England cricket legend Basil D'Oliveira dies

Basil D Oliveira was a member of the England squad whose tour of South Africa in 1968 had to be cancelled as the government there refused to accept his selection in the visiting party Getty Images

London: Nov 19, 2011

South African-born English cricketer Basil D’Oliveira passed away early Saturday morning. D’Oliveira, 80, was not keeping well for some time.

He came into the limelight in 1968, after being chosen to represent the English side for the tour of South Africa which had to be cancelled as the South African government refused to accept his presence.

This incident led to South Africa’s cricketing isolation. Subsequently, no team from any country toured South Africa until apartheid was abolished in 1990.

D’Oliveira played 44 Tests for England after migrating there due to lack of opportunities for non-white players in South Africa.

“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,” Cricket South Africa chief executive Gerald Majola was quoted as saying by The Telegraph.

“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,” he said.

D’Oliveira scored 2,484 runs, with five Test centuries and a batting average of 40.06. He took 47 Test wickets. (IANS)