England fast bowler Bedser dead at 91: reports | cricket | Hindustan Times
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England fast bowler Bedser dead at 91: reports

cricket Updated: Apr 05, 2010 10:13 IST

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Legendary fast bowler Alec Bedser, regarded as one of the greatest English cricketers of the 20th century, has died at the age of 91 after a brief illness, reports said on Monday.

Bedser passed away on Sunday in hospital southwest of London, said the BBC and the Press Association news agency.

"Alec Bedser deserves to be remembered as one of the greatest England bowlers of all time, a master of the craft of seam bowling and a true legend of the game," said Giles Clarke, chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board.

"All cricket-lovers in England and Wales will mourn his death and our deepest sympathies go to his family for their loss," he added.

Bedser took 236 wickets in 51 test matches for England in a career, which lasted from 1949 to 1960.

He made his debut for England aged 28, taking 11 wickets against India. Over the following decade, Bedser spearheaded England's attack and helped them to Ashes victory in 1953.

Before his death, he was also the last man alive to have taken the wicket of Australian legend Donald Bradman -- something he managed six times, more than any other cricketer. He twice dismissed Bradman for a duck.

As part of the Surrey team along with his twin brother Eric, he helped to secure seven consecutive county championships between 1952 and 1958.

"His contribution to cricket in this country as a player and an administrator was immense and he will forever be associated with Surrey's famous County Championship winning sides of the 1950s," said Clarke.

He played just two matches and never took a wicket before a seven-year break during World War II. But when he returned, Bedser immediately made an impression by taking over 100 wickets in his first full season at Surrey.

After retiring, he served as a national team selector for 23 years and chaired the selectors from 1969 to 1981.

The Times newspaper paid tribute to the cricketing legend, describing him as "one of the great sporting heroes of post-Second World War England."

"He was humble, down-to-earth, unspoilt, loyal, always willing to serve," said the paper.