Former West Indies captain Gerry Alexander dies
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.