Bridgetown, Barbados – West Indies cricket legend Sir Garfield Sobers has spoken about what a "wonderful man" Gerry Alexander was and what a thrill it was to play alongside him in the West Indies cricket team. Alexander, the former West Indies wicket-keeper, captain and team manager, died in his native Jamaica last weekend. He was 82.
Speaking from Barbados, Sir Garry said: "He was a truly wonderful man. His heart and soul were in West Indies cricket. He was a very good cricketer and a tremendous person. I spent a lot of time with him when we played together in the West Indies team and he always offered words of encouragement. He was always concerned with how others were doing. He always found time to talk to others in the team and lifted everyone’s spirits."
Overall, Alexander played 25 Test matches. He scored 961 runs for an average of 30.03 per innings. He had 85 catches and five stumpings. He was educated at Wolmer’s Boys School in Jamaica, which produced several outstanding West Indies wicket-keepers, and later when on Cambridge University where he represented the institution in cricket and football.
During that epic tour of Australia in 1960-61, Alexander played in all five Test matches. He made 484 runs at 60.50, including his only first-class century – an outstanding 108 in the Third Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground, which West Indies won by 222 runs. He also made 60 in the first innings at the Gabba in Brisbane in the famous tied Test.
Sir Garry recalled Alexander’s keeping in the final over. "Gerry played a very vital role in that final over. He was the one who started things when he took a catch to get rid of Richie Benaud as he tried to hook Wes Hall. Gerry took the catch and threw the ball up, I can remember that like yesterday.
"Later in the over he did a great job to run out Wally Grout. The throw from Conrad Hunte from the boundary would not have made it to the stumps so Gerry made sure he took it in front the stumps and removed the bails. It was sharp thinking. If Grout got in and they would have made the runs and won the match so Gerry had to be quick. That one was very important. In that series he batted very well and kept very well. He was key to our overall success."