History hails Basil D’Oliveira, the cricketer with the courage to say no

When the moment comes, we hope that we will not be found wanting. Every day, we make small and, in the broadest sense, insignificant choices that define who we are; but very few of us are faced with a decision that we know might play out more widely. We hope that if such circumstances ever arose we would act with moral courage, but the nagging doubts remain.

Basil D’Oliveira, the former England cricketer who died at the weekend, faced his moment in the late summer of 1968 when he received a phone call from a businessman called Tienie Oosthuizen, a senior executive of a South African tobacco conglomerate. Three days later, face to face, Oosthuizen made D’Oliveira what could only be described as a stunningly generous offer to go and coach during the winters in South Africa. There was one condition: D’Oliveira had to make himself unavailable for the England’s forthcoming tour to that country………

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