Sydney: Legendary Australian all-rounder Alan Davidson, who played 44 Tests since he made his debut in 1953, passed away on Saturday morning at the age of 92.
A left-arm pace bowler and a gritty low-order batter, Davidson’s death comes less than a day after the passing of former Test spinner Ashley Mallett, who died at the age of 76.
In the 44 Tests he played, Davidson took 186 wickets at an amazing average of 20.53, which has been bettered only by 14 bowlers — those who have delivered a minimum of 2000 balls in Test cricket — “and is superior to the marks achieved by Glenn McGrath, Malcolm Marshall, Curtly Ambrose, Richard Hadlee and Wasim Akram,” according to cricket.com.au.
A condolence message issued by Cricket Australia (CA) on Saturday said that, “Australian cricket is mourning the loss of Alan Davidson, one of cricket’s finest players and most influential and beloved figures, who died peacefully this morning (Saturday) aged 92, surrounded by his family.
“As a brilliant all-rounder for Australia and NSW (New South Wales), sports administrator and benefactor, Davidson leaves an enormous legacy across all levels of cricket in Australia and wherever the game is played.”
Davidson was born in Lisarow on the NSW Central Coast and progressed from a homemade wicket on the family property to become a destructive left-arm fast bowler and hard-hitting lower-middle order batter for NSW and Australia.
Davidson made his First-Class debut for NSW during the 1949/50 season and his Test debut on the 1953 Ashes tour. He took 186 Test wickets at 20.53 with best figures of 7/93 and scored 1,328 runs at 24.5, with a top score of 80.
After overcoming a series of injuries, Davidson was at his finest in the late 1950s and early 1960s under the captaincy of NSW teammate and close friend Richie Benaud.
“During a golden period for the Australian team that included three Ashes series victories as well as successful tours of South Africa and India, Davidson was widely recognised as the game’s predominant all-rounder,” said Cricket Australia.
Among Davidson’s many great performances, his innings of 80 on the final day of the 1960 tied Test against the West Indies in Brisbane, still stands out. In that match Davidson became the first man to score 100 runs and take 10 wickets in the same Test, despite entering the contest with a broken finger.
“As much as his wonderful playing career, Davidson will be forever remembered for the vast amount of time he volunteered to cricket, as well as other sports and charitable causes. This included 33 years as President of Cricket NSW, 20 years as a Trustee of the Sydney Cricket Ground and five years as an Australian Test selector between 1979-84,” said CA.
Among the many honours bestowed on Davidson for contributions to sport and charity, he was a member of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame and the ICC Hall of Fame, in addition to being a made a member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 1964 and awarded the Order of Australia in 1987.
Cricket Australia chairperson, Richard Freudenstein, said, “Alan Davidson’s passing is a sad moment for Australian cricket and for cricket across the world. Alan was a colossal figure in our game, not only as one of the finest players to have represented Australia and NSW, but for the positive influence he exerted across the game as an administrator, mentor and benefactor.
“The tremendous skill and the boundless spirit with which Alan embraced cricket and life embodied everything that is great about the game. He will remain a shining example for every player who follows in his footsteps.
“On behalf of Cricket Australia, and all those who benefitted from Alan’s vast contribution across Australian cricket, I offer my deepest condolences to the Davidson family as well Alan’s many close friends, colleagues and former teammates,” said Freudenstein.