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December 3, 2012
Fund-raising is underway for a commemorative statue of Basil D'Oliveira, the cricketer who became the focal point of anti-apartheid protests, at the entrance to Worcestershire's redeveloped New Road ground.
The Basil D'Oliveira Foundation is seeking £70,000 to commission a bronze sculpture of D'Oliveira, who was one of Worcestershire's most iconic cricketers and who died last November aged 83.
Damian, son of Basil and the academy director at New Road, said: "Our family has been a part of Worcestershire for nearly 50 years now. I come in every day and see my father's name on the stand and hopefully soon I'll be able to drive along New Road and see his face too.
"It is so many years since my father arrived here, but people have long memories and always come up to us to speak about him. We will be very honoured if the statue goes ahead."
John McKenna, the Scotland-based sculptor appointed, was born and brought up in Worcester and went to school with D'Oliveira's sons.
Any additional money would be used to set up an exchange scheme for cricketers in England and South Africa, where D'Oliveira was born. He became the symbol of opposition to South Africa's apartheid regime after he was called up for England's tour of South Africa in 1968.
South Africa cricket officials, aware that the inclusion of D'Oliveira, as a Cape Coloured, would lead to the cancellation of the tour, exerted pressure on the MCC hierarchy not to select him. MCC's acquiescence caused a media outcry in England and when D'Oliveira was subsequently chosen because of an injury to Tom Cartwright , the South Africa prime minister B. J. Vorster refused to accept his involvement and the tour was cancelled.
The D'Oliveira Affair helped to shift international opinion against South Africa's regime and caused an end to official cricketing links between England and South Africa until the mid 1990s until the collapse of the apartheid regime.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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