Tributes continue to pour in for Worcestershire and England cricket legend Basil D’Oliveira who died at the weekend aged 80 following a long battle with Parkinson’s disease.
D’Oliveira was born in South Africa, but moved to England in 1960 because of the lack of opportunities for non-white players.
He played county cricket for Worcestershire between 1964-80 and represented England in 44 Tests, scoring 2,484 runs at an average of 40.
Club chief executive and former player David Leatherdale said: “When you talk about cricketers and people in general, you use the term legend very sparingly, but there’s no doubt that Basil was a legend. He had an effect through more than just the cricket pitch.”
In November 2003, Worcestershire announced that they were honouring D’Oliveira by naming a new stand after him at their New Road ground. In August his grandson Brett, a leg-spinner, also signed for Worcestershire on a one-year contract.
In 278 first class appearances D’Oliveira averaged 38.16 and during a particularly successful 1967 season he was awarded both the Walter Lawrence Trophy and Wisden Cricketer of the Year. After retiring from the field in 1980, D’Oliveira went on to lead Worcestershire CCC through another victorious period of its history, culminating in County Championship glory in 1988 and 1989. As club coach, D’Oliveira oversaw the likes of Ian Botham, Graham Dilley and a young Graeme Hick to domestic success.
However, his name will be forever linked with the apartheid issue which resulted in South Africa being exiled from international cricket for more than 20 years. He was included in the England tour party for the 1968-69 tour, but it was cancelled after the South African government said that a “Cape coloured” was not welcome.
D’Oliveira’s son Damian, who played for the county and was on the coaching staff, 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.”