Allan Fitzroy Rae was born on September 30, 1922, in Rollington Town, Kingston, Jamaica. Allan Rae, the former West Indies batsman, went on to become a leading administrator. He died at a nursing home in his native Jamaica at the age of 82 on February 27, 2005. Rae had been in failing health for several years.
Allan Rae was born into a cricketing family; his father played for Jamaica, and Rae followed him to Kingston CC and then to the island side. The war meant that Rae, a solid but technically correct left-hand opener, did not play for the West Indies until he was 26. But he made an immediate impression with hundreds in the second and fourth Tests against India in 1948–49. He made his test debut against India in 1948–49 in the first Test of Delhi.
Allan Rae was a certainty for the 1950 tour of England, where he started with a beautiful inning of 97 at Manchester. After that, he played another match-winning inning of 106 for the famous victory at Lord’s. He added another 109 at the Oval for good measure. Although he was struggling on the tour of Australia in 1951–52, he ended the tour with a 99 against New Zealand. He also played twice against India in the Caribbean in 1952–53 but quit when still only 30 to pursue his legal career.
In his 15 tests, he scored 1,016 runs at 46.18, including four hundred and four fifties with 10 catches. He formed a solid opening with Jeff Stollmeyer, and their average stand of 71.00 remains a West Indies record for years. Allan Rae’s first-class career spanned from 1946–47 until 1959–60. He scored 4,798 in 80 matches, with a career-best of 179. He scored 17 hundred, 15 fifties and held 42 catches.
Allan Rae maintained his links with the game, becoming president of the Jamaican Cricket Association. A post he held for more than a decade. He was a member of the West Indies Board of Control (WIBC), led by his old partner, Stollmmeyer. He argued that the ICC had no right to ban a player who had signed with Kerry Packer in the late 1970s, claiming it was an unreadable restraint of trade.
Those words came back to haunt the English authorities, who were taken to court by some players and punished for exactly that restraint. In 1981, he became president of the WIBC and, during a difficult seven-year term, pursued a dogged anti-apartheid policy that led to life bans against all those who toured South Africa with the rebel West Indies sides. He was also instrumental in establishing contracts for players, which helped to avoid a repetition of such a tour. This is unquestionably the end of an era in Jamaican and West Indies cricket. He dedicated his life to this game, and no man who ever played cricket had had more love and respect for the game and all it stood for. Jackie Hendriks gives his thoughts.
As both player and administrator, Allan was determined to ensure that the integrity of the game was inviolate, and this infected most of those with whom he came into contact. A hard taskmaster, he nevertheless derived particular pride and pleasure from the success of young players and won their respect and admiration. Allan Rae had a very dominating presence in the game. All meant so much to West Indies Cricket, not only as a player but as a hard-working administrator. He even neglected his legal practice at times because of his dedication to cricket in Jamaica. He will remain an icon in West Indies cricket.
In a discussion recalling former West Indies batsman Everton Weekes said he was a great teammate. When he first met Rae, he was attacking the player. But when we were on a tour of India, he transformed his batting very soundly and solidly. Then we sent him to England, and he was proven again. But he was a very intelligent person who played his cricket that way as well. He played to suit the conditions and the team’s structure.