An all-round cricketer whose greatest strength was as a left-arm fast-medium bowler, Alan Davidson played in 44 Test matches for Australia, scoring 1,328 runs at an average of 24.59 and capturing 186 wickets at an average of 20.53, including a memorable 7 for 93 against India.
Born at Lisarow in the Gosford region of New South Wales, Davidson broke into Sheffield Shield cricket in 1949-50 and the following season was selected to tour New Zealand with the Australian Second XI. In the match against Wairarapa, he took all ten first innings wickets for 29 runs, and followed up with a score of 157 not out.
In 1953, Davidson was selected for the Australian side to tour England as a utility player in a team that included star bowlers such as Ray Lindwall, Keith Miller and Bill Johnston. He made his Test debut at Nottingham -the first of 44. After another tour to England in 1956, Davidson was a member of the Australian side that toured South Africa in 1957-58, topping the bowling averages and battling brilliantly. He took 25 wickets in five Tests at an average of 17.00, and was third in the tour batting averages with 54.20.
The following season, against England, Davidson took 24 wickets in five Tests at 19.00, including three wickets in one over in the second Test. He played in five more Test series until his retirement from the international scene after the 1962-63 series against England.
A hard-hitting, spectacular batsman, Davidson scored 80 in the second innings of the historic tied test against the West Indies in 1960-61. In that match he became the first player to score over 100 runs and take ten wickets or more in a Test match -all of which was undertaken despite his starting the match with a broken finger. Later in 1961, Davidson -who scored 77 not out in partnership with Graeme Mackenzie worth 98 for the last wicket – clinched the vital Fourth Test in England to take Australia to a 2-1 lead and the Ashes.
Davidson toured England three times, India and Pakistan twice, and the West Indies and South Africa once. He has maintained an active involvement with the game, as both a selector and an administrator. Named Wisden’s Cricketer of the Year in 1962, Davidson was awarded an MBE in 1964, and an AM in 1987, both in recognition of his significant contribution to cricket. He also has a rare honour in the cricketing pantheon, having scored 1000 runs and taken 100 wickets. He is also an Australian Cricket Hall of Fame inductee, and a member of New South Wales’ Team of the Millennium, announced in 2000.