Alec Coxon 1916-2006 January 23, 2006

Former England firebrand Coxon dies aged 90

Alec Coxon at Lord's in 1948 © The Cricketer
Alec Coxon, the Yorkshire fast bowler who played once for England, has died four days after his 90th birthday.

The Second World War delayed Coxon's first-class debut until 1946 by which time he was 29, but he made an immediate impact with 69 wickets at 19.71 as Yorkshire won the Championship.

In 1948 good county performances led to him being called up for the second Test against Australia at Lord's where he took 3 for 172 but he wasn't retained. This, and the fact that he was not given another chance in subsequent seasons, led to speculation that there was more to his omission than pure cricketing reasons, and stories circulated that he had had a blazing row during the game with Denis Compton. Brian Close, a former team-mate, said that Coxon had a "harsh and grating manner".

In 1949 and 1950 Coxon passed 100 wickets, with his best being 131 at 18.60 in 1950 which was to be his last for the county. At the end of the season he retired to play league cricket, and he turned out as Durham's professional between 1951 and 1954. Coxon also played league football for Bradford.

His death leaves Alec Bedser, Ken Cranston, Allan Watkins and John Dewes as the last survivors of the England side which played Don Bradman's invincibles in 1948. Coxon was the third-oldest surviving England Test cricketer, with only Mandy Mitchell-Innes and Dennis Brookes being older, and the tenth oldest in all.

Martin Williamson is managing editor of Cricinfo