October 4 down the years

The man who became a cause

The birth of Basil D'Oliveira, who sparked an international incident that resulted in the isolation of South Africa

Basil D'Oliveira played 44 Tests for England © PA Photos

Despite his dazzling talent, Basil D'Oliveira, who was born today, will always be remembered for the wrong reasons. "Dolly" was excluded from playing top-class cricket in South Africa because he was a Cape Colored. He came to play league cricket in England, was snapped up by Worcestershire, and within a couple of years was making his Test debut for England at 34 against West Indies at Lord's. Despite all-round success, he was controversially omitted from the team to tour South Africa in 1968-69, only to be called up as a replacement for the injured Tom Cartwight. But the South African government made it known that D'Oliveira was not welcome, forcing the tour to be cancelled and sparking an international incident that was not resolved for 25 years. Throughout the fracas D'Oliveira exuded decency and dignity.

The day Shahid Afridi broke the record for the fastest hundred in one-day history. Promoted to pinch-hit at No. 3 in his first ODI innings, Afridi savaged Sri Lanka in the KCA Centenary Tournament match in Nairobi. He took only 37 balls to reach three figures, comfortably beating Sanath Jayasuriya's existing record of 48. And that wasn't the only record to go: Afridi hit 11 sixes (equalling Jayasuriya's ODI record); the 28 runs he took off one over from Jayasuriya was then a record for batters not called Jayasuriya. Afridi held the century record for 17 years till it was overtaken by Corey Anderson (36 balls). A year later, Anderson's mark was surpassed by AB de Villiers, who got there in 31.

A big day for Ian Healy. In the first Test in Rawalpindi, he caught Wasim Akram off the bowling of Colin Miller to overtake Rod Marsh's world record of 355 Test dismissals. In all, Healy took 366 catches and 29 stumpings in his 119 Tests. His record stood for exactly nine years before Mark Boucher overtook his mark in the Karachi Test in 2007.

Born this day, Adam Voges of Australia became the oldest man to score a century on Test debut - an unbeaten 130 against West Indies at the ripe old age of 35. He failed to produce much of note in the Ashes series that followed, but went big against West Indies again in the home series of 2015-16, with an unbeaten double and a hundred, which he followed up with 239 against New Zealand in Wellington early in 2016, to average 162 over eight Tests in a six-month period starting August 2015.

Only three Tests for Australian George Tribe, who was born today, but he was a distinguished performer for Northants throughout the 1950s. Tribe had the ability to mix up chinamen with orthodox left-arm spinners, and with his disciplined batting and brilliant fielding at short leg he was a true allrounder. He did the double of 1000 runs and 100 wickets on seven occasions, including six in a row between 1952 and 1957, and was a Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1955.

Birth of Pakistan legspinning allrounder Shadab Khan, whose masterful displays in the PSL earned him a call-up to the national side for T20Is against West Indies in March 2017. He took seven wickets for only 21 runs in the first two matches and ended the series as the most economical bowler on debut in a T20I, with 4.73 runs an over. He was handed his ODI cap soon after, and was part of the Pakistan squad that won the Champions Trophy in 2017. He was named in the 2019 World Cup team as well, a chance he almost missed out on after a virus put him out of commission for weeks.

Birth of Rishabh Pant, the ever-smiling, ever-attacking wicketkeeper-batter who might be best remembered for his role in India's famous Test and series win in Brisbane in 2021, when he made an unbeaten 89 in a second-string India side's successful chase of 328. Earlier that series he made 97 in Sydney to help India wrest a draw. Pant's explosive batting style got him picked by Delhi Daredevils in the 2016 IPL auction, for whom he scored close to 3000 runs at a strike rate just south of 150 over the next seven seasons. In Test cricket, Pant seems to do best against England, against whom three of his first five hundreds came, most of them at breakneck speed. Pant played the 2019 World Cup but it is mostly in Tests and T20s that he has been a thrilling presence.

With his textbook action Reg Perks, who was born today, took over 2000 first-class wickets for Worcestershire, and managed 100 wickets in a season on 16 occasions. But he played only two Tests, a selectorial oversight that seems harsh in view of the fact that he managed a five-for in both of those games. On debut he took 5 for 100 in the timeless Test of 1938-39, when England closed a ten-day Test on 654 for 5 (chasing 696 to beat South Africa) in Durban because they had to begin the rail journey back to their ship in Cape Town. And the following summer, Perks took 5 for 156 against West Indies in England's last Test before the Second World War at The Oval.

Rain in Colombo meant that no play was possible on the final day of the third Test. Good news for Sri Lanka, who clinched their first series victory over Australia; less so for Steve Waugh's men, whose subcontinental woes continued. But they didn't take defeat too badly here: they would win their next 16 Tests.

Other birthdays
1936 David Pithey (South Africa)
1964 David Brain (Zimbabwe)
1971 Aamer Hanif (Pakistan)
1993 Akila Dananjaya (Sri Lanka)