D'Oliveira case

Article

May 23, 2022

The D'Oliveira case was a protracted political and sporting controversy related to the scheduled tour in the 1968–69 season of the England cricket team—officially representing Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC)—[note 1] South Africa. The point of contention was whether or not the England managers would include Basil D'Oliveira, a mixed-race South African player who had moved to England, and who had represented that country in test cricket since 1966.[2] With South Africa under him apartheid, England's possible inclusion of a non-white South African on their tour became a political issue.[3] D'Oliveira, a mixed-race Cape of Indian and Portuguese descent,[4] left South Africa because his projections as a player were restricted on racial grounds due to apartheid legislation at the time, which even excluded him from the national team, made up of white players.[2][5] In 1964 he joined Worcestershire County Cricket Club through his residence, and two years later he was part of the English team for the first time.[2] The consequences of the possible inclusion of D'Oliveira on the 1968–69 MCC tour of South Africa were discussed by English and South African cricketing bodies as early as 1966,[6] but maneuvering by political and cricketing figures in both countries did little to conclude adequately. the situation.[7] The MCC's priority was to maintain traditional ties with South Africa and for the series to continue without incident.[8] South African Prime Minister B. J. Vorster tried to appease international opinion by stating in publicly that D'Oliveira's inclusion would be acceptable, but he secretly did his best to prevent it.[3] D'Oliveira was excluded from the English team for part of 1968 amid a drop in his batting performance,[9] but marked his return in late August with a score of 158 runs in England's last competitive match of the year. , against Australia at The Oval.[10] Days later, the MCC selectors omitted D'Oliveira from the team that was going to tour South Africa and insisted that it was a sporting decision,[8][11 ] but many in the UK expressed misgivings about the issue and there were several protests.[12] After Tom Cartwright's withdrawal due to injury on 16 September,[13] the MCC chose D'Oliveira as replacement,[14] prompting accusations from Vorster and other South African politicians that the nomination was politically motivated.[13][15] There were attempts to reach an agreement,[15] but they were unsuccessful, and the MCC announced the cancellation of the tour on September 24.[16] The sporting boycott of South Africa was already underway in 1968, but the D'Oliveira controversy was the first to have serious consequences for South African cricket. The South African Cricket Board of Control announced its intention to remove racial barriers in the sport in the country in 1969, and officially removed them in 1976.[17] Meanwhile, the boycott escalated dramatically, leading to to the almost complete isolation of South Africa from international cricket from 1971, although it continued to play rugby until the 1980s, twice allowing the racially diverse New Zealand team into the country during the 1970s.[18] D'Oliveira played for England until 1972 and for Worcestershire until 1979.[2] South Africa returned to international cricket in 1991, shortly after the end of apartheid began.[19]

Background

South Africa

From the time European settlers first arrived in South Africa in 1652, the country was divided along racial lines, and, unlike other European colonies, racial distinction and segre