Allan Fitzroy Rae
September 30, 1922, Rollington Town, Kingston, Jamaica
February 27, 2005, Kingston, Jamaica, (aged 82y 150d)
Left hand bat
Allan Rae, who died on February 27 aged 82 in his native Kingston after a long illness, was one of the vanishing breed of West Indies Test players who regarded their transition into administration as an undeniable duty. His productive, if brief, Test career as a solid left-handed opening batsman, dependable enough to average 46.18 in his 15 Tests, and his far longer involvement in management that saw him rise to the presidency of the West Indies Cricket Board of Control between 1981 and 1988, coincided with golden eras of West Indies cricket. Yet his administrative roles spanned two of the most contentious issues of the day - the intrusions of Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket in the late 1970s and apartheid-era South Africa in the 1980s. In spite of such challenges, West Indies were never stronger than during his presidency.
Even more than most of his contemporaries, cricket was Rae's life. Son of Ernest, who toured England with West Indies in 1928, Rae made an immediate impact on coming into the Jamaica team in 1947, with hundreds in each innings against Barbados in his second match. He was in London, studying law, when England came to the Caribbean for the first Test series after World War II in 1948 and it was from London that he was summoned for his debut tour of India later that year. Over the next two series, he shared an opening partnership with Jeffrey Stollmeyer, by contrast a tall, stylish right-hander, that brought stability to the top of the order for the first time, setting the foundation for the rapacious Three Ws - Everton Weekes, Frank Worrell and Clyde Walcott - to follow.
In India, Rae scored hundreds at Bombay and Madras and repeated the feat on the historic tour of England the following year when West Indies triumphed in England for the first time. Rae's 106 at Lord's set the early platform for a signal victory at the game's headquarters; his 109 at The Oval helped secure the series. He could not come to terms with the pace of Ray Lindwall, Keith Miller and Bill Johnston on lively pitches on the 1951-52 tour of Australia and played only six more Tests after his zenith in England.
Tony Cozier, The Wisden Cricketer
Wisden Cricketers' Almanack obituary
RAE, ALLAN FITZROY, who died on February 27, 2005, aged 82, was a lefthanded opening batsman whose century for West Indies at Lord's in 1950 helped change the face of cricket. Rae scored a dogged 106 to set the stage for the team's strokemakers and spinners who secured one of the game's most famous victories. He scored heavily in West Indies' two subsequent wins, including another hundred at The Oval. "Rae provided the solidity," said Wisden. "He never allowed himself to take the slightest risk until the innings was shaping satisfactorily, but woe betide the bowler who faltered in length." Born into the game - his father Ernest toured England in 1928 without playing a Test - he had broken into the side in India 18 months earlier. Rae scored two hundreds, and began his famous opening partnership with Jeff Stollmeyer, which yielded an average of 71 in 13 Tests. But he struggled against Australian pace in 1951-52, and retired from Tests at 30 to become a barrister. He remained heavily involved in the game, becoming president of both the Jamaican and West Indies Cricket Boards, neglecting his practice - so it was said - because of his devotion to cricket. Rae saw earlier than most administrators the need to deal with Kerry Packer, but was resolute against the West Indian players who defected to South Africa. In 2000 he returned to Lord's, the scene of his triumph, and recalled how he had refused to change into clean flannels to meet the King for fear of losing concentration. "I'd rather have the King think I was a dirty man than be out because I was rushing to change."
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