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March 16, 2011
Peter Loader, the Surrey fast bowler who played 13 Tests for England taking 39 wickets, has died at his home in Australia the age of 81.
Loader, who played 298 matches for Surrey between 1951 and 1963, taking 1108 wickets at 18.66, was a key member of the all-conquering side which won the County Championship seven seasons in succession between 1952 and 1958.
"His pace, ability to make the ball move late in its flight, and his skill in disguising the occasional slower delivery placed him in the forefront of present-day fast bowlers," Wisden noted at the time he was named one of its Five Cricketers of the Year in 1958. "He helped substantially in the carrying off by Surrey of the [titles]." There were at times questions over the legality of his action but he was never called for throwing.
Loader's England opportunities were restricted by the alternatives available, and he was never able to command a regular place, although he was good enough to be included on two Ashes tours. His debut came against Pakistan in 1954 when Alec Bedser was left out "to give Peter a go" - the move backfired as England slumped to their first defeat against Pakistan. His Test highpoint came at Leeds in 1957 when he took 6 for 36 against West Indies, including England's first post-war hat-trick, and the only one until Dominic Cork at Old Trafford in 1995.
For Surrey he passed 100 wickets in a season seven times, forming a potent new-ball pairing with Alec Bedser. He retired at the end of 1963 and emigrated to Australia where he played his final first-class match for Western Australia in the Sheffield Shield.
After that he assisted another Surrey legend, Tony Lock, in coaching the state side as well as establishing a successful haulage business and carving a niche as a broadcaster.
Micky Stewart, who played alongside Loader during the 1950s and captained him in his final match for Surrey said: "Peter was one of the finest quick swing bowlers that I knew in my playing time and it was a privilege to play with him.
"He was a very competitive and aggressive bowler and his accuracy and control in swinging the ball both ways was incredible, demonstrated by the number of bowled and LBW victims he got. As well as this, he had exceptional control over his bouncer and a very dangerous slower ball, all delivered from his characteristic wiry physique."
Surrey chairman Richard Thompson added: "Peter was one of Surrey's great sons and his death is a real loss to the club. He was part of a dynasty whose impact will always be felt at Surrey and his contribution to that incredible side was enormous. It's very sad whenever any of the club's famous sons passes away but particularly one who has made such a big contribution."
In all, Loader took 1326 first-class wickets at 19.04 with a best of 9 for 17. A genuine No. 11, he scored 2314 runs at 8.50.
Martin Williamson is executive editor of ESPNcricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and AfricaFeeds: Martin Williamson
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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