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Full name Armien Hendricks
Born date unknown, South Africa
Playing role Bowler
Bowling style Right-arm fast (roundarm)
Krom Hendricks is an almost unknown figure in cricket history. Born more than 140 years ago in South Africa to a Dutch father and St Helenan mother, he never played a first-class match, but in 1892 he was at the heart of a row that had long-standing ramifications which were to cast a shadow over South African cricket for almost a century.
Hendricks' nickname Krom - his real name was Armien - came from Dutch or Afrikaans for "bent" or "crooked". Almost nothing is known of his life until the time he was selected to play for a Malay XVIII against the touring MCC side led by Walter Read at Newlands on March 22 and 23. Although Read's side won comfortably, Hendricks made the headlines for some excellent fast bowling and finished with figures of 4 for 50. Read told the local administrators: "If you send a team [to England], send Hendricks; he will be a drawcard and is to my mind the Spofforth of South Africa."
George Hearne, who also played in the game, later wrote: "[He] was very fast indeed. The wicket was very bad and we didn't like facing the man at all. I was captain during the match and everyone began to ask me to let somebody else go in his place … the balls flew over our heads in all directions."
Even on his debut, however, Hendricks was embroiled in controversy. The Malay side was made up of Muslims from Cape Town but Hendricks was at pains to point out he was a Christian. Two years later, South Africa's provinces were asked to send nominations for the 1894 tour of England, and Hendricks was included in the Transvaal and Western Province selections. However, Hendricks' cricketing claims were ignored, and he was rejected on the grounds of his colour.
Thereafter the barriers to Hendricks continued although still played, with success, in Cape Town, and later in 1894 it was reported he would be included in the Colonial Born side to play its annual match against Mother Country. Again administrators intervened to scupper the plan
In March 1896, Hendricks was named by Transvaal for inclusion in the side for the second Test against Lord Hawke's XI in Johannesburg. Even though South Africa's captain, Ernest Halliwell, there was once more enough opposition to ensure Hendricks did not play.
In 1897, Hendricks was barred from playing for Woodstock in the local league on the grounds he was a professional coach. His club, probably rightly, argued in vain the real reason was because Hendricks was both good and not white. Thereafter Hendricks disappeared and no more is known about him.
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