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D'Oliveira Dies Aged 80

Source: thewillnigeria.com
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**Former England all-rounder confirmed dead

South Africa-born former England all-rounder Basil d'Oliveira has died at the age of 80, Cricket South Africa have confirmed.

CSA chief executive Gerald Majola led the tributes to D'Oliveira, whose health had been deteriorating for some time leading up to his death in England.

"'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," 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."

D'Oliveira made headlines in 1968 when he was included in the England squad for the tour of South Africa which had to be called off as the South African government refused to accept his presence.

The incident marked the start of South Africa's cricketing isolation.

D'Oliveira had moved to England at the urging of cricket commentator John Arlott due to the lack of opportunities for him in his homeland.

Dream
Majola continued: "The fact that he could have a Test career batting average of 40 in 44 Tests and an economy rate of less than two with the ball on his way to 47 wickets was remarkable considering he was past his prime when he made his debut for England in his mid-30s.

"One can only imagine what he might have achieved had he made his debut as he should have done at the age of 20 on South Africa's tour of England in 1951.

"I would like to pay tribute also to all those people in England, notably John Arlott, one of the greatest cricket radio commentators of all time, for the roles they played in making it possible for Basil to achieve his dream of playing international cricket for his adopted country.

"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.

"His memory and inspiration will live on among all of us.

"On a personal note I would like to thank him for the contribution he made to my own career at the Coca-Cola coaching clinics.

"On behalf of the CSA family I would like to convey our sympathies to his family and salute them on a life well lived."

SKY SPORTS