Alex Bannister, an appreciation

Alex Bannister, one of the top cricket writers of the post-war years, who covered the sport for the Daily Mail between 1947 and 1979, has died, aged 92.

“He is a man whom we trust,” Ken Barrington, the former England Test batsman, said upon Bannister’s retirement. “His views were respected and we liked to have him around.” Bannister was friends with Sir Don Bradman, whose column he ghosted, and Sir Alec Bedser.

“Few journalists have the reputation and integrity of Alex,” Bradman said.

Born in Watford, Bannister served as a commando in the Second World War, fighting in the liberation of Italy, during which time he was captured behind enemy lines yet escaped to return to his unit.

According to an appreciation in today’s Mail, Bannister recalled of his working era: “It was more relaxing travelling on ships than planes, but the pressure for stories was greater because there were more journalists on tour.”

Trevor Bond writes:

Alex Bannister was already in his prime as a cricket writer supreme when I first met him in a press box – at the Oval in 1961, England v Australia, fifth Test. Norman O’Neill and Peter Burge made centuries for the Aussies. England saved the game with a century by Subba Row in his last Test for England against Australia and Ken Barrington’s 83. It also ended a series which saw two wicketkeepers set records – John Murray, 18 for England, Wally Grout’s 21 for Australia.

Alex simply summed it all up with the phrase in the Daily Mail the following day: “Better the bowler than the keeper but best of all the keeper”. I dread to think what he would say about Messrs Jones, Gilchrist etc in today’s game!

Sadly missed.

Bannister is survived by his wife, Delia, and one son.