A profile of Alec Bedser
by David and John Liverman
Alan Ross wrote of Bedser "He was a bowler, one felt, by metier, as some are locksmiths or boot-makers or violinists." A stalwart of England and Surrey for many years, Alec Bedser was one of the great exponents of the craft of fast-medium bowling, with the ability to move the ball in the air, and off the pitch. He obtained many wickets through his steady and accurate bowling, but in the right conditions could be almost unplayable. A master of length and line, he combined late in-swing with an excellent leg cutter. The leg cutter often drifted in towards leg stump and cut away sharply from the pitch - one such delivery bowled Bradman for a duck in 1946/47, and was later described by the batsman as the finest ball ever bowled to him.
He was much over-bowled in the England teams of the late 1940s and early 1950s, as the only world-class bowler in the side. He bowled superbly in the 1953 series against Australia (39 wickets at 17.48), and was in great part responsible for England's recovery of the Ashes following the Bradman years. He could bat usefully at times, making on one occasion 70* after coming in as a night-watchman against Australia. He was involved in one of the great Test finishes of all time, when he and Gladwin scored 8 runs of the last over to beat South Africa by one wicket in 1948. He lost 6 years due to World War Two (he and his twin Eric were 21 on the outbreak of war, and both served in the RAF). Playing for Surrey into his forties, he took 5-25 in 21 overs in his final first-class match. He managed England in two overseas tours. He served as chairman of the England selectors for thirteen years, and as a selector for ten more. He was knighted for his services to cricket in 1996.
(Article: Copyright © 2000 Dave Liverman)