Burgess ‘amazed’ at being world’s new oldest living first-class cricketer
Now with the passing away of Vasant Raiji, the oldest living first-class cricketer in the world is New Zealander Alan Burgess (born 1 May 1920), who appeared in 14 FC matches, mostly for Canterbury from 1940 to 1952 as an all-rounder.
Burgess didn’t know this (that he is now the oldest FC cricketer) until it was brought to his notice by this Reporter on Saturday morning.
Speaking exclusively over telephone from his retirement village in Rangiora, he said,
“I’m amazed, I was just sitting here minding my own business, and I got this news.’’
“Well, there you go, who would have thought. My condolence to Raiji family, (whom he has not known).’’
“Getting selected to play for the New Zealand forces team and playing at Lords was the highlight. One minute I was in the army, and the next I was playing cricket at Lords. Playing with Martin Donnelly was also a highlight, he was a wonderful cricketer.’’
Alan still follows cricket and was delighted when the Black Caps got in touch for his 100th birthday on May 1.
He played club cricket for Sydenham, and then played for Canterbury. His cricket was interrupted by the war, he served in Italy in the 20th Battalion, and he was a Sherman tank driver.
He fought his way through Monte Cassino and up to Trieste, where he got a call up to go to England.
Alan was planning to celebrate the new landmark (oldest cricketer) with a beer. “Why not?’’ he said.