Sir Alec Victor Bedser, CBE (4 July 1918 –4 April 2010) was a professional English cricketer. He was the chairman of selectors for the English national cricket team, and the president of Surrey County Cricket Club. He is widely regarded as one of the best 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.
Alec made his International debut against India on 22 June 1946 and his last match as a team member was against South Africa on July, 12 1955. Regarded among one of the best cricketers of passed century, Sir Alec Victor Bedser was a complete professional English player. He served the English national cricket as the chairman of selectors and also Surrey Country Cricket Club as its president. In his 21 year old career of first class playing he took 1924 wickets in 458 played matches, not only this in 51 test matches Bedser grabbed 236 wickets.
Alec’s father was an air force official, so when he was just 6 months old, due to transfer his family had to leave the Berkshire and shift to Horsell, Surrey. This was the place where at age of 7 Alec and his twin brother played the organized cricket for the first time.
Then the duo played for Monument High School and Working Cricket Club.
After joining a local firm of solicitors, the twins were spotted practicing in the nets for Working Cricket Club by Surrey coach Alan Peach, and he recruited them to the staff at The Oval in 1938. A year later they made their first-class débuts for the county. 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, both narrowly escaping from being shot in France They were demobilized in 1946.
Alec Bedser's performances during war-time cricket matches were impressive: 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 before July and established himself in the England Test team. In each of his first two Tests, against the visiting Indians, he took eleven wickets for 139 in his debut at Lord's and 11 for 96 in the next game at Manchester. His amazing playing 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".
In 1953 at 35, an age by which many fast bowlers were opting retirement from first-class cricket, Bedser demonstrated his consistency by helping England regain the Ashes. He took 39 wickets at an average of 17.48 at home to Australia, including his career’s best match figures of 14 for 99 in the Nottingham Test. He bowled poorly in the first Test of the 1954–55 tour of Australia his figures of 1–131 do not show that seven catches were dropped off his bowling, 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 second Test he was dropped from the side. He was recalled for one test in 1955 against South Africa.
In a Test career extending from 1946 to 1955, Bedser played 51 matches and took 236 wickets (average 24.89), at the time the most wickets taken in Test cricket.
He was England's post-war bowling spearhead. 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 retirement from cricket in 1960, Bedser served as a national team selector for a good span of 23 years and was also designated as the chairman of selectors from 1969 to 1981. He was on the board of selectors who controversially left Basil d'Oliveira out of the England team for 1968's tour of South Africa. England won 10 out of the 18 series under Bedser’s chairmanship. Bedser was made president of Surrey in 1987 as reward and recognition of his outstanding contribution to the county's cricketing fortunes for over the 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. In May 2009, Christopher Martin-Jenkins ranked Bedser 29th among100 greatest cricketers of all times.
Neither Alec nor his brother ever married. They lived together in Woking until Eric's death in 2006. Sir Alec Bedser died in hospital in Working on 4 April 2010 after a short illness. Among those to pay tribute to the more famous of the two brothers was former Prime Minister and well-known cricket lover John Major. Major in his condolence speech said: "Alec Bedser was one of the greatest medium-fast bowlers of all time. He was also one of the greatest thinkers about cricket and his wisdom was one of the great untapped resources of the modern game." For three months following the death of Arthur McIntyre on 26 December 2009, Bedser was the oldest surviving England Test cricketer. On Bedser's death, this distinction passed to Reg Simpson.
Compiled & Edited by Deep Gambhir