Last year I drew the old English captain Ted Dexter before a talk he gave in acricket club near his home in Wolverhampton. When I asked him to sign my final drawing, he told me there was a problem, as he was suffering from "barking" but, picking up his morning crossword fountain pen and, after several careful practice efforts, he signed using mostly all caps.
When the club suggested asking him to autograph a limited series of 50 to raise funds, I told them, with concern, about his writing difficulties. They asked and he duly signed the full race. After his speech, he declined to charge anything but asked the club to donate to the group his grandson plays in, "to improve his credit there ".
I became a Sussex supporter in the 1950s, after seeing Ted Dexter and the Guardian Jim Parks counterbeat the ball in all directions in a county game in Hove, where my grandmother lived. Of course, I loved it when "Lord Ted " played for England or led Sussex to victory in the 1963 and 64 Gillette Cup Finals.
But my favorite memory came to Lords against Middlesex in a holiday game in 1959. Ted had warmed up in the morning and seemed irritated when he was interrupted for lunch. There was a somewhat dismal oompah-oompah marching band performing for the large party crowd who had the temerity to continue playing after play resumed, much to their visible annoyance.
At the first opportunity, Ted landed an exquisite shot for six in the middle of them, as if he were delivering a golf ball onto the green with extreme precision. It was clearly a wake-up call, but the band continued to play anyway. Of course, there would only ever be one winnereur in this battle of wills, as the hushed crowd had understood.
As soon as Ted took on the bowling next, we got ready. Sure enough, he roamed the field and delivered a wildly unorthodox top cut with a blow that audibly crashed into a poor musician's instrument, precipitating a mad rush of musicians out of it. the line of fire. Ted received a standing ovation from mostly Middlesex supporters.