Leading batsman turned administrator March 1, 2005

Former WI opener Allan Rae dies at 82

Cricinfo staff

Allan Rae: classy opening batsman and leading administrator © The Cricketer
Stats Guru: Allan Rae's Test record

Allan Rae, the former West Indies batsman who went on to become a leading administrator, has died at a nursing home in his native Jamaica at the age of 82. He had been in failing health for several years.

Rae was born into a cricketing family - his father played for Jamaica and Rae followed him to Kingston CC and then into the island side. The war meant that Rae, a solid but technically correct left-hand opener, did not play for West Indies until he was 26, but he made an immediate impression with hundreds in the second and fourth Tests against India in 1948-49. He was a certainty for the 1950 tour of England, where he started with 97 at Manchester and then 106 in the famous victory at Lord's - he added 109 at The Oval for good measure. He struggled in Australia in 1951-52, although he ended the tour with 99 against New Zealand. He played twice against India in the Caribbean in 1952-53 but quit when still only 30 to pursue his legal career.

In 15 Tests he made 1016 runs at 46.18 including four hundreds. He formed a solid opening partnership with Jeff Stollmeyer and their average stand of 71.00 remains a West Indies record.

He maintained his links with the game, becoming president of the Jamaican Cricket Association, a post he held for more than a decade.

As a member of the West Indies Board of Control (WIBC), then led by his old partner Stollmeyer, he argued that the ICC had no right to ban players who had signed with Kerry Packer in the late 1970s claiming it was an "unreasonable restraint of trade". Those words came back to haunt the English authorities who were taken to court by some players and punished for exactly that restraint.

In 1981 he became president of the WIBC, and during a difficult seven-year term pursued a dogged anti-apartheid policy which led to life bans against all those who toured South Africa with the rebel West Indies side. He was also instrumental in establishing contracts for players which helped to avoid a repetition of such a tour.

"This is unquestionably the end of an era in Jamaican and West Indian cricket. He dedicated his life to the game and no man who ever played cricket could have had more love and respect for the game and all it stood for," Jackie Hendriks, president of the Jamiacan board, told the Jamaica Observer. "As both player and administrator Allan was determined to ensure that the integrity of the game was inviolate and this infected most of those with whom he came in contact. A hard task-master, he nevertheless derived particular pride and pleasure from the success of young players and won their respect and admiration."

"He had a very dominating presence," Brian Breese, Jamaica's chief executive, told CaribbeanCricket.com. "Allan meant so much to our cricket, not only as player but as a hard-working administrator. He even neglected his legal practice at times because of his dedication to cricket in Jamaica. He will remain an icon in our cricket."

Everton Weekes, a former team-mate, said that when he first met Rae he was an attacking player. "But when we went to India he transformed his batting ... very sound and solid ... and when he went to England it was proven. But he was a very intelligent person who played his cricket that way as well. He played to suit the conditions and the team's structure."