Death of SA spinner who aided Oz series win

2020-04-09 11:18

Leg-spinner Jackie du Preez, who played in the last two Tests of South Africa’s 1966/67 home series triumph over Australia, has died in his home country of Zimbabwe, aged 77.

His passing - on Wednesday - following illness was confirmed to Sport24 by KwaZulu-Natal-based cousin Russell Kay, who said Du Preez had been a close friend of Rhodesia and Zimbabwe all-rounder Duncan Fletcher, former head coach of England, India and Western Province.

Born John Harcourt du Preez in Salisbury (now Harare) on November 14, 1942, and educated at Prince Edward School, he was a stalwart of an often forceful Rhodesia team in the former Currie Cup domestic competition in South Africa, also featuring such names as Brian Davison, Goofy Lawrence, John Traicos and Colin Bland.

A tobacco farmer by profession, Du Preez was most renowned for his leg-breaks (he bagged 296 first-class wickets at an average of 31.07, with an innings best of eight for 92) although he was a batting factor as well, notching 4 063 runs at 23.76 with one century.

He made his debut for the then-Springboks in the fourth Test of that 1966/67 series against Bobby Simpson’s Australians - a draw at St George’s Park - and was also selected for the fifth and final clash in Johannesburg, which South Africa won by seven wickets to seal the series spoils at 3-1.

Although his bowling opportunities were relatively limited, he got three wickets across his pair of appearances at an average of 17.

Illustrious SA team-mates at the time included Graeme Pollock, Eddie Barlow, Ali Bacher and Mike Procter, while Ian Chappell and Bill Lawry were part of the beaten line-up.

Du Preez also served as a Zimbabwe national selector.

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing

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