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Basil d'Oliveira Dies Aged 83
Tributes pour in for South African-turned England batsman
Posted Nov 21, 2011 by Chris White
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Former England all-rounder Basil d’Oliveira has died at the age of 83. Born in South Africa, d’Oliveira moved to England in1960 because of the lack of opportunities for black sportsmen in his native country, and was later named in the squad to tour South Africa in 1968, but the National Party refused to accept his presence, prompting the tour to be postponed and the country to be thrown into sporting isolation.
D’Oliveira played county cricket for Worcestershire between 1946 and 1980, and played 44 Test matches for England, racking up 2,484 runs at an average of 40.06, taking 47 wickets.
‘Dolly’ was added to the England touring party in 1968 after Tom Cartwright was forced to withdraw, but the South African government were adamant that a ‘Cape coloured’ player would not be welcome. The tour was immediately postponed, and South Africa were banned from international sport until the early 1990s.
Cricket South Africa chief executive Gerald Majola paid tribute to d’Oliveira, who was battling Parkinson’s disease. “He was a man of true dignity and a wonderful role model as somebody who overcame the most extreme prejudices and circumstances to take his rightful place on the world stage,” he said.
Many players, journalists and commentators have taken to Twitter to pay their tributes, with Jonathan Agnew posting “Basil D'Oliveira: Big character, stylish batsman & partnership-breaker. Best remembered as the man who unwittingly began apartheid's demise”. Former England captain Michael Vaughan simply said “RIP Basil d’Oliveira…Great man.”
Worcestershire marked his achievements in the game in 2003, by naming their new stand after him at New Road, and the Queen made him a CBE in 2005. The d’Oliveira Trophy is now the prize at the end of the England-South Africa Test series.
See a video clip from the Telegraph newspaper about Basil d’Oliveira here: