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Full name Louis George Duffus
Born May 13, 1904, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Died July 24, 1984, Johannesburg, Transvaal (aged 80 years 72 days)
Major teams Transvaal
Batting style Right-hand bat
Fielding position Wicketkeeper
ONE of South Africa's leading cricket-writers, Louis George Duffus, died on July 24, at the age of 80. Born in Melbourne on May 13, 1904, he was educated in Johannesburg, earning a Bachelor of Commerce degree and excelling as an athlete, baseballer and wicketkeeper (being coached by the Gloucestershire keeper Jack Board). Duffus kept for Transvaal in one match in 1923-24, and was recalled as an opening batsman in 1934-35, scoring 48 against OFS. Meanwhile, he had established himself as a journalist, venturing to England with the 1929 South African side and touring around in a baby Austin, supplying copy for a variety of British papers. Gradually his nom de plume of 'Vagrant' gave way to his real name. His services were sought after, and he never looked back, touring with South Africa for many years, priding himself as a stylist on no more vain grounds than that he abhorred hackneyed composition. He went unashamedly for vivid imagery. He also proved useful to the South Africans during the 1935 tour when he was asked out of the Press-box to field as substitute against Glamorgan, caught Dyson at slip, and turned the tourists towards victory in front of a huge Swansea crowd. He was proud of Wisden's couple of lines on this unusual happening. Indeed he came close enough to inclusion in the touring party, having been selected for a trial match the previous December.
A haemophilia sufferer, Louis Duffus managed to lead a life fuller than most. Sports editor of Johannesburg's Star, he wrote on many sports, and broadcast for the BBC while on tour in England. He also wrote several books, including the racy Cricketers of the Veld, Springbok Glory (on the 1955 tour of England), Champagne Cricket (the Australians' tour 1966-67), Play Abandoned (1969, an autobiography), and South African Cricket 1927-1947 (Vol. III of the series begun by M. W. Luckin). In his autobiography he was insistent that it was wrong of MCC to select Basil D'Oliveira for the 1968-69 tour, knowing that he would not be welcomed by the South African government and certain sections of the community. He.claimed that an earlier MCC committee was sufficiently alert to the situation not to have chosen Duleepsinhji. Duffus also wrote Beyond the Laager, which told of South African exploits in the Second World War.
Wisden Cricket Monthly
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