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Thursday, August 26, 2021

Rip Tex Dexter !

At Leeds, England is mercilessly grinding India – and all those pundits who spoke of English weakness are singing a different tune altogether. The best meme read: Virat Kohli won the toss and chose to bat and bowl on the same day !  ..  as Team India struggle, it is time, we searched about an Indian win ! – those of you watching might have observed the black armband worn by English batsman.

Gleaning records, read of that 5th Test at Chennai (Pongal Test) in 1962 -  India: 428 & 190  beat England : (92.3 ov, target 338)281 & 209 by 128 runs.  Famous Indian Offie Erapalli Prasanna debuted in that match at Corporation Grounds, Madras !  

Ted Dexter, is no more !  - the man  who has died aged 86, was a truly rare cricketer, remembered beyond his playing days less for the quantity of runs he scored than for the debonair manner in which he acquired them. At the crease he looked every inch the aristocrat, tall and erect, and with a preference for flamboyant strokeplay.  Guardian’s obituary reads : What made him doubly interesting was the sense of adventure that went with an unpredictable mindset. Teammates often felt that while he was fielding his thoughts were away from the cricket ground. Asked some years later where his one Test double century was scored, he simply could not recall. And when the telephone at home rang at an inconvenient time he answered: “This is Ted Dexter. I’m sorry I can’t take your call at present. Please ring later,” leaving the caller to assume that this had been a recorded response.

Former England Test cricket captain Ted Dexter has died at the age of 86 following a 'recent illness'. The former all-rounder - who captained his country in 30 of his 62 Test matches - passed away peacefully in the Compton Hospice in Wolverhampton at midday on Wednesday surrounded by his family.   Edward Ralph Dexter, CBE (15 May 1935 – 25 August 2021)- was son of  Elise (nee Dartnall) and Ralph Dexter, and  was born in Milan, Italy, where his father, a former major with the Royal Field Artillery, was a prosperous underwriter.   An aggressive middle-order batsman of ferocious power and a right-arm medium bowler, he captained Sussex and England in the early 1960s. He captained England in 30 test matches out of his 62 test match appearances. He is known by the nickname Lord Ted. He is credited for his instrumental role in the formation of the modern ICC Player Rankings system.  In June 2021, he was inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame as one of the special inductees to mark the inaugural edition of the ICC World Test Championship final

On the outbreak of the second world war, Ted and his brother were enrolled at several UK prep schools before he went to Radley college in Oxfordshire. There he dedicated himself to cricket, and was dubbed “Lord Edward” or “Lord Ted” by the coach, Ivor Gilliat, for his insouciant (showing a casual lack of concern) attitude. “It’s been applied with envy, malice, sarcasm and downright good humour,” Dexter later wrote. “I’ve enjoyed it.” Among the junior pupils he felt disposed to punish by caning was the future comedian Peter Cook.

The MCC paid tribute to their former president, describing him as 'remarkable' and as someone who played the game with 'adventure and fun'. 'His off-field contribution to the game was substantial too, most notably his work, with Colin Cowdrey, on the Spirit of Cricket. 'Through his own PR agency, he became a pioneer in cricket's digital technology revolution and was inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame earlier this summer. Dexter scored 4,502 runs as a strong middle-order batsman for England and also combined that with excellent medium-pace bowling, claiming 66 wickets for his country at an average of 34.93.

He made his Test debut against New Zealand in 1958, and went on to captain England between 1961 and 1964 as well as Sussex, also during the early 1960s. One of his most famous innings came against the West Indies at Lord's in 1963. Dexter came in with his side a wicket down without a run on the board, but counterpunched in trademark fashion by smashing 70 off just 73 balls. He missed the start of the 1964-65 tour to South Africa because he was standing as a Conservative Party candidate for Cardiff South East. He would later join the team as vice-captain however after coming second in the constituency. The hard-hitting former cricketer is also just one of just five England batsmen to record a score of at least 50 in six straight innings, an honour he shares along with Patsy Hendren, Ken Barrington, Sir Alastair Cook and current skipper Joe Root.

He later became  the chairman on England's panel of selectors between 1989 and 1993 after retiring, before being made MCC president in 2002 a year on from being awarded a CBE. Dexter also devised a method of ranking Test match players - known initially as the Deloitte Rankings - in the late 1980s, which has now come to be implemented as the ICC Player Rankings.

In that Madras Test, in which Prasanna debuted, Indians captained by Nari Contractor beat England by 128 runs and secured the Series two nil.   Prasanna had an ordinary debut taking a solitary wicket while Salim Durrani had match figures of 10/177.  .. .. the reference is not only for an Indian win, but the fact that Ted Dexter captained England at that Madras Test.

RIP Ted Dexter !!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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