Gerry Alexander 1928-2011

Former West Indies captain Gerry Alexander dies

ESPNcricinfo staff

April 17, 2011

Comments: 11 | Text size: A | A

Gerry Alexander portrait, May 1, 1957
Gerry Alexander captained West Indies in the late 1950s © Getty Images
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Gerry Alexander, the former West Indies captain, has died at the age of 82 in Jamaica.

Alexander was a wicketkeeper-batsman who represented West Indies in 25 Tests in a five-year career that began in 1957. He led the side in 18 of those matches, beginning with a home series against Pakistan in 1958 and stepping down after England's visit in 1960.

"He [Alexander] was a stalwart in Jamaica and West Indies cricket and made a tremendous contribution to the game as captain and a player on the field. He was an inspiration to many people off the field as well," Julian Hunte, the WICB president, said. "He displayed a true love and passion for West Indies cricket and gave his all for the good of the game. He was a dignified and reliable leader of the West Indies team and a committed supporter of the game at all levels. He excelled in the 1960-61 Tied Test Series in Australia and will always be remembered for the fantastic role he played to help 'save Test cricket'."

At a time when the West Indies and the world beyond it were undergoing great social change, Alexander was the last white captain of the team. He was replaced first temporarily and then permanently by Frank Worrell in time for the legendary 1960-61 series in Australia, which featured Test cricket's first tie at Brisbane.

Prior to that he courted controversy by choosing to send home the fast bowler Roy Gilchrist from the West Indies' 1958-59 tour of India and Pakistan for reasons of indiscipline, including the bowling of repeated beamers. Gilchrist did not play for the West Indies again.

In his final series as captain, before being succeeded by Worrell, Alexander equalled the record for most dismissals by a wicketkeeper in a series with 23 victims against England. He followed that up by supporting Worrell grandly with 484 runs at 60.50 in the 1960-61 series, scoring at least one half-century in each of the matches and his only first-class century in the third Test at the SCG, won by the West Indies. Alexander finished his Test career at the conclusion of the series with 961 runs at 30.03, and 90 dismissals.

Away from cricket, Alexander studied and worked as a veterinarian, rising to the position of chief public sector veterinarian in his homeland.

In 1982, he received the Order of Distinction from the Government of Jamaica for his outstanding contribution to sports. He was also a skilled footballer, winning an England amateur cap and an FA Amateur Cup winner's medal.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (April 18, 2011, 22:33 GMT)

Yes I agree with Ajit Tamhane that the white bowler in question was Eric Atkinson and not John Reid. I have visited the Cricinfo archive to also correct myself that IMTIAZ of Pakistan did not make 109 in the Lahore test of 1959 as I wrote in my earlier comment.

Posted by   on (April 18, 2011, 17:43 GMT)

A correction to what foodic wrote: John Reid is not from WI but from NZ. The white fast bowler from WI he is thinking of is Eric Atkinson.

Posted by foodic on (April 18, 2011, 15:49 GMT)

I vividly remember having seen Alexander as a wicket-keeper captain of West Indies during their 1958-59 tour of Pakistan. I was present to see the Lahore test played at Lahore Gymkhana ground. Mushtaq Mohammad the short heighted younger brother of Legend Hanif Mohammad made his test debut at the age od 14 years and made a daring 14 in the first inning and was adjudged LBW against the hostile bowling of great WI fast bowler Welsely Hall. Rohan Kanahai of WI made a swashbuckling 217 and our own wicket keeper batsman great IMTIAZ made 109 in the match. Alexander was one of the two white men in the WI team, the other, as I go back to my memory lane, was John Reid (WI) a fast bowler. I also remember that Ron Gilchrist was mis-reputed in the media for throwing nasty bouncers and beamers at INDIAN BATSMEN who were then much afraid of such stuff, during Indian part of the WI tour of 1958-59. Gilchrist was promptly sent home, depriving PAKISTANIS of seeing the short man Gilchrist in action.

Posted by rayinto on (April 18, 2011, 14:15 GMT)

Gerry has left us a legacy for which we can all be proud. My the current West Indies team, and the selectors in particular use this as inspiration. Great players make up great teams!

Posted by   on (April 18, 2011, 12:37 GMT)

WEST INDIES is not a rainbow nation like SA. Yet it is a vibrant and rainbow regional team bound with friendship, brotherhood and camarederie. Black, Whites , browns and Orange , Afro, Euro, Indo and Chinese West Indians, Christians, Hindus and Muslims kept the hopes of people of a chain of islands. You all let them raise their heads hg with pride. Gerry , you were one of them. All people who live in carribean or whatever the way linked to carribeans including me bow to the great contributions you made to criicket in the region and the world. May god bless you!!! Shanti to your atman ( Guyanese and Trini Hindus will bless your soul in that way)

Posted by   on (April 18, 2011, 10:03 GMT)

I was not around in the era that he played, but am sure he was great cricketer, who inspired the West Indian team of the 70s and 80s. May his soul rest in peace. I just hope that the present generation of cricketers look up to such legends for inspiration.

Posted by   on (April 18, 2011, 9:43 GMT)

White or coloured, when one dwells in West Indies Cricket History, Late Alexander will always figure in bold letters. RIP.

Posted by   on (April 18, 2011, 6:04 GMT)

Gerry Alexander was the last white captain. Until 1960 West Idies were captained by white the rest 10 might have been dark skinned. Worrel was the first dark skinned captain. Gerry was a thorugh sportsman never allowed his ferocious fast bowlers to attack the batsman's body chin music was never heard of. Frank Worrel was a step ahead hard to fid a sportsman like him.

Posted by Percy_Fender on (April 18, 2011, 5:53 GMT)

F C M (Gerry) Alexander it was we saw in 1959, leading the West Indies terrors Gilchrist and Hall apart from a set of legendry batsmen and pure athletes which India lost 4-0 I think. Gilchrist was not just a 'never before seen' fast bowler but a terror off the field as a smirking batsman found out in the Lancashire league in the 60s,when he got stabbed by Roy.Gerry Alexander as I saw him was calm as calm can be in controlling such a pack of easily combustible men from the Carribean islands.The team did have some fine gentlemen as well like Gary Sobers Rohan KanhaiCollie Smith,Conrad Hunte, Joe Solomon and and Sonny Ramdhin. There was no need for any sldging in thos days.It was just clean cricket with athleticism at its best. Gerry Alexander stood behind the stumps then much like M S Dhoni those days. I think he was just as calm.But then he had at his disposal such tornados that swearing seemed ridiculous. He was a fine wicket keeper and even if it was not needed,a great batsman as well

Posted by Nerk on (April 18, 2011, 3:28 GMT)

A sad day for cricket. He was a wonderful representative for the West Indies at a time of significant change.

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