Basil D'Oliveira

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Basil D'Oliveira
Personal information
Full name Basil Lewis D'Oliveira
Born (1931-10-04)4 October 1931
Cape Town, Cape Province, Union of South Africa
Died 19 November 2011(2011-11-19) (aged 80)
Worcester, Worcestershire, England
Nickname Dolly, Bas
Batting style Right-handed
Bowling style Right arm medium
Role All-rounder, coach
International information
National side
Test debut (cap 432) 16 June 1966 v West Indies
Last Test 10 August 1972 v Australia
ODI debut (cap 3) 5 January 1971 v Australia
Last ODI 28 August 1972 v Australia
Domestic team information
Years Team
1960–1963 Middleton C.C
1964–1980 Worcestershire
Career statistics
Competition Test ODI FC LA
Matches 44 4 367 187
Runs scored 2484 30 19490 3770
Batting average 40.06 10.00 40.26 24.96
100s/50s 5/15 0/0 45/101 2/19
Top score 158 17 227 102
Balls bowled 5706 204 41079 7892
Wickets 47 3 551 190
Bowling average 39.55 46.66 27.45 23.56
5 wickets in innings 0 17 1
10 wickets in match 0 n/a 2 n/a
Best bowling 3/46 1/19 6/29 5/26
Catches/stumpings 29/– 1/– 215/– 44/–
Source: Cricinfo, 10 April 2008

Basil Lewis D'Oliveira CBE (4 October 1931 – 19 November 2011),[1] known affectionately around the world as "Dolly",[2] was a South African cricketer who played for England. D'Oliveira was classified as 'coloured' under the apartheid regime, and hence barred from first-class cricket, resulting in his emigration to England. He played for the England cricket team in forty-four Test matches, and four ODIs. Despite his cricketing prowess, he was best known because of the "D'Oliveira affair", centred on his inclusion in the England side for a planned tour to South Africa in 1968.[3]

Early life[edit]

Born in Signal Hill, Cape Town, of Indian-Portuguese descent,[4] as a boy he would make his way down to the Newlands cricket ground in Cape Town, and climb the trees outside to watch the games.[5]

D'Oliveira captained South Africa's national non-white cricket team, and also played football for the non-white national side.[6]

Career[edit]

With the support of John Arlott, and the members and supporters of St Augustine's Cricket Club in Cape Town, he emigrated to England in 1960, where the journalist John Kay found him a place in his Central Lancashire League team of Middleton.[1] D'Oliveira noted his surprise at seeing white people doing menial work, and waiting on him in restaurants.[7] He joined the "first-class cricket" Worcestershire County Cricket Club in 1964, and became a British citizen.

In 1966 he was selected for the English cricket team as an all-rounder to face the West Indians in the second Test. He made a solid debut scoring 27 before being run out, and returning bowling figures of 1 for 24 and 1 for 46 in 39 overs. In the third Test he scored 76 and 54, while capturing 2 wickets for 51 and 2 for 77 at Trent Bridge; though the West Indies cantered to a 139-run victory. He contributed a fighting 88 in the fourth Test at Headingley, although England once again lost by an innings and 55 runs. D'Oliveira was quietly efficient in the final Test as England turned the tables on the West Indies, winning by an innings and 34 runs to finish the series as 3-1 losers. Against India he hit 109 in the first Test where England won by six wickets and went on to win the series 3-0. Facing Pakistan he hit fifties in both innings of the first Test, in a series that England won 2-0.[8] He was one of the Wisden cricketers of the year for 1967.[9]

Next up was an away series against the West Indies, early in 1968. D'Oliveira didn't turn in his best showing in the five matches, scoring only 137 runs at an average of 27.4. He did a lot of bowling, but picked up only three wickets, even though he was economical. Once back in England, it was time for a five-Test Ashes series. The Aussies crushed England by 159 runs in first Test as England crumbled in their second innings, despite D'Oliveira's top scoring effort of 87 not out. He was then dropped for the subsequent three Tests. He was recalled by the selectors for the final Test at the Oval, and 158 runs in the first innings against Australia seemed to have guaranteed his place in the side to play the 1968–69 Test series in South Africa.[1] He was left out of the touring party under the pretext that his bowling would not be effective in his native country.

He was selected in June 1969 to face the West Indies, this time in a three-Test series. He followed that with a three-match series against New Zealand and then a seven-Test Ashes series in Australia, in which he scored 369 runs at an average of 36.9, including 117 in the fifth Test at the MCG.

England then went to New Zealand for two Tests, with D'Oliveira scoring 100 in the first one and 58 and five in the second. Pakistan next visited England in 1971, and D'Oliveira enjoyed a fine series with the bat, making 241 runs at an average of 60.25. He was below-par in the three-Test series against India that followed, but was in better form for the visit of Australia in June 1972.

D'Oliveira completed his career having played 41 Tests. He scored 2484 runs at an average of 40.06, with five centuries and 15 fifties. He also captured 47 wickets at 39.55.

