'Dolly', the all-rounder who fought prejudice with a quiet dignity, dies aged 80

 

One of English cricket's best-loved and most significant players ended his innings yesterday. Basil D'Oliveira, a cricketer who changed the course of history after becoming an unwitting symbol of the struggle against apartheid, died at his home after a long battle with Parkinson's disease. He was 80.

D'Oliveira, affectionately known as "Dolly", will forever be remembered for his role at the centre of one of the most contentious episodes in the history of cricket.

Rejected by his homeland's national team for being "coloured", the all-rounder emigrated to England in 1960 and became a Test regular, playing in more than 40 Tests. He took 47 Test wickets and scored 2,484 runs, with his 40-plus batting average helped by several Test centuries – including 158 against Australia at the Oval in the 1968 Ashes series.

It was that sort of form that caused outrage when he was initially excluded from the England team to tour South Africa in 1968. After a change of heart, his inclusion then prompted the National Party of South Africa to refuse to accept a "Cape coloured". The tour was subsequently cancelled and it was to be more than 20 years before South Africa came in from the cold, after the fall of apartheid marked by Nelson Mandela's release from prison in 1990.

Gerald Majola, chief executive of Cricket South Africa, said: "Basil displayed a human dignity that earned him worldwide respect and admiration. His memory and inspiration will live on among all of us. 'Dolly', as he was known around the world by an audience that went far beyond the game of cricket, was a true legend and a son of whom all South Africans can be extremely proud."

Michael Vaughan, a former England captain, wrote on Twitter: "RIP Basil D'Oliveira... Great man." And England and Wales Cricket Board chairman Giles Clarke paid tribute to D'Oliveira's "bravery and determination".

The veteran anti-apartheid campaigner and Labour MP Peter Hain, who writes above, described him as "a key agent in the transformation of South Africa from the evil of apartheid to today's non-racial society".

D'Oliveira never got to play for the country of his birth, and retired in 1980. He went on to coach Worcestershire County Cricket Club, mentoring future stars such as Ian Botham, Graham Dilley and Graeme Hick, and seeing Worcestershire crowned County Champions in 1988 and 1989.

His son Damian, who also played for Worcestershire and is now the county's academy director, said: "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."

News
A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Sport
Louis van Gaal watches over Nani
transfers
Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreThe Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
Sport
New Real Madrid signing James Rodríguez with club president Florentino Perez
transfersColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
Arts and Entertainment
Stir crazy: Noel Fielding in 'Luxury Comedy 2: Tales from Painted Hawaii'
comedyAs ‘Luxury Comedy’ returns, Noel Fielding on why mainstream success scares him and what the future holds for 'The Boosh'
Life and Style
Flow chart: Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types in 1900, yet scientists have still not come up with an explanation for their existence
lifeAll of us have one. Yet even now, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Arts and Entertainment
'Weird Al' Yankovic, or Alfred Matthew, at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival Screening of
musicHis latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do our experts think he’s missed out?
Travel
Hotel Tour d’Auvergne in Paris launches pay-what-you-want
travelIt seems fraught with financial risk, but the policy has its benefits
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe best children's books for this summer
Life and Style
News to me: family events were recorded in the personal columns
techFamily events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped that
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn