Allan Rae

West Indies cricketer
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The Independent Online

Allan Rae would have died saddened by hearing such distinguished commentators as Tony Becca and Tony Cozier declaring, after recent events in Australia, that West Indies cricket was at its lowest ebb ever. As a left-handed opening batsman, sound and reliable, for Jamaica and West Indies, the son of a West Indies player and then later a cool and intelligent administrator, Rae was one of the architects of the West Indies teams that dominated world cricket 30 years ago.

Allan Fitzroy Rae, cricketer and barrister: born Rollington Town, Jamaica 30 September 1922; died Kingston, Jamaica 27 February 2005.

Allan Rae would have died saddened by hearing such distinguished commentators as Tony Becca and Tony Cozier declaring, after recent events in Australia, that West Indies cricket was at its lowest ebb ever. As a left-handed opening batsman, sound and reliable, for Jamaica and West Indies, the son of a West Indies player and then later a cool and intelligent administrator, Rae was one of the architects of the West Indies teams that dominated world cricket 30 years ago.

His father, Ernest Rae, a middle-order batsman and leg-spinner, toured England in 1928 without playing in a Test match. The younger Rae emerged with Jamaica in 1946-47, scoring 111 and 128 against Trinidad in Port of Spain. In November 1948, in Delhi, he made his Test début and began his famous opening partnership with Jeffrey Stollmeyer, making his maiden century (104) in the second Test in Bombay. The opening pair won their first headlines in the fourth Test in Madras with a partnership of 239 and Rae finished the tour with another 97 in the fifth Test, again in Bombay.

Tall, broad, with a strong defence and a fierce drive, Rae was then established and he and Stollmeyer were the first obstacle facing England when West Indies arrived for what became their most famous tour in 1950, when, with a prodigious batting order and two devastating young spinners, Sonny Ramadhin and Alf Valentine, West Indies served notice that a new power had arrived, defeating a strong England side 3-1 by margins of 326, 10 wickets and an innings and 56. Rae emerged from the tour of India with a Test average of 53.42, an impressive figure he improved in England to 62.83, including centuries at Lord's and the Oval.

Rae played as an amateur and professional calls as a barrister limited the time he could give to cricket. He was less successful in New Zealand in 1951-52 and thereafter confined himself to Caribbean cricket, finishing, from his 15 Tests, with an aggregate of 1,016 runs at an average of 46.18.

He retired to his legal practice in 1960 but devoted much of his time to cricket and was President of the West Indies Board from 1981 to 1988. As President of the Jamaica Board when Kerry Packer enticed players into a rival cricket circuit, Rae argued that to penalise West Indies players who signed contracts with Packer was an illegal restraint of trade, wiser advice than that offered the English establishment, who lost a costly court case.

Derek Hodgson

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