Cricket administrator Alan Crompton was a friend of India

By Kersi Meher-Homji

Cricket personality Alan Barons Crompton. OAM, died on Wednesday the 20th April at the Hammond Care Palliative Care Unit at Woy Woy aged 81. He was my dear friend.

A formidable influence in cricket circles in Australia since late 1950s, Crompton was a noted all-rounder (batsman, wicket-keeper and captain in grade cricket for many years), administrator, team manager and Chair of the Australian Cricket Board from 1992 to 1995. He gave and sacrificed much for cricket, never grabbing headlines.

An outstanding Sydney Grade cricketer for more than 20 years, initially with Waverley and then with Sydney University, Crompton held numerous positions across local, state and Australian cricket including Chair of Cricket NSW and delegate to Cricket Australia before his appointment as Australian Cricket Board Chair.

In Sydney’s first Grade Cricket from 1958 to 1983, he scored 7266 runs and made over 350 dismissals as wicket-keeper.
At the Board table, he is fondly remembered for his intelligent appraisals of significant issues and meticulous attention to detail. Friends called him “Crommo”.
He also served three times as manager of touring Australian Test teams, including to India in 1986, where his deep concern for the welfare of the players ensured vital support for team members.

He was awarded the Order of Australia Medal and life membership of both Cricket NSW and the Sydney University Cricket Club.

Dr Lachlan Henderson, the current Cricket Australia Chair, said: “Everyone at Cricket Australia who worked with Alan and all those who have benefitted from his service to cricket will be deeply saddened by his passing. The energy, enthusiasm and expertise Alan brought to cricket in New South Wales and Australia for more than 60 years was remarkable and he leaves an outstanding legacy at all levels of the game.

“Our thoughts and sympathy are with Alan’s wife Gabby, his family and all those across the cricket world fortunate to have experienced his friendship and guidance.”

Now at a personal level, I became friends with Alan during a Sydney University cricket match at Gosford in 1973. Thanks to him my wife Villie and I befriended his mother Leila who baby sat for our children Jehangir and Zubin in 1980s who called her “grandma”.

We had attended Alan’s wedding to Gabby, picking up dear Leila from her home and bringing her with us to the Church as per Alan’s request.

I recently met Alan and Gabby at the launch of the book The Tied Test in Madras:  Controversy, Courage and Crommo by Ronald Cardwell. The book described in detail the tied Madras (now Chennai) Test of 1986 where Alan was the manager of the Australian team. 

Alan Border captained Australia in the above Test scoring 106. He wrote in the Foreword, “Alan Crompton was a tremendous manager. Many times he was able to negotiate favourable outcomes with the Indian cricket officials and personnel. He was a man of all seasons.”

He befriended many friends in India.

I often met Alan Crompton at the Australian Cricket Society meetings organised by Ronald Cardwell and discussed cricket and other topics.

A wonderful man, Alan. So caring and affectionate, a true family man with a spontaneous smile. May his noble and friendly soul rest in eternal peace! Our condolences to his wife Gabby and children.

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