Basil D'Oliveira, the South Africa-born former England all-rounder who was at the centre of a controversy that marked the beginning of his native country's 23-year cricketing isolation, has died after a long illness. He was 80.
Gerald Majola, the chief executive of Cricket South Africa, led the tributes, saying that D'Oliveira, who played 44 Tests for England after emigrating there because of a lack of opportunities for non-white players in South Africa, transcended the game.
He said that "Dolly", as D'Oliveira was known, "was a true legend and a son of whom all South Africans can be extremely proud".
D'Oliveira was a member of the England squad whose tour of South Africa in 1968 was cancelled as the apartheid-era government there refused to accept his selection in the visiting party. The incident marked the beginning of South Africa's isolation in the sport that would last until 1991.
"Throughout this shameful period in South Africa's sporting history, Basil displayed a human dignity that earned him worldwide respect and admiration," Majola said.
D'Oliveira was persuaded by the English broadcaster and writer John Arlott to move to England in 1960, where he initially played in the minor leagues in Lancashire.
D'Oliveira made his debut for England in 1966, at age 35, and in his 44 Test matches for England he scored 2,484 runs at an average of 40 and taking 47 wickets. He also played four one-day internationals for his adopted country.