Eric Bedser was born on July 4, 1918, in Reading, Berkshire. His cricket ability was overshadowed by the achievements of his twin brother, Sir Alec Bedser. Eric Arthur Bedser died at the age of 87 in May 2006. He had been in poor health for some time.
He was identical in almost every way to Alec – except in bowling style. The story goes that they were both originally strapping medium-pacers, but realized they wouldn’t both be able to play for Surrey like that. So they tossed a coin, Alec won, and Eric turned to off-spin and worked more on his batting.
He became a very handy county all-rounder, who was probably unlucky not to win a Test cap or two. Eric passed 1000 runs in a season on six occasions, and managed over 800 wickets as well, even though he was often competing to get on with Jim Laker and Tony Lock during Surrey’s 1950s heyday.
But he played a vital role in Surrey’s success. He neared the double of 1000 runs and 100 wickets but was thwarted by bad weather. Stuart Surridge, Surrey’s captain at the time. Though, without Eric Bedser in the side, Surrey might not have retained the championship title.
The Bedser made their first-class debuts in the same match in June 1939, and their careers ran alongside each other, although Eric carried on for one season longer before retiring in 1961. Throughout their lives, the brothers were virtually inseparable. So, Alec took it, Eric declined it, and they remained together but shared by pay rise.
At the time of retirement they remained side by side and identically dressed, forging a successful business career their stationary firm Straker Bedser was eventually taken over by Rymans). Eric accompanied Alec on all his tours, and they were still, in their eighties, ever-present and ever ready to comment on big cricket occasions. He was also made the president of the county in 1990.
Eric Bedser, a first-class career that lasted 23 years, played in 457 matches, scoring 14,716 runs at an average of 24.00 with 10 first-class hundreds. He has taken 833 wickets at an average of 24.95; his best bowling was 7 for 33.
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