Obituary: The life of Alwyn Pichanick

HARARE - On Friday, October 27, a memorial service was held at Harare Sports Club for Alwyn Pichanick, former president of Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC), who died on October 9 in Australia, where he had retired, at the age of 84.

The service was led by former Zimbabwe cricketer Nigel Hough, and the main tribute was given by Pichanick’s co-worker for many years, and his eventual successor as ZC president, Dave Ellman-Brown.

Pichanick’s family were Jewish immigrants from Romania, although he himself was a committed Christian.

The tributes paid to him concentrated not only on what he had done, particularly for Zimbabwe cricket and in the legal world, but also on the man he was, especially his unfailing kindness, courtesy, helpfulness and generosity to all.

Pichanick was educated at Prince Edward School and the University of Cape Town, and became a distinguished lawyer with Winterton, Holmes and Hill from 1956 until his retirement in 2013.

His father, Harry, was a former mayor of Salisbury, as Harare was then known, and secretary of the then Rhodesia Cricket Union, and has a road in the Alexandra Park suburb named in his honour.

Alwyn played club cricket for Old Hararians and also represented Mashonaland, but made his greatest contributions to cricket in this country as an administrator.

He was a national selector and also team manager from 1972 to 1975, and served as president of the Zimbabwe Cricket Union, as it then was, from 1976 to 1990.

To start with, he and his vice-president Ellman-Brown virtually ran the country’s cricket between them out of his legal office, with the help of their secretaries.

Since independence in 1980, he worked hard towards gaining full International Cricket Council (ICC) membership and Test status for Zimbabwe.

He was appointed a member of parliament for four years, and in 1991 as the first chairperson of the Sports and Recreation Commission.

This appointment required him to stand down as ZCU president; it was left to Ellman-Brown to achieve Test status for Zimbabwe in 1992, but Pichanick’s tenure had prepared the groundwork for this.

Cricket in this country will always be greatly indebted to his untiring work and leadership for many years, and he has left a wonderful legacy.

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