When finished with helping to crush the forces of evil which menaced the world Alec Victor Bedser, the minor of the Surrey twin professionals, jumped to fame in cricket circles. One can scarcely write his biography without bringing in his brother, Eric Arthur, because until [Walter] Hammond's team sailed for Australia their lives were linked inseparably. Neither had been away from the other for more than a few days and both shared in the plan and development of anything either of them accomplished.
They were born on July 4, 1918, at Reading, where their father was stationed with the Royal Air Force, and within six months the family moved to Woking. Here they stayed, and to Woking must be given the credit for providing them with chances to take part in cricket and football They remember playing their first organised cricket at the age of seven for All Saints' Choir, Woodham, and they excelled at games for Monument Hill School and the Woking Cricket Club. Natural players, they received every encouragement from their father and mother, but the secret of their success was keenness and readiness to bat and bowl to each other which ensured constant practice. At one time the law might have claimed them, for on leaving school they joined a firm of solicitors in Lincoln's Inn, but fortunately for cricket they were spotted by Alan Peach, the Surrey coach, in the nets of a cricket school at Woking.
Many experts have compared Alec with Maurice Tate, whose style and action he closely resembles, but Alec says he never saw Tate in his prime and did not model himself on any bowler.
For a pace bowler he takes a comparatively short run of eight paces and imparts all his energy at the moment of delivery. Immensely strong, he can keep bowling for long spells and when at the top of his form he rarely sends down a loose ball. He uses the swerve very little, but turns the ball either way off the ground. A dependable fielder close to the wicket, his large hands usually grab anything within reasonable reach. While bowling is his first consideration, he is a useful batsmen late in the order and not without style, especially when hitting through the covers. He and his brother simply live for cricket and they are popular wherever they appear.
Wisden 2010 is published on 15 April www.wisden.comReuse content