Dubai: International Cricket Council (ICC) Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat on Sunday paid tribute to Basil D’Oliveira, the South African-born England international, who passed away at the age of 80 after a period of ill health.
Lorgat said that D’Oliveira, who made 44 appearances for his adopted England, was a revered personality in ‘non-white’ cricketing circles when he was growing up in South Africa.
“At the time his influence and his legacy in a divided South Africa stretched way beyond the cricket field,” Lorgat said.
He also said that D’Oliveira was a man of great humility whose dignity impressed everyone when he found himself at the centre of one of cricket’s most infamous episodes.
“His improper exclusion from the England tour of his native South Africa in 1968 was to have a profound and lasting effect on those involved in the struggle against a discriminatory regime,” he said.
“While he never regarded himself as such, he was a hero to a generation of disenfranchised South Africans,” he added.
He recalled how D’Oliveira served as a role model showing that despite the odds, underprivileged South Africans like him can rise to the top.
“On the field he had a great cricket brain and his career figures demonstrate that – even though he did not make his Test debut until he was in his mid-30s. It is fitting that his memory will live on through the Basil D’Oliveira Trophy which is played for between South Africa and England in Test series. The series next year will have even more meaning,” Lorgat said.
“I wish to extend my personal condolences and that of the ICC to the family and friends of Basil. We will all mourn his passing away,” he added.