Successful cricket manager and administrator dies

Lynn McConnell

September 4, 2000

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Gordon Burgess OBE. b Waihi October 4 1918, d Auckland, September 3 2000. Manager New Zealand cricket team v West Indies 1956, to England, India and Pakistan 1969. Life Member New Zealand Cricket, Auckland Cricket. Board member New Zealand Cricket 1962/63-1971/72, president NZC 1979/80-1980/81. Auckland Cricket Association chairman 1960-67, Auckland president 1976-83. Honorary member MCC.

One of New Zealand's most successful cricket managers, Gordon Burgess, died in Auckland on Sunday.

A former opening batsman, who played seven games for Auckland in the years from 1940/41 to 1954/55, he was manager of the first New Zealand to record a victory, against the West Indies at Eden Park in 1956.

Then, when appointed manager of the New Zealand team on its arduous five-month tour to England, India and Pakistan in 1969, he saw the team draw the series with India and then become the first New Zealand team to win a Test series, against Pakistan.

Tour captain, and later the then New Zealand Cricket Council chief executive, Graham Dowling remembered Burgess today.

"I knew Gordon wasn't well because he was unable to attend a reunion of that 1956 team which was held in Christchurch a few months ago, but I am sorry to hear of his death.

"He was a no-nonsense manager but a very human sort of person, and it must have been slightly difficult for him as manager to have his son in the team.

"There was one occasion when he had to barrel Mark for some misdemeanour or another and we all watched with interest how he handled it.

"Gordon was a dedicated worker for the game. A tour as manager to England was regarded as a bit of a reward, and an honour. He was pretty thrilled to get the job and he worked his butt off to do his part on the tour.

"Gordon was fantastic. It is always a bit difficult in England with the extra duties required at every different venue you go to. As players you don't tend to see that side of things because you are concentrating on your game. And on the sub-continent they have a habit of dropping things on you out of the blue.

"But I had seen that when John Reid was captain four years earlier, and Gordon was also ready for it and he did it very well.

"He planned things and was meticulous and kept the players informed," Dowling said.

Considering the team was together for five months, the tour was a harmonious one and Burgess had a big role to play in that.

"I had great respect for him. He was also a good man on the New Zealand Cricket Council board of control and did his job well for Auckland. He was forceful when he had to be," Dowling said.

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