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GOODBYE, DOLLY! WITH CRICKET: A TRIBUTE.

Byline: RICHARD GIBSON

CRICKET is mourning the loss of one of sport's pioneers against racism after the death of Basil D'Oliveira.

South African-born D'Oliveira, who has died aged 80 after battling Parkinson's disease for many years, was revered for his abilities on the pitch.

But it is for off-field events that Dolly, as he was known, will be best remembered.

His inclusion in England's squad to tour his homeland in 1968 triggered the tour's cancellation after South Africa's apartheid government refused to accept his presence.

It was a decision that led to a two-decade long sporting boycott of South Africa. D'Oliveira, dubbed a Cape Coloured, built his career in England, firstly in league cricket and then at county and international level.

He was initially overlooked for the 1968 tour as Tom Cartwright won selection - but was called-up when the latter was injured.

Dolly's team-mate Tom Graveney recalled him breaking down in tears after his omission.

He added: "I can remember saying 'If he doesn't go, I'm not going,' because we were such great friends and he'd done everything to go and get into the team. It was all about politics and very sad."

D'Oliveira averaged 40 with the bat in his 44 Tests, and his incredibly accurate medium-pace swing bowling prised out 47 victims.

England and Wales Cricket Board chairman Giles Clarke said: "Basil D'Oliveira was more than just a cricketer. He personified the bravery and determination of the South African people's struggle against apartheid, and his own remarkable achievement, starting a Test career at 34, an age when most players are considering retirement, showed the world just what he and his people could accomplish."

Cricket South Africa chief executive Gerald Majola added: "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.

"He was a man of dignity and a wonderful role model as somebody who overcame the most extreme prejudices to take his rightful place on the world stage."

D'Oliveira's son Damian also played for Worcestershire and his grandson Brett joined the Midlands club in August. A stand at their New Road ground was named after D'Oliveira senior in 2003. Worcestershire captain Daryl Mitchell said: "He wasn't just a cricketer.

"With the apartheid battle, he had a huge impact on thousands of people.

"I have watched films and read what he had to go through, and it brought tears to my eyes."

BASIL D'OLIVEIRA

THE PASSING OF A REAL GENTLEMAN

1931: Born on October 4, in Cape Town, South Africa.

1960: Signs as overseas pro with Central Lancashire League club Middleton.

1964: Becomes a British citizen and debuts for Worcestershire

1966: Picked for England against West Indies at age of 34 years, seven months.

1967: Named as one of Wisden's Cricketers of the Year.

1968: His inclusion on England's tour to South Africa is met with outrage by the country's apartheid regime. Trip scrapped.

1969: Awarded OBE.

1972: England retain the Ashes in his final series as an international. 2004: Announced that England and South Africa will play for the Basil D'Oliveira Trophy.

2005: Awarded CBE.

Basil Lewis D'Oliveira CBE 1931-2011

CAPTION(S):

AT THE PALACE: D'Oliveira and his family after collecting his OBE from The Queen in 1969 WORLD STAR: D'Oliveira with Fred Trueman and Gary Sobers CLASS ACT: D'Oliveira hit five centuries in his 44 Tests and scored 2484 runs in his England career
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUE
Date:Nov 20, 2011
Words:583
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