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DAVID LLOYD: Ted Dexter was a real adventurer, and was loved by all

DAVID LLOYD: I saw him standing in the field practising his golf swing! Ted Dexter was a real adventurer, loved by all… and was one of the best amateur golfers I have ever seen

  • Ted Dexter would always amuse me when he practised his golf swing in the field 
  • The former England star was the greatest amateur golfer I have ever seen 
  • Ted liked to live life in the fast lane and was part rebel, part establishment
  • He was a real adventurer and cricket will miss him very much following his death 

My first recollection of playing against Ted Dexter in a Championship match is at Hove in 1966. Brian Statham was steaming down the hill for Lancashire, and Dexter got on the back foot and hit him back over his head towards the deckchairs.

He didn’t get many runs in that game, but it was an extraordinary shot — and typical of the man. He had this presence: tall, elegant and a definite swagger. But he wasn’t arrogant and he was unbelievably popular on the circuit. He was a true gent.

It always amused me to watch Ted in the field. He’d be standing there, tinkering with an imaginary golf club, then taking an imaginary swing — and probably landing it close to an imaginary pin. 

Ted Dexter (left, pictured with Bob Willis) was a real adventurer and lived life in the fast lane

The story goes that he once played a round with the great South African golfer Gary Player and regularly outdrove him. Player reckoned Ted was the best amateur golfer he ever saw.

He wasn’t afraid to be different. When he became England’s chairman of selectors in the late 1980s, I was looking after the national youth teams at a schools festival. We had some good young lads there —Andrew Flintoff and Marcus Trescothick — and Ted popped in to take a look.

He arrived in this drop top sports car, so I went over to introduce myself, and started telling him about Flintoff and Trescothick. To which he replied: ‘Would you like a spin in my new car?’ I politely declined.

I remember him practising his golf swing in the field, he was the best amateur I have seen

I remember him practising his golf swing in the field, he was the best amateur I have seen

We tended not to mix in the same circles. The story goes that when he and his wife Susan, who was a model, first set eyes on each other — and liked the look of what they saw — it was at a party for the 11th Hussars. My invite was lost in the post…

Ted lived life in the fast lane. He owned a powerful motorbike and would arrive at Lord’s for meetings in his leathers. Once inside the Grace Gates, he would take them off to reveal a lovely pinstripe suit. That summed up two different aspects of his character: a bit of a rebel at times, but part of the establishment too. 

It must be said Ted was prone to a gaffe or two. When he was chairman of selectors, he memorably tried to recall the name of the new Derbyshire fast bowler England had just picked — and plumped for ‘Malcolm Devon’. But no one ever held it against him. He was too well-loved.

Ted was part rebel, part establishment, and was loved by all. Cricket will miss him dearly

Ted was part rebel, part establishment, and was loved by all. Cricket will miss him dearly

Over the years, the England player who most reminded me of Ted was Kevin Pietersen. They were both tall and had an aura. They just wanted to take the opposition on.

Ted’s most famous innings in that regard came against West Indies at Lord’s in 1963, when he hit Hall, Griffith, Sobers and Gibbs for 70 off 75 balls. In those days, the game was played at a sedate pace, so to have a dasher come in and bat like that made everyone sit up.

That was Ted — a real adventurer. Cricket will miss him very much.

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