Sunday, 20 November 2011

Basil D'Oliveira

Yesterday we learnt that the cricket player, Basil D'Oliveira had passed away at the age of 83. I remember watching him as a youngster who frequently spent much of his summer at Edgbaston Cricket Ground. At that time he was still playing county cricket for Worcestershire. He was a superb player - but was also renowned as an individual who played an important role in the battle against Apartheid in his native country of South Africa.

The BBC Obituary reads -

"Born in South Africa, he moved to England in 1960 because of to the lack of opportunities for non-white players.

In 1968 he was named in England's squad to tour South Africa which was then cancelled as the ruling National Party refused to accept his presence.

D'Oliveira played county cricket for Worcestershire between 1964-80 and represented England in 44 Tests, scoring 2,484 runs at an average of 40.

The headlines made by D'Oliveira in 1968 marked the start of South Africa's sporting isolation.

After being added to the England squad as a replacement for the injured Tom Cartwright the South African government made it clear a 'Cape coloured' would not be welcome.

The tour was called off and the incident culminated in a ban on sporting ties with South Africa which would last until the early 1990s. No official team from any country subsequently toured South Africa until apartheid was abolished following Nelson Mandela's release from prison in 1990."

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