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"The anti-apartheid movement's cricket team"
January 11, 2009 2:33 PM   Subscribe

"Far more is known about...the activities of the secret service in Moscow...than what the England selectors said and did that night": Basil D'Oliveira was a Coloured South African all-round cricketer who moved to the UK to avoid the colour bar that prevented him representing South Africa; representing England with considerable credit, he created a crises for English and South African cricket, with Nazi sympathiser and South African Prime Minister Vorster ordering the British not to select him to tour South Africa.

Initially the MCC refused to select him; while they claimed this was due to a drop in form; many in the press flayed this decision, seeing it as a capitulation by the MCC, and hence the British Establishment, to South Africa's apartheid regime, in spite of the British government's official policy that South Africa must not dictate selections.

The ban on the MCC team helped to bring about the Gleneagles Agreement, isolating the sports-mad white South Africans from international sport (with a notable exception).
posted by rodgerd (8 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
IIRC S. Africa had a tiff directed at New Zealand back in the day over related issues IRT the All Blacks and their Maori players... resulting in riots in NZ when the Springboks came to play.
posted by edgeways at 2:59 PM on January 11, 2009


Excellent post, rogerd. Was dimly aware of the story but will enjoy reading about it in more depth.
posted by Abiezer at 9:24 PM on January 11, 2009


Yeah, I've no interest in cricket whatsoever, but I enjoyed reading this as well. Nice post.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:45 AM on January 12, 2009


resulting in riots in NZ when the Springboks came to play

We had 'em in Australia too. Happy days!
posted by Wolof at 1:26 AM on January 12, 2009


IIRC S. Africa had a tiff directed at New Zealand back in the day over related issues IRT the All Blacks and their Maori players... resulting in riots in NZ when the Springboks came to play.

The history there goes way back, from South Africans complaining about playing the New Zealand Maori team in the 1930s (and doubly complaining that the white New Zealanders were cheering for the Maori, rather than for South Africa!).

Then through to the 1960s the South Africans didn't want Maori players to be included in NZ teams that toured SA; resulting in 'No Maoris - No Tour' protests in NZ; leading to Maori players being declared as 'Honourary Whites' by the SA government, so they could tour (yes, really).

Then in the 1970s on there was the international boycott of SA, which NZ ignored, resulting in a large number of African nations boycotting the 1976 Olympic Games. Meanwhile there were more and more protests in NZ, culminating in the 1981 SA tour of NZ, featuring riots and police violence and protestors flour-bombing games from light aircraft, and generally splitting the country down the middle.

[at work, so sorry for the shortish answer and Wikipedia links, but they'll give you the general idea].
posted by Infinite Jest at 2:58 AM on January 12, 2009


Also, while I am at it, fuck you, South Africa, and your amazingly good cricket team! Best test series since the 2005 Ashes for mine. Astounding feats, the ante constantly upped, session by session cricket with the balance of power fluctuating wildly, yet the South Africans equal to every challenge. And the final session with Smith coming out to (attempt to) hold off the Aussie bowlers with a broken hand capped it all.

Epic theatre.
posted by Wolof at 4:49 AM on January 12, 2009


Great post—those Times excerpts from the book are riveting.

Anyone interested in the intersection of cricket and race (or just cricket, period) should read CLR James's classic memoir Beyond a Boundary.
posted by languagehat at 6:37 AM on January 12, 2009


Thanks. I don't know anything about cricket, but this was a very interesting post. I hadn't been aware that SA worked so hard to impose its racial policies on anyone else it interacted with.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:45 AM on January 12, 2009


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