Basil Lewis D'Oliveira
October 04, 1931, Signal Hill, Cape Town, Cape Province, South Africa
November 19, 2011, England, (aged 80y 46d)
Right hand Bat
Right arm Medium
One of broadcaster-writer John Arlott's most worthy deeds was saving Basil D'Oliveira from half-life as a Cape Colored in South Africa by persuading Middleton, the Central Lancashire League club, to take him on as their professional in 1960. This led to Worcestershire (in 1964) and England (in 1966) acquiring a readymade allrounder of formidable physical and mental strength, which was never better illustrated than when England were in trouble. Arlott's initiative was the making of D'Oliveira, and a source of joy to all who loathed apartheid. When you watched "Dolly" flaying the opposition's bowlers with meaty back-foot clumps, or frustrating their batsmen with outward-drifting medium-pace of cloying accuracy (his economy rate in Tests was 1.95 runs per over) there was one sharp regret ... if only he'd been spotted at 19 rather than 29. Then D'Oliveira would have put the runs and wickets in the book that would have shown future generations what he unmistakably was - one of cricket's greats.
Batting & Fielding