Legendary Zim cricketer Lewis dies

HARARE - David Lewis, one of the greatest cricketers to emerge out of Zimbabwe, died peacefully in Johannesburg on Saturday at the age of 85.

Lewis, who was born in Bulawayo on July 27, 1927 and was a fluent Ndebele speaker, captained the Rhodesia national team in the pre-Independence era before becoming a president of the Zimbabwe board after ending his playing career.

A prolific batsman in 13 years of first-class cricket, he scored 3254 runs in 73 matches at 30.69, including eight hundreds.

Tributes for the Oxford University-trained lawyer poured in yesterday from close friends and fellow administrators, with his successor as board president, Alwyn Pichanick, describing him as a “dominant figure” in local cricket.

“He was an outstanding and professional lawyer and made a great contribution to cricket as a player and administrator over a long period of time starting in 1950 when he came back from university,” Pichanick said yesterday.

“He was captain for many years, over a period right through to his retirement in 1978. He was a dominant figure in Rhodesian cricket.

“He was a fantastic batman and a brilliant fielder. He captained Rhodesia from 1953 to 1960 then he handed over the captaincy after he was picked by South Africa for a tour of Australia in 1963-64. He took over the captaincy when we were in the B section of the Currie Cup until we got promoted to the A section.”

Former Zimbabwe Cricket Union Dave Ellman-Brown said Lewis was “highly-respected man who made an enormous contribution” to the game.

“He was a great cricketer and administrator. He was captain of the country and president of the board as well as vice-president of the South African cricket board,” said Ellman-Brown.

“His contribution was enormous both as a cricketer and administrator. A highly-respected man as a cricketer and lawyer in the country, he was now retired and had been living with his daughter in Johannesburg for four years. A great man who lived by high principles throughout his life. He will be greatly missed It’s sad, but he was 85 and had been suffering ill-heath for a while and died quietly at home on Saturday.

“He did a great job in maintaining cricket in this country, especially when he was captain of the side. He had a great team. He would certainly feature in all-time XI from this country. He was a good batsman and a very good leader.”

Long-serving Zimbabwe Cricket chairman Peter Chingoka described him as an “icon” of Zimbabwean cricket.

 “He was a wonderful gentleman and administrator. There is a lot that we all leant from him. It’s a very sad loss to the cricket fraternity and I join his family in mourning an icon.”

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.