Retirement home fire claims ex-England cricketer Trevor ‘Barnacle’ Bailey’s life

Friday, February 11, 2011

ESSEX - A fire at a retirement home in Westcliff, Essex, claimed the life of former England cricketer Trevor Bailey on Thursday. He was 87.

Regarded as one of English cricket’s greatest all-rounders and most distinctive voices in the commentary box, Trevor Bailey, who was given the nickname of “Barnacle” because of his immovable batting, perished in the fire.His wife, Greta, however,was rescued.

According to The Sun, in his heyday as a cricketer in the 1940s and 1950s, Bailey was a stoic batsman, fine fast-medium bowler and a superb fielder . He appeared in three successive Ashes-winning campaigns in the 1950s.

Later, Bailey became one of sport’s most respected pundits as a summariser on BBC Radio’s Test Match Special where he worked for more than 20 years. He was concise and to the point.

Because of his laconic style, many believed Bailey to be curmudgeonly but he was a kind and generous man.

Bailey also wrote several books and became chief sports writer of the Financial Times, covering the 1972 Olympic Games as well as cricket.

Bailey was Mr Essex, captaining the club and working as secretary for 12 years, mostly at the same time as playing.

It was a chaotic time because Essex did not have a home and had to move everything - including the scoreboard, marquees and chairs - from one venue to the next.

After his retirement, Bailey went on several England tours as a tour group leader.

In India in 1993, he arrived at Mumbai airport with 30 fans but no tickets.

His wife had thrown them away - but he was able to charm his way out of that tricky situation.

Bailey’s 163-run partnership with Willie Watson against Australia at Lord’s in 1953 has gone down in Ashes history.

The pair saved the Test by batting for most of the final day, with Bailey’s contribution 71 in 257 minutes.

He took 357 minutes to reach a half-century while opening the batting against the Aussies in Brisbane in 1958-59. He could be very stubborn indeed at the crease.

Bailey was also a fine footballer and won the old FA Amateur Cup with Walthamstow Avenue.

He made 2,290 runs and took 132 wickets in 61 Tests and is the only England player to score 2,000 runs and take 100 wickets in a county season. (ANI)

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