MCC, English Complicity and The D'Oliveira Affair

Robert Steen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNConference contribution with ISSN or ISBNpeer-review


While there may be some who dispute the impact of the sports boycott on the ending of Apartheid, no such doubt lingers about the event, or the man, that underpinned it. Yet even now, 40 years on, much about the so-called “D’Oliveira Affair” remains wreathed in mystery. In August 1968, when they sat down to pick the party to tour South Africa that winter, was the MCC selectors’ eventual decision to omit Basil D’Oliveira, the Cape Coloured who had sought and made his fortune in England, swayed by politics or, as they have persistently claimed, simply by playing ability? Was D’Oliveira’s dropping from the Test team to play Australia at Lord’s earlier in the summer a sop to the South African dignitaries due in town, a sign that nothing would interfere with the planned tour, one that Prime Minister Vorster had made clear could not proceed were he chosen? Was Tom Cartwright’s late withdrawal, which led to D’Oliveira’s call-up and the abandonment of the tour, caused by injury or political conscience? Drawing on fresh interviews with several key figures, including Cartwright, Donald Carr, Peter Hain, Doug Insole and Barry Knight, this paper tackles those questions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBritish Society of Sports History Annual Conference
Place of PublicationUniversity of Brighton
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 6 Sept 2008
EventBritish Society of Sports History Annual Conference - University of Brighton, 2008
Duration: 6 Sept 2008 → …


ConferenceBritish Society of Sports History Annual Conference
Period6/09/08 → …


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