John Lambert Kerr
December 28, 1910, Dannevirke, Manawatu
May 27, 2007, Christchurch, Canterbury, (aged 96y 150d)
Right hand bat
Right arm medium
If ever there was proof that a cricketer's value cannot be measured solely in terms of runs scored or wickets taken, it came from Jack Kerr, whose death at 96 years and 150 days has left his old team-mate Eric Tindill well clear as the oldest living Test cricketer. Between 1931 and 1937 Kerr, an opening batsman, scored 212 runs at 19.27 in seven Tests for New Zealand. His first-class figures, mostly with Canterbury, were 4,829 runs, eight hundreds and a rather healthier average of 32.19.
From 1937 until the 1980s Kerr was the perfect administrator. He loved cricket and he continued his romance with the game as a board member, national selector, touring-team manager, and patient keeper of the New Zealand Cricket Council purse. But Kerr's greatest asset was his sense of decency, of what was right for the game. He was the quiet, steady man on the powerful Christchurch-based NZCC executive which tended to be dominated by the vigorous arguments of Walter Hadlee and Gordon Leggat.
Kerr, chairman of the NZCC board of control, also realised that the five other major centres away from Canterbury were restless and wanted to share the national power. Kerr carefully steered one or two NZCC annual meetings away from the rocks and in his benign way helped to stitch together a very workable organisation with the six major associations and the power-base at Christchurch all singing from the same hymn sheet.
When complimented on this, and later after being awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit, Kerr offered his credo: "Cricket has given me so much, so I try to give something back to a game I love."
Don Cameron, The Wisden Cricketer
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