Former England Test captain Ted Dexter passes away

Published August 27, 2021
TED Dexter rings the traditional bell before start of play during the second Test between England and India at Lord’s in this Aug 10, 2018 file photo.—AFP
TED Dexter rings the traditional bell before start of play during the second Test between England and India at Lord’s in this Aug 10, 2018 file photo.—AFP

LONDON: Former Test captain Ted Dexter, one of England’s greatest players, has died aged 86 after a recent illness, the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) said on Thursday.

Dexter, nicknamed ‘Lord Ted’, was an aggressive batsman and part-time seam bowler who played 62 tests for England after making his debut in 1958 against New Zealand.

He captained England and Sussex in the early 1960s.

“After a recent illness, he passed away peacefully in the Compton Hospice in Wolverhampton at midday yesterday [Wednesday], surrounded by his family,” MCC said in a statement. “Ted was a cherished husband, father and grandfather and one of England’s greatest ever cricketers.

“Dexter played the game with the same sense of adventure and fun that captures much of the story of his remarkable life,” the MCC added.

Dexter, who was England captain for 30 matches, scored 4,502 runs at an average of 47.89 during his Test career and took 66 wickets at an average of 34.93.

As a cricket administrator, Dexter became chairman of the England selectors between 1989 and 1993. He was later appointed president of MCC and awarded a CBE in 2001.

Dexter also developed a Test player ranking system that was formally adopted by the International Cricket Council (ICC) in 2003 and forms the basis of the governing body’s current Test rankings.

The ICC’s acting chief executive Geoff Allardice said Dexter was one of the most accomplished batsmen of his era.

“His ability to dominate fast bowling was admirable and... he also made notable contributions to the game in various capacities post-retirement...,” Allardice said in a statement.

Former England captain Michael Vaughan also paid tribute to Dexter, who was inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame in June.

“Ted Dexter was someone who always went out of his way to offer so much great advice to me and many others ... seeing him arrive for lunch on his motorbike and then sit and listen to him discuss all cricketing issues was always a joy,” Vaughan said on Twitter.

Former England captain Mike Atherton told Sky Sports Dexter’s style had made an indelible impression upon him.

“People won’t remember him for numbers, they will remember the way he played the game,” said Atherton. “He was a great stylist who played with great flair and adventure.”

The England and Wales Cricket Board said: “Dexter will be remembered both for his dashing and attractive strokeplay and his wide interests outside the game.”

The Sussex star was renowned for the power with which he hit the ball and one of his most eye-catching innings was against the West Indies at Lord’s in 1963 when he came in at 2-1 and smashed 70 off 75 deliveries.

Against the fearsome duo of Wes Hall and Charlie Griffiths, Dexter faced them down to crunch and punch his way to an innings team-mate Fred Titmus later deemed ‘one of the finest displays of controlled aggression I have ever witnessed...electrifying’.

For a man who earned a noble nickname his birthplace did not quite chime with it as he was born in Milan, Italy.

His father Ralph, a retired Major and Battle of the Somme survivor, was a businessman in Italy but returned his family to England while Dexter was still a child.

An excellent all-round athlete, his sporting prowess was honed at renowned British private school Radley College — it was there that he was first referred to as ‘Lord Edward’ by the head of cricket — and blossomed at Cambridge University where he captained both cricket and golf teams.

Aside from being a keen and very good golfer — he toyed with the idea of turning professional — he was also a horse racing enthusiast.

Published in Dawn, August 27th, 2021

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