December 30, 2000

Dexter awarded CBE

Staff and agencies

Portrait
Ted Dexter
Photo © AllSport

Ted Dexter, the former England captain and Chairman of Selectors known throughout the cricket world as "Lord Ted" has been awarded the CBE for the service he has given to the game.

The recognition comes more than seven years after he completed his four-year stint as Chairman of Selectors. Dexter's departure followed the disappointing Ashes series of 1993, which saw Graham Gooch hand over the reins of the England captaincy to Michael Atherton. Dexter, now 65, is currently the Chairman of the MCC's cricket committee.

But it was in his days as a player that Dexter really caught the eye. In a Test career that began against New Zealand at Old Trafford in 1958 and ended against Australia at The Oval ten years later, he made 4,502 runs at 47.89 in the England middle order and took 66 wickets with his medium-pace bowling.

He was one of Wisden's Five Cricketers of the Year in 1961, and in his first-class career with Sussex and England he again averaged over 40 with the bat and under 30 with the ball. Dexter also led Sussex to the first two Gillette Cup titles when one-day cricket was in its infancy. He led England in the early 1960s, and until Nasser Hussain's team's famous victory in Karachi earlier this month was the last man to lead England to a series victory in Pakistan.

Fenner's
Practicing at Fenner's
Photo © AllSport

"Lord Ted" was born in Italy and educated at Radley College and Cambridge University. His approach to the game, and especially to batting, was an aristocratic one. But his approach differed from the languid genius that was to follow from David Gower, or the effortless timing of his contemporary, Colin Cowdrey.

Dexter hit the ball hard, striking fear into the hearts of anyone standing at cover or midwicket when he was batting. In fact Dexter had the sound technique and extensive range of the current Australian captain, Steve Waugh. Some might argue that Waugh has a more obstinate streak, but there was plenty of cussedness when Dexter produced his match-saving 173 against Australia at Old Trafford in 1964.

Dexter famously led from the front in 1963 at Lord's, when he made an unforgettable 70 (81 minutes, 73 balls) against the pace of the West Indies' Wes Hall and Charlie Griffith. It set England up for a memorable victory, although they were ultimately to lose the series.

Dexter retired early from cricket to pursue his many other interests. He spent much of his time indulging his passion for golf and, before he returned to cricket as an administrator, he also dabbled in journalism, commentary, politics, horseracing and business.

Dexter's spell England's Chairman of Selectors was far from easy. He was curiously aloof with the media and made a number of bizarre observations on why things might be going wrong. He spent much of his time at the helm alongside his former Test team-mate Mickey Stewart as England manager.

But his statistics of 21 lost Tests and only nine won out of 44 provided him with a record vastly inferior to that of his playing days.

But Dexter will live in the memory as the man who retaliated when Hall and Griffith were at their most fearsome. It says as much about that famous day at Lord's and his many other swashbuckling acts with bat in hand that he now has letters after his name.

Comments