Basil D’Olivera died.
It wasn’t sordid, there was no sexiness, he was just an old dude who was once important to a few people, who is now no longer with us.
I’m not going to talk about how great Basil was, because I don’t know. Like what happened with Roebuck, those who do know will line up to tell us because other than boxing no other sport has the writers and love of nostalgia to properly handle an obituary.
Basil seemed pretty good, and an average of 40 with bat and ball at Test level is pretty handy when you consider he might have been 43 when he played.
In fact, it’s the whole bullshitting about his age to beat the system that I love the best about him. Like Satchel Paige before him and 2 out of 3 Pakistanis after him, he used his age to fuck with people.
Basil played in that golden cricket time, when cricket was cricket. Players walked, had beers with each other, were amateur, sledging was barely heard of and the gentleman that played the game loved a touch of racism in cricket.
It was Basil’s career that showed the hypocrisy from both sides. And he did all while being a top player regardless of his age.
When people talk about the glory days of cricket, that pure beautiful time, Basil pops into my head, a man who was born to play Test Cricket, yet who at one time or another was not allowed to play in two different countries.
Cricket has always been just a little bit fucked up, which is part of its charm.
But it also helps to have men like Basil who will do whatever they have to do to play cricket at the top level.
Cricket is better just because Mr D’Oliveira played it.