Playing style and personality[edit]

D'Oliveira was a successful batsman with a low backlift and powerful strokes.[1] He was also a tough competitor. When he toured Australia in 1970–71 on the night after they won the series 2–0 he pushed his forefinger into the chest of every Australian he met, saying "We stuffed you."[10]

Wanting to play international cricket, D'Oliveira was somewhat cagey about his date of birth. After his death, journalist Pat Murphy with whom he collaborated on his autobiography stated:[5]

Basil had to lie about his age because he thought if they realised how old he was they would not pick him for England. So he came down from born in 1935 at that time, solidifying his place in the team as 1933 born and when I wrote his book in 1980 he finally conceded he was born in 1928. So by my calculation he was 38 when he first played for England in 1966 and 83 when he died.

The D'Oliveira Affair[edit]

South African cricket officials in 1968 realised that the inclusion of D'Oliveira in the England squad would lead to the cancellation of the tour, and probable exclusion of South Africa from Test cricket. This exerted pressure on the MCC hierarchy leading to the decision not to pick him, which was felt by opponents of apartheid to be a way of keeping cricket links with South Africa open. There was dissent in the press to this course of events and when Warwickshire's Tom Cartwright was ruled out because of injury, D'Oliveira was called up into the squad.[1] South African prime minister B.J. Vorster had already made it clear that D'Oliveira's inclusion was not acceptable, and despite many negotiations the tour was cancelled. This was seen as a watershed in the sporting boycott of apartheid South Africa.[11] The D'Oliveira Affair had a massive impact in turning international opinion against the oppressive apartheid regime in South Africa. It prompted changes in South African sport and eventually in society.

Legacy[edit]

In 2000, he was nominated as one of 10 South African cricketers of the century, despite not having played for South Africa.[12] In 2004, a perpetual trophy was struck for Test series between England and South Africa, and named the Basil D'Oliveira Trophy. In 2005, he was awarded a CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours.[13] In the same year, a stand at New Road, Worcester, was named in his honour.

In 1980 after the end of his playing career, he wrote an autobiography with the BBC's Pat Murphy, titled Time to Declare. In it, he stated for the first time that he was glad that the proposed South African cricket tour to England in 1970 was called off, for fear of public disturbances.[5] In 2004, journalist Peter Oborne wrote a biography entitled Basil D'Oliveira: Cricket and Conspiracy, which was awarded the William Hill Sports Book of the Year[14] and was accompanied by Paul Yule's RTS award-winning documentary Not Cricket—The Basil D'Oliveira Conspiracy.

Personal life[edit]

He was married to Naomi, and their son Damian D'Oliveira also played first-class cricket for Worcestershire, while his younger brother Ivan played briefly for Leicestershire.[6] His grandson Brett D'Oliveira is currently contracted with Worcestershire and made his debut for the county in 2011.

Death[edit]

D'Oliveira had Parkinson's disease in later life.[15] He died aged 80, in England, on 19 November 2011.[16][17][18]

A farewell for D'Oliveira was written on the last 2011 issue of Time magazine by Trevor Manuel, South Africa's minister in the Presidency for national planning. It highlights the personal successes of the cricket player together with the impact he had on South African sport and society.[19]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Bateman, Colin (1993). If The Cap Fits. Tony Williams Publications. p. 52. ISBN 1-869833-21-X. 
  2. ^ Basil D'Oliveira dies aged 80
  3. ^ "Basil D'Oliveira". The Daily Telegraph (London). 19 November 2011. 
  4. ^ Obituary, New York times, 27 November 2011
  5. ^ a b c "D'Oliveira was a hero - Murphy". BBC News. 19 November 2011. 
  6. ^ a b Thicknesse, John. "Player Profile: Basil D'Oliveira". CricInfo. ESPN. Retrieved 2009-06-11. 
  7. ^ http://www.hinduonnet.com/thehindu/thscrip/print.pl?file=20050625006302200.htm&date=tss2826/&prd=tss&
  8. ^ http://www.safrica.info/about/sport/greats/doliveira.htm
  9. ^ http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/story/154547.html
  10. ^ Snow, John (1976). Cricket Rebel. Hamlyn. p. 95. 
  11. ^ Jon Gemmell (2004). The Politics of South African Cricket. Routledge (UK). ISBN 0-7146-5346-2. 
  12. ^ Gough, Martin (29 November 2004). "D'Oliveira exposed apartheid disgrace". BBC News Online (BBC). Retrieved 2009-06-11. 
  13. ^ "D'Oliveira 'proud' to get honour". BBC News Online (BBC). 10 June 2005. Retrieved 2009-06-11. 
  14. ^ Staff writer (29 November 2004). "Book on D'Oliveira wins award". BBC News. Retrieved 26 November 2012. 
  15. ^ "Naomi’s Story". Retrieved 4 November 2011. 
  16. ^ "England news: Basil D'Oliveira dies aged 80 | England Cricket News". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 2011-11-19. 
  17. ^ "Basil d'Oliveira dies: Sport: Cricket". Sport24.co.za. Retrieved 2011-11-19. 
  18. ^ "England legend D'Oliveira dies". news.bbc.co.uk. 19 November 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-19. 
  19. ^ "Person Of The Year 2011". Time. 14 December 2011. 

External links[edit]