Caught Behind

Race and Politics in Springbok Cricket
  • Publication Date: 2004
  • Dimensions and Pages: 245 x 170mm, 266pp
  • EAN: 9781869140595
  • Recommended Price (ZAR): 

South Africa’s participation in international cricket has been bedevilled by racism and the political intervention of governments virtually from the beginning. In 1894 the formidable coloured fast bowler, H. ‘Krom’ Hendricks, was nominated for the first South African team to tour England but was finally omitted, at the behest of Cecil Rhodes, the Cape Prime Minister, on grounds of race. In 1968 B.J. Vorster, the South African Prime Minister, refused to allow Basil D’Oliveira, the South African-born coloured cricketer who played for England, to tour South Africa with the English or MCC team. This not only resulted in the cancellation of the MCC tour but led directly to the cancellation of the South African tours of England and Australia, and the beginning of South Africa’s exclusion from Test match cricket.

Caught Behind: Race and Politics in Springbok Cricket is a compulsively readable account of the events and political machinations that led to South Africa’s cricket isolation in the apartheid era, and its ultimate readmission. Bruce Murray and Christopher Merrett also throw new  light on the role of black cricket and black cricketers in South Africa, until recently airbrushed out of the country’s sporting history, and provide the social, historical and political context of the racially exclusive teams – the Springboks – that represented South Africa in international Test match cricket between 1888 and 1970.

Meticulously researched, the book is a must-read for anybody interested in the game of cricket.

Bill Murray is Emeritus Professor of History at the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, and president of the Croxley Wits Cricket Club.

Christopher Merret is Director of Administration at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal, Pietermaritzburg. He has written extensively on the theme of race, politics and sport in South Africa.

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