diagnosed as suffering from shingles and despite a recovery and a green wicket tailor-made for his bowling in the 2nd Test he was dropped from the side and not recalled.

In a Test career extending from 1946 to 1955, Bedser played 51 matches and took 236 wickets (24.89), at the time the most wickets taken in Test cricket. As the bowling spearhead of an English national team still recovering from the War, he cemented his place in English cricket history. He stood head and shoulders over the other England bowlers, he had 14 new ball partners and took five wickets in an innings 15 times and ten wickets in a match 5 times. His entire first-class career spanned 485 matches, in which he helped Surrey to eight County Championships between 1950 and 1958, and took 100 wickets in a county season eleven times, figures that place him high amongst the game's greats. He took five or more wickets in an innings 96 times, and ten wickets or more in a match 16 times.

Post-playing career

After retiring from playing cricket in 1960, Bedser served as a national team selector for twenty-three years and was chairman of selectors from 1969 to 1981. He also managed two England overseas tours. He was a founding member of The Freedom Association, which supported the apartheid system in South Africa, and he was one of selectors when Basil D'Oliveira was left out of the England team for the 1968-69 tour of South Africa.[3] Bedser was made president of Surrey in 1987, apt recognition of his outstanding contribution to the county's cricketing fortunes over the previous five decades. He was knighted for his services to cricket in 1996. In October 2004 Bedser was selected in 'England's Greatest Post-War XI' by The Wisden Cricketer, an authoritative monthly cricket magazine.

Career highlights



Test Debut: vs India, Lord's, 1946
Last Test: vs South Africa, Manchester, 1955

  • Bedser's best Test batting score of 79 was made against Australia, Leeds, 1948
  • His best Test bowling figures of 7 for 44 came against Australia, Nottingham, 1953


External links


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