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article imageFormer England cricketing legend Basil D'Oliveira dies aged 80

By Kev Hedges     Nov 19, 2011 in Sports
Former England all-rounder Basil "Dolly" D'Oliveira has died. The right-handed batting legend first came to fame when he was included in the England squad to tour South Africa in 1968.
Apartheid rules at the time meant South African-born Dolly could not play. Born in Cape Town as a "Cape-coloured", he emigrated to England in 1960. He made his test debut against the West Indies in 1966. His halcyon period was the following year when he was nominated as one of the Wisden cricketers of the year.
When England selected him for the 1968 tour to South Africa, then Prime Minister B. J. Vorster had already made it clear that D'Oliveira's inclusion was not acceptable. The subsequent tour was called off and many see the cancellation as a watershed in sporting exclusion in the former apartheid state. It was in 1966 when his most memorable year in his personal life as he was awarded British citizenship.
Tributes to Dolly have been pouring in on social micro-blogging site Twitter. In the Daily Telegraph , South African cricket executive Gerald Majola said:
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. 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. Throughout this shameful period in South Africa’s sporting history, Basil displayed a human dignity that earned him worldwide respect and admiration.
According to figures in the Daily Mail, 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. Those statistics were enough to include Dolly in the 1968 South Africa tour that never was.
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