In 2020, former Scotland international Alex Steele received a life-altering diagnosis of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a fatal respiratory condition. Medical professionals conveyed to his family the grim prognosis that Steele’s time might be limited. Nevertheless, despite the daunting news, the indomitable 83-year-old remained undaunted. Astonishingly, three years later, this former wicket-keeper batter is still actively participating in his club’s cricket matches, with an oxygen cylinder affixed to his back.
The cricketing realm stands in awe of this unprecedented spectacle, marking an unparalleled occurrence in the annals of cricket history. Alex Steele, a distinguished ex-first-class cricketer, inaugurated his Scotland debut in 1967. Over the course of his career, he competed in eight matches representing the national team, subsequently withdrawing from the game for what was initially intended to be a temporary hiatus.
Strikingly, this break extended for a substantial eight-year span, culminating in his reentry to the cricketing stage in 1977. On his comeback, Steele participated in a game against Ireland, which served as a prelude to an additional five first-class matches in the ensuing three years. Within the constraints of his limited playing time, Steele exhibited commendable performance statistics. Accumulating 621 runs across 14 first-class matches, he maintained an impressive average of 24.84.
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Additionally, Steele notched two half-centuries in international cricket, both encounters being against neighboring rival Ireland. His highest score of 97 runs in international competition remains a testament to his prowess. Moreover, Steele’s role as a wicketkeeper bore fruit with 11 successful catches and two stumpings.
Following an incident that drew significant attention across social media platforms, Steele expressed his elation to The Times, stating, “It was quite gentle cricket, but absolutely wonderful. I’m absolutely thrilled to say that I stood up to the stumps for the full 30 overs.”
Despite contending with various health adversities, Steele’s remarkable courage spurred his return to the cricket field. Post-match, he conveyed his determination to continue participating in cricket, firmly asserting his refusal to bow down to challenges. Reflecting on his resilience, Steele underscored the significance of one’s attitude towards illness, noting the contrast between those who succumb to adversity and those who persevere.
“One of the most important things is your own attitude to the illness,” he remarked. “I know of people who when something ill happens to them, give up the ghost and feel sorry for themselves. I haven’t felt that myself,” Steele added, emphasizing his unwavering spirit in the face of adversity