South Africa news July 23, 2011

Former Transvaal opener Ahmed Gabru dies

ESPNcricinfo staff

Former Transvaal opening batsman Ahmed Gabru has died in Johannesburg. Gabru played 19 first-class matches under the old South African Cricket Board (SACB), where players of colour were allowed to play, in the 1970s.

The highlight of his career was a record second-wicket of stand of 273 that he shared with Ismail "Morris" Garda for Transvaal against Natal in the 1971-72 season. Gabru scored his only century (127) in that match.

Gabru moved to Botswana in 1976, after the failed attempt to unite sport in South Africa, and with his friend and team-mate Ebrahim "Chicken" Bhamjee persuaded the local authorities to build a cricket facility in the country. The ground is still in use today and Botswana have attained Affiliate member status with the ICC.

He returned to South Africa in 1996 and was recruited by Hoosain Ayob of the ICC Africa's coaching programme to help spread the game on the continent.

"We mourn the loss of one of the great legacies within Gauteng Cricket Board (GCB) and our condolences go to the family," Cassim Docrat, chief executive of the GCB, said.