Basil d'Oliveira dies

2011-11-19 08:12

London - Former England all-rounder Basil D'Oliveira, who ended up playing for his adopted country after seeing his path blocked in his native apartheid-era South Africa, has died at the age of 80.

D'Oliveira, who represented English county Worcestershire between 1964 and 1980 and will be fondly remembered for his trademark flamboyance with the bat, died in England after a long battle with Parkinson's disease.

"It is a sad time for us as a family but after a long battle against Parkinson's disease dad passed away peacefully, although it is difficult we will celebrate a great life rather than mourn a death," said D'Oliveira's son, Damian.

D'Oliveira made headlines in 1968 when he was included in the England squad for the tour of South Africa which had to be called off as the South African government refused to accept his presence.

The incident marked the start of South Africa's cricketing isolation, which would last through until the early 1990s.

Cricket South Africa chief executive Gerald Majola led the tributes to D'Oliveira, known as 'Dolly', saying he was a "true legend and a son of whom all South Africans can be extremely proud".

"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," Majola said.

D'Oliveira starred in Cape Town club cricket in his home country but found his path to the top of the game blocked in apartheid-era South Africa.

He moved to England at the urging of cricket commentator John Arlott and fought his way through the ranks to earn a place in the national side, where he went on to shine on the international stage after making his debut in 1966 at the age of 34.

He scored 2,484 runs at an average of 40, and took 47 wickets in 44 Tests.

His most famous innings saw him score 158 against Australia at The Oval in the 1968 Ashes, a tally that should have sealed his place in the tour of South Africa that would never take place.

He was initially left out of the side after pressure was exerted by the South African authorities, but after he was called in due to an injury to Tom Cartwright, the tour had to be cancelled.

"The circumstances surrounding his being prevented from touring the country of his birth with England in 1968 led directly to the intensification of opposition to apartheid around the world and contributed materially to the sports boycott that turned out to be an Achilles heel of the apartheid government," said Majola.

"Throughout this shameful period in South Africa's sporting history, Basil displayed a human dignity that earned him worldwide respect and admiration.
"His memory and inspiration will live on among all of us.

* Basil d’Oliveira is honoured in the trophy that bears his name that the Proteas squad and England compete for in every Test series between the two countries. The Proteas have held the trophy since 2008.



  • Neville - 2011-11-19 08:22

    We must play a tournament in honour of his name or a trophy

      malcolm.molver - 2011-11-19 08:36

      I think SA and England already contest the Basil d’Oliveira trophy. RIP

      Yusuf - 2011-11-19 09:32

      R.I.P. DOLLY Condolences to the family

      Yusuf - 2011-11-19 10:27

      I see the racists playing with their thumbs again

      theandystokes - 2011-11-19 10:42

      @Yusuf - For you to assume racists are pressing the thumbs down shows that you can't think of anything but racism - Get. Over. It!

      adrien.mcguire - 2011-11-19 21:39

      @ Yusuf You need to get a life, It is people like you that cause racialism. Can you not just comment without adding something that is not even mentioned in the posts, EXCEPT YOURS ! You are a disgrace !

  • Kenny - 2011-11-19 08:37

    A great cricketer robbed by apartheid and the ruling party at the time. The question is "has anything changed?" i just think of players whom i consider being robbed eg. Roelof vd Merwe, Ashwell P, Charl L, Puttick, JP Duminy, the wicketkeeper Khune, to mention a few. I think all these players are being robbed. All may not be political, but they are still being messed around by administrators and people with power and authority.

      Inky - 2011-11-19 11:12

      Do not forget KP !

      adrien.mcguire - 2011-11-21 17:16

      Your comment is baseless unless you finish it. Where would they fit in the team and who would you leave out. I would love to hear your response.

  • Ian - 2011-11-19 08:47

    omg i cant believe it, what a man, what a cricketer, RIP , deepest condolences to the family, I hope a moments silence at the wanderers today

  • emile.eley - 2011-11-19 08:51

    RIP Big Chief from all at Avendale!

  • Blip - 2011-11-19 09:35

    Farewell, Dolly! Great cricketer and an exceptionally great man.

  • Lonne - 2011-11-19 09:36

    Basil De Oliveira was an inspiration for all of us in Non-Racial sport during the apartheid era. He showed us that the colour of your skin should not be a barrier or a stumbling block in what you wanted to achieve. Hard work and dedication, will, in the end help you to reach your goal. RIP Basil.

      Yusuf - 2011-11-19 09:37

      well put lonne

  • Lebogang Dikgetsi - 2011-11-19 09:52

    May his soul rest in peace, he will never witness racism from the likes of AWB

  • larry.griffiths - 2011-11-19 09:59

    RIP Basil. Always a gentleman.

  • Cosmos O'Ndebele - 2011-11-19 10:47

    I wonder who came up with Apartheid?

      luke.slade - 2011-11-20 22:32

      DF Malan and Hendrik Verwoerd came up with it...but they were building upon a system of racial segregation that was put in place by the VOC and later legislation which was spearheaded by Cecil John Rhodes...

  • Alva - 2011-11-19 11:53


  • Grant - 2011-11-19 12:29

    An absolute legend .....RIP Basil

  • Skhona Skratchy-l Luswazi - 2011-11-19 15:21

    Apartheid did lots of damage in this country R.I.P sir

  • Jonty - 2011-11-19 18:06

    I was 11 when this went down, and thought they were over-reacting to cancel the tour because of one man. Reading this now is absolutely shocking, and makes me feel totally ashamed. What were we thinking in those days?! A trillion apologies wouldn't even scratch the surface, but thank God that system is dead and buried! RIP Dolly.

  • Piet - 2011-11-19 18:23

    Wat Pietersen e.a.

  • Nirosha - 2011-11-19 18:42

    Another atrocity thanks to apartheid that robbed a brilliant cricketer of the honor of playing for his home country due to the colour of his skin! My dad played for the non racial cricket club Aurora and I remember him telling us the story of Basil D Oliviera and even then at the age of six, I remember feeling a shame to be South African that cannot be described! RIP Dolly Nirosha Thyse Calgary, Canada

      Phil - 2011-11-20 08:42

      Yes Nirosha ...seeing people picked for sports teams , employment and University based on their skin colour is definitely SHAMEFUL. I will bet you are glad this never happens in current day South Africa. Hey?

      Inky - 2011-11-20 17:09

      @ Phil. It does still happen in current day SA. KP was a victim of racial selection in current SA.

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