Basil D'oliveira: Cricket and Controversy
There have been innumerable biographies of cricketers. Peter Oborne's outstanding biography of Basil D'Oliveira is something else. It brings together sport, politics and race. It is the story of how a black South African defied incredible odds and came to play cricket for England, of how a single man escaped from apartheid and came to fulfil his prodigious sporting potential. It is a story of the conquest of racial prejudice, both in South Africa and in the heart of the English sporting establishment.
The story comes to its climax in the so-called D'Oliveira Affair of 1968, when John Vorster, the South African Prime Minister, banned the touring MCC side because of the inclusion of a black man. This episode marked the start of the twenty-year sporting isolation of South Africa that ended only with the collapse of apartheid itself.
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