July 26, 2002

South African tour veteran of 1953/54 dies

New Zealand leg-spinner to South Africa in 1953/54 Bill Bell died in Auckland on Tuesday.

Bell, 70, first played for Canterbury in the Plunket Shield competition in 1949/50 and for Auckland in 1952/53. He got his chance for international cricket when the New Zealand selectors ruled out several players of heavier stature who, for some reason, were thought unsuitable for South African conditions.

Alex Moir, the preferred leg-spinner, was one of these players.

In nine matches on the tour, he took 16 wickets at a cost of 51.12. He played two Tests, and in the fifth Test of the series secured his only two Test wickets, but they weren't bad ones.

He bowled opener Jackie McGlew in the first innings for 27 and in the second innings had Russell Endean caught and bowled for 87.

Upon his return to New Zealand, Bell played for Canterbury from 1955/56 until 1958/59.

During his career, he played 21 first-class matches and took 44 wickets at 40.52. His best figures were four for 31 for New Zealand against Eastern Province